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"The Only Time Success Comes Before Work Is In The Dictionary" --Vidal Sasoon
By Catherine DeVrye   Printer Friendly Version

"What are the secrets of success?"

This was the question posed by a journalist immediately after I won the 1993 Australian Executive Woman of the Year Award. In the unexpected excitement of the moment, I found myself resorting to Vidal Sasoon's quote and wishing that I had used the opportunity to say something original and clever.

However, in hindsight, it probably wasn't such a bad reply. After all, success is something that we all strive for in both our business and personal lives but seldom take the time to evaluate what it really means.

Countless books have been written on various ways to succeed, each offering some secret formula or magic recipe for success. Yet, the truth is that there are no instant "secrets" to success. Certainly, actions such as goal setting, time management, communication, planning and skillful execution are necessary for each of us to chart our own paths for success. But, the overriding factor to achieve that success is to put in the necessary hours and work. Lots of people have great ideas but never follow through. As Gary Player once said:

"The harder I practice, the luckier I get."

Although wealth may be inherited, individual success can not be. It is neither genetic or
environmental. Why is it that when two identical twins are raised in the same environment, one can grow to be a successful businessman and the other become a derelict? The answer lies in the choices each of those individuals made at various stages throughout their lives, even though life offered them exactly the same choices.

Success is not something which, once you achieve it, is guaranteed forever. It is something which needs to be constantly worked at; but not "worked at" to the extent of never being able to enjoy the fruits which come with that success.

Success is measured differently by different individuals but should never be measured purely in a materialistic sense and truly successful individuals are those who have managed to balance their material well being with successful relationships with families, friends and colleagues. They look after their physical and spiritual beings. That's not to say that there aren't times when one must work late and miss a gym work out, rather than miss an important deadline. But, it's virtually impossible to be successful in a career today by rigidly working 9-5 and refusing to go the extra distance when required.

And, success is not just about having things. It's about doing things; experiencing different joys yourself; and experiencing the joy of doing things for others.

Do you ever notice that successful people in business are also the ones contributing to community activities and seem to fit more into their day through careful planning of time. Sure, they're busy and like everyone else, never seem to have enough hours in the day, but the old maxim is true that if you want a job done, give it to a busy person. That could also be said of a successful person, whereas those less successful are too "busy" at the pub, the water cooler, in front of the TV, playing computer games or chatting with friends on company time.

They might be commenting on someone's success by saying "Wasn't he lucky" or "Didn't she get all the breaks."

They've never known, or have long since forgotten, that:

"The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary."

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