About the Shamrock
One of the oldest Celtic symbols, this three-leafed gem was revered in Victorian times for its medicinal qualities. To many throughout the ages, it has represented past, present and future. Today, we prize the shamrock’s quintessential good luck meaning. Just listen to Irish blessings oft- repeated: “May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun warm upon your face.”
Is It Luck or Success?
Well-intended as they may be, these sayings subtly suggest our fate resides in the hands of outside forces that either decide to rain or smile upon us. So, why not just surrender the power to direct our lives?
On the other side of the fence, reside opposing believers like Einstein, who is famously known for asserting: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” According to Albert, we must seize the reins of control and make our own “luck” happen through the application of our skills and talent.
To compound matters, when we turn to current thought leaders, we learn from Malcolm Gladwell in his 2008 best-seller The Outliers a fascinating blueprint for making the most of human potential. For instance, one of his more provocative theses is the requirement for 10,000 hours of practice (roughly ten years) to attain the “magic number of greatness” in any profession. It seems it takes the brain this long to assimilate all it needs to achieve true mastery.
Then, there are Cherie Carter-Scott’s “rules” in If Success Is a Game, These Are the Rules. In her 2000 volume, she reveals each person has their own definition of success – an individualized version of what it means to be fulfilled. There is no universal description. No wonder things get complicated!
What Is Stopping You?
Carter-Scott goes on to state that wanting success and self-trust are key ingredients to attaining it. However, if it were as simple as that, we’d all presumably be “successful” by our own standards.
Here’s where we start to butt up against all manner of blocks. Blocks can include negative self-talk, limiting beliefs and fears of risk-taking. Ironically, the number one reason success becomes derailed is self-sabotage. Had you ever considered that if you’ve been thinking of yourself as a “failure” and you now become successful, you’ll need to change your identity? True. This point is not as obvious as it first appears.
Yes, all setbacks provide valuable lessons. There will be inevitable disappointments and perceived failures along the way. Learning from these experiences offers precious insights that lead to future milestones.
And, even if you reach success (on your terms) every new level brings unexpected challenges. Each accomplishment alters your reality, either slightly or dramatically. As such, success is a process that never ends. Once you’ve reach the so-called top, there’s a new peak to embrace.
The Top Ten List
To change up things a little, I entice you to respond to this list of 10 fill-in-the-blanks. Don’t over-think your answers. Complete the statements with your first response:
1) For me, success means ____________________________________________.
2) The people I view as successful are __________________________________.
3) I feel successful when I ____________________________________________.
4) I will feel like a success when I ______________________________________. (different from #3)
5) My symbols of success are __________________________________________.
6) The barriers I need to overcome are ___________________________________.
7) The actions I’m called to take include __________________________________.
8) The people who will be happy over my success are _______________________.
9) The people who will not be pleased over my success are ___________________.
10) I defined myself in the past as _______________________. I define myself in the present as _______________________________. I want to define myself in the future as ____________________________________________________.
To borrow from Cherie Carter-Scott a last time, the process of moving to “I have everything I dreamed of” has five distinct steps:
Step One: “I don’t know what I want and I can’t be it, do it, or have it.”
Step Two: “I know what I want, but I can’t have it.”
Step Three: “I know what I want and I can have some of it.”
Step Four: “I know what I want and I can have it all.”
Step Five: “I have what I want.”
As your unofficial coach, this information leads to these follow-up questions:
- Where do you place yourself on this spectrum of steps right now?
- Where do you want to be?
- What’s it going to take to get you there?
Finally, you get to decide for yourself whether my parting wish is a mark of success or luck: “May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.”