Is the end more important than the means in any business endeavour? Does the ultimate outcome quantify success more than whether you have enjoyed the journey? It is an interesting question to ponder and one that has got me thinking quite a deal recently.
You turn around a business and make lots of money but did not do it the way you know is right. You secure a great role but have not done the hard work to ensure you can give it your best. You land a fantastic project through a boys club contact or network rather than legitimately being the best service provider. All examples where the question pondered is whether we did the hard yards, the positive habits or the necessary rituals to deserve the success that results.
I suspect that this is a question that successful people reflect on often. They achieve success and often wonder whether they are deserving of it. It is perhaps driven by external validation but also the constant need to prove to themselves and others that they are worthy of the recognition around the achievements that others perhaps build up more than they do.
I am not saying anything is wrong with success that comes early or through luck. I think there is a lot of merit in the adage that you often get opportunities before you are ready. However, what is interesting for me is when I analyse what drives satisfaction for me now as I approach 40, it is not the achievements any more. It is undertaking the process, habits and rituals I have put in place that lead to an outcome I am proud of because of the preparation and hard work.
I am guessing it is very similar to perhaps how an athlete feels when putting in the hard work, discipline, habits and commitment before a major event. They actually enjoy this process, thrive in learning, improving and driving towards an outcome. This preparation is critical to being in the right mindset of achieving success. Without it, they don’t have the confidence to think they can do it. When the success then comes, it is more relief than joy as it really is an affirmation that the work has paid off rather than feeling like the measure of success is the win.
For me, the end in business is a bit like that. Perhaps we focus too heavily on results rather than really focusing on the means and ensuring we really enjoy it. To make a shift from success to significance, this is the mindset that I believe is the cornerstone to achieving this.
Let the end or outcome look after itself. Don’t cut corners because it may be easy but it will rob you of the satisfaction that you gain out all your effort and endeavour in to pursuing an outstanding outcome. Realising your potential, having an improvement and growth mindset and giving it 100 per cent are far more worthy ideals than the trophies or successes mounted for others to applaud.