Thursday, March 5, 2015

Defining Success

A recent post by John Q. Public asked the question, 'To Be or To Do?" The post talks about a professional development briefing given by an AF leader that spoke to the "dark side" of career progression, what I would call "looking good" instead of "doing good."  To quote one of the slides,

"Career progression depends on performance, image and exposure."  

UGH.  And unfortunately, this is not an AF, or DoD, or even federally unique issue.  Think about your average famous reality star (I'm looking at you K Family) who scores zero on the first requirement, and 1000% on the second two, and just inked a zillion dollar deal.  Double UGH.

Advice like this I think is even harder for females in the military.  How do we make ourselves into the image of our leadership when so many of our leaders are male? For those of us with spouses and kids, how do we fight for exposure while also trying to maintain any kind of family life? It's not impossible, just, UGH.

While I believe with all my heart that hard work pays off and that doing good will win the day, I am realistic enough to know that the real answer is somewhere in the middle.  My mantra?

Success is 80% hard work and 20% luck and timing.

Sometimes you can influence that 20%, sometimes you can't, but you have complete control over the first 80%.

For a take on success that doesn't depend on image and exposure, check out this week's TED Radio Hour podcast on success.  It includes talks by Tony Robbins and Mike Rowe (the Dirty Jobs guy).  The piece by Angela Duckworth on the power of "grit" is really great too!

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