HomeSmall Business (SMEs)Success Is Not A Dirty Word By Angela Vithoulkas

    Success Is Not A Dirty Word By Angela Vithoulkas

    Ahh, the sweet smell and taste of success. Potent, addictive and life defining. It’s when effort, patience, focus and a special breed of determination all come together in a perfect storm.

    Here’s a few acceptable measurements; Money, Power, Status.

    These may or may not resonate with any of you and some may even be offended in today’s PC environment. Relax. I didn’t say they were mine, did I? They once were though…

    I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have driven the journey of me and success under my own steam. I did not win (Lotto) it or stumble across it, it wasn’t a series of accidents or helping hands and doors being opened for me. And it has changed me. It changed me because it took the unsuccessful moments of my life to show me exactly what success meant to me and how I defined IT, not IT me.

    I’m what others call a successful entrepreneur. That’s a label, it’s not who I am or what I do. No way is it as easy as that. I never really liked this label- or any other one people stuck on me. It took me ages to pronounce it properly (lol) and a wee bit longer to spell it. True story. And it always felt wrong. NO. I am not talking about the imposter syndrome, more like Goldilocks and her self-awareness of what didn’t feel right. I’ve just always known if my porridge was too hot or too cold and I really know a bad bed when I lie in it, I mean who doesn’t..? Those traditional labels are scoreboards, if you have more hits than misses then you’re a winner therefore successful.

    I don’t agree. Naturally. It’s an Angela thing. It’s just how I see me and what I expect from me. Hits and misses aren’t my definitions of success. Winning awards have been blessings and profoundly proud moments, but not how I defined success, that’s how others saw me and my journey. Setting business records in sales is also just a dot in the line, its what it took to get there that mattered in terms of achievement to me. Overcoming, pushing through and fighting hard, and yes, the financial rewards. The sustainable evidenced-based financial rewards, not the look good on paper ones that oddly resemble vanity metrics… Spoiler alert: you can’t bank vanity metrics.

    I never ever felt the need to define success for anyone nor for myself, but I acknowledge that there can be a comfort in bits fitting nicely into preconceived holes. If you can label it and name it then you know where it belongs. Sure, if you’re a book in the library, not so much if your human though. Every time I achieved a milestone in the socially acceptable success measurement book, I steadily shrugged it off, ready to move on and annoyed that the achievement itself got in the way. Why? Well, it’s because of what success actually means to me.

    I crave success. I want it. I’m good at it. I make it. I have been consistent in my approach to it– one path, one road and only one level of single- minded determination. I will own up proudly to being driven. Totally, unapologetically drive other people crazy driven.

    Its all about the finish line for me. Getting it done, making it happen, turning a dream or a thought (sometimes it was just one thought) into my reality. I don’t deny that the finish line can move, but at the time it was exactly where it needed to be. Just like when I caught my first shoplifter/s at age 3 – coincidentally 3 boys, they were stealing lollies from my mother’s shop. I cornered them with a broom. 3-year-old Angela formally dressed with her hair done plus one big broom. They were outnumbered. Never stood a chance. Mum came out from the back room, assessed the situation and calmly stated that I had “potential”. No big song and dance, just a simple case of success.

    Not much has changed really, except Ive ditched the broom.

    As you get older and hopefully wiser, reflection comes naturally. Its important to be proud of yourself, to value what you do and be comfortable in your own skin. Its vital that you identify your benchmarks and strive for those. If they happen to be obvious, so be it. If they aren’t, don’t worry they will show themselves, but keep your eyes and heart open.

    Success and becoming successful are not dirty words. Neither is ambition, that’s the method of transportation that you hitch a ride on. Think of it as your GPS – it will tell you when you’ve arrived at your destination. You also need to nurture it otherwise it won’t keep up with you. Its your race and you get to set the speed, but remember it takes coordination and you must be 100% committed to the result that you want.

    Your results = your success.

    While nobody bats a perfect score all the time, just like some hair days are better than others, success does give you a pay it forward advantage. Big wins don’t happen in isolation, they are just lots of little incremental wins that add up, so go add. Up.

    Angela Vithoulkas
    Angela Vithoulkas
    Angela Vithoulkas is a sme specialist, a proven expert in customer success and founder of SME TV. She is also the content editor of the SME Association of Australia. For more than three decades Angela has forged a successful career in public, business, and corporate life. Vithoulkas's business experience spans more than 3 decades, having bought, sold, and built dozens of businesses and employed hundreds of people. As a leader in customer success, she has helped business owners achieve customer-driven growth by elevating their business practices. Angela believes that customer experience is a journey, not a destination.


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