Perhaps it’s the spring that makes me reflect on my past year, but also to think about the coming year.

That being said it’s one thing to reflect on your journey and feel good about what you’ve achieved and where you’ve come from but entirely another to have the ability to then build on those successes and continue your evolution.

Many people look at me and the life I’ve created and make assumptions about my background and my success.  To be clear, there were no silver platters or handouts, just a strong work ethic and a desire to create a life of plenty on my terms.

As you know success comes in my forms…

When I first immigrated to Canada I literally had to start all over again, as with many immigrants their qualifications weren’t recognized.  And although painful at the time I don’t think I would have wanted it any other way.  It made me hungry to prove to everyone that I could start again and make my life a success. 

Yes, there were many long days, and countless hours working on some great and sometimes not so great projects.  I’ve been fortunate to work with people from all walks of life and from all around the world, in different industries and from all types of businesses, but the one constant is that I tried to learn as much as I could as I went.  If I reflect on my career I feel blessed, as I’ve had some amazing mentors, coaches and guides throughout my career even though they perhaps didn’t know it at the time.

The one constant is that we all need help and support on our journey to success.

Strangely whenever I focus my attention on reflection and renewal I’m overcome by the feeling that “the world is at my feet” and that I can do just about anything…  It truly is empowering to feel so positive about the journey ahead.  Whether it’s luck or a highly honed gut instinct I’ve always found my way, and have confidence in my abilities to keep moving forward, even though at times its not exactly the path that you thought it would be.  You’ve got to “go with the flow”.

Over the years I’ve learned a lot and which seem universal, so let me share some of them with you.

I think the first this is to always remain true to yourself – be who you are!  Being authentic and genuine is vital, especially if you mix that with an open and flexible approach, so could this be the “secret sauce” of success? 

Clearly an important part is being accepted for who you, just as you are…foibles and all. Unconditional love and acceptance is really important as it has the ability to bring out the absolute best in you. This is an important one to reflect on for you personally. Do the important people in your life accept you for who you are, just as you are?

Another really important aspect of building the life you want is your ability to look for the positives in any situation or at least reflect on what you learned or will take away from the situation.  Sometimes this is difficult, especially when you feel let down and disappointed but it’s definitely what makes you stronger and better able to grow moving forward.  No matter how painful the situation is, it’s important to understand the broader context and learn, because in one way or another it’s continuing to prepare you for your future.

I also realize that this is easier said than done, especially when your emotions are involved… 🙂

Important to remember that it’s more than just being positive, but also reflecting on what you’re going to take away from the situation that counts.  I would hasten to say that is where you develop and hone your inner strength.  This is what I would call building your resiliency and emotional maturity and awareness; developing your ability to roll with whatever is tossed your way irrespective of what it is and keep going.

We all need a foundation on which to build, and whether we like it or not there is a lot of hard work to be done in order to prepare you for what you want to achieve and where you want to go in life.  Whether it’s starting out at the bottom as an intern and working your way up through the ranks, or joining a new organization and starting as the “new kid on the block” the ability to be a quick learner is imperative. 

No matter which way you cut it, you have to earn your success and that only comes from being prepared to work hard, learning as you go and being completely committed to whatever you need to accomplish. 

I would also strongly encourage you to have a plan of some sort.  Now the plan doesn’t have to be ironclad but ideally you want to identify some key and realistic milestones in your path ahead so that you can gauge where you are in relation to where you ultimately want to be – remember, “Hope is not a strategy”!  

I would urge you to write your plan down and say them out loud (this is my favourite), nothing brings it to life as much as when you share it with others.  The flip side is that it’s pretty scary when you put yourself out there, because now you’re committed to making it happen, after all your reputation is now on the line!

Remember it’s not about where you start in life, but where you take yourself that counts. 

The only person that can make you a success is you!

Until next week…