Last week I was honored to be a mentor at the speed mentoring event for Women of the World festival as a part of the Sydney Writers Festival. You can read more about WOW in my last post: How to Celebrate Being a Woman.
Today I wanted to spend a bit of time re-capping my experience as a mentor. There were over 200 people at the event and I had an hour to mentor four women who were looking for advice on overcoming their own personal challenges.
Mentees and mentors
The mentees ranged from the age of 16 right the way through to 72 years of age including students, lawyers and aspiring authors and they were asked to prepare a set of challenges in advance that they could bring to us mentors. The mentors at the event ranged from successful book authors through to journalists, politicians, CEOs and revered businesswomen.
All of the women I mentored were bright, intelligent and very capable and their challenges varied. While I won’t go into detail about what was discussed I would like to spend some time reflecting on one of the most popular questions that I was asked:
“What makes someone successful?”
For me this is a really simple question to answer. There are many, many things successful people do differently, but there is one overarching thing that is crucial to their success. I’ve seen it time and time again with every single successful person I’ve ever met or studied. And it’s this:
Your mental attitude
Your mental attitude will dictate your success. Simple as that. If you’re able to control your mind with a positive attitude, and can view obstacles as challenges, then you will be successful. If however, you struggle with negative thoughts, stress and anxiety then in my experience you will find it very difficult to succeed.
Your mental attitude will seriously get you a long way – because this is what becomes the driving force behind your success. You need to be ready for obstacles and problems and issues to crop up – because guess what? They’re inevitable. I haven’t met a single successful person yet who told me that it was plain sailing to get to where they are today. The fact is that you will need the agility and flexibility to swerve around problems and the ability to treat them as opportunities – rather than let them get you down.
Problems are the secret to success
I actually have a theory that problems are a necessary part of the evolution process towards success. This is because if you think about it – problems teach you what you need to learn, in order to move forward. Think of it like positive feedback. A problem simply tells you what NOT to do, so you can move forward and take the right course of action. Without problems how would you know how to proceed?
A lesson from Stephen King
The other thing I talked about a lot during my mentor sessions was a tenacious desire to reach your goals. As I was at the Writers Festival I found it apt to tell this anecdote about the famous author Stephen King:
When Stephen King was an aspiring writer he hammered a huge nail into his wall. The nail had a specific purpose that he believed would motivate him to reach his goal of becoming a successful author. So every single day, he would take the time to write (a minimum of 1000 words) and send off manuscripts to publishers. Each and every time he received a rejection letter from a publisher, he would spear it onto the nail. His goal was that by the time the nail was full of rejection letters, he would have a book deal. By the time he was just 14 years old, the nail could not support the weight of the rejection letters and so he replaced it with a spike and kept on writing.
What’s amazing about this story is that Stephen King was expecting to get rejected hundreds of times before he succeeded. And it’s this willingness to keep pushing through the obstacles that he faced and his strong mental attitude that ultimately led to his eventual success. Imagine if he had entertained the thought of failure? Would he be the successful author that he is today? I very much doubt it.
Simple Life Strategy: 3 Simple Steps to Success
1. Become aware. Check in on your mental attitude. Are you geared for success of failure? Do you have a positive outlook, or do you get consumed by negative thoughts?
2. Change the way you view problems. Decide to see problems as opportunities instead of negative obstacles. Remember that problems are a requisite on your path to success.
3. Adopt a tenacious attitude. Take a leaf from Stephen King’s book (no pun intended) and welcome problems! Be ready for rejection and failure and refuse to let this stop you from progressing towards your goals. If you never, never give up (as Winston Churchill said), you cannot fail!
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Do you feel blocked on your path to success? If you would like to try a free 30 minute coaching session with me via skype, email me at zoe[at]simplelifestrategies[dot]com or via this contact form.
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