We very much like to read or listen to success stories about people who had to go through immense struggle to succeed or who came from nothing to become famous or who sacrificed everything in life to achieve something great. And it’s essential to every story that it’s so well written or told that we would identify with the character in it. But the problem begins when we get so caught up with someone else’s story we forget about our own unique journey through life.
Around two years after we started Potentia Society we really struggled with the decision of how we should expand? Should we hire more people and expand in terms of more sports centers? Should we make our own products like nutritional supplements or clothing line? Or should we publish books, articles, videos and apps? And then I accidentally came across what Peter Drucker once told Jim Collins, one of the most widely known business author. He said to him that he could either build a great company or build great ideas but not both. That was the epiphany moment for me.
The company was really just something that accelerated the spreading of ideas we had and were already sharing with others even before that time. That piece of advice gave us direction and with it focus. But not only that. It also gave us insight on how to measure success according to our values. Of course, working with people personally and helping them was fundamental, it gave us the best possible feedback but if we would continue solely this way we would never have gone as far as we did. Now nine years later we have reached and helped transform thousands of people’s lives but the company in itself has remained small with just a handful of people operating it.
The next big milestone for us was the launching of the book Feel like superhuman (known in Slovenia as Aktivirajte Potentio telesa in uma). If we would take the standard definition of success and said that the book will be successful if it reaches bestselling status and sells millions of copies then we would have to deem it as a failed project. Through the years and three editions later hundreds of people have personally reported back how the ideas in the book have helped them. Because we defined its success based on the number of people whose lives have been improved by the book we’ve marked it as a great success.
The projects we’ve done over the years were chosen regarding quality over quantity and absolute value vs relative value. We took on smaller groups and individuals and helped them maximally compared to helping lots of people minimally. We also strived for work that would bring long term effect and changes in people’s lives compared to giving people immediate satisfaction. I’m not saying this is the right thing to do and doing something else is wrong. I am just saying we felt most fulfilled by doing the work in such a way. And when I say fulfilled I mean successful.
Therefore it’s very important how we define success because its definition is always personal, never standard. It’s very tempting to read or hear about someone successful and then just take his definition of success as our own. But by doing that we neglect our own originality and uniqueness. Have you ever asked yourself what is truly your definition of success? What if you have already achieved success by your real values, you just don’t know it yet because you have blindly followed someone else’s definition of what success looks like? Or perhaps by following someone else’s idea of success you are slowly drifting away from your own. Either way, you will never know for sure until you sit down, think and define what success looks like according to your highest values.