Sunday, June 29, 2008

JWN: Success is a Choice

Success is a Choice

By: Joseph W. Norman

“Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.” – Stephen Covey

In our lives we make choices every moment of everyday. We decide how we react to the situations that come across our path. Will we let that negative occurrence ruin our day? Or, will we empower ourselves with the minor setback and let it propel us to success? As Covey references, we have a responsibility to ourselves to understand the power of our choice. What do we choose to do with our gifts? These decisions create our reality.

My thought inspiration this week comes from a few places. The first is an article, “What Successful People Believe,” which was given to me by a wonderfully insightful young woman I recently met. The piece summed up my last six weeks of thought in approximately one single spaced page. Humbling. I know. The other source is the great Tony Robbins. His thoughts and videos focused on human needs and the power of choice have absolutely captivated me.

Now that I’ve referenced my sources and framed my thoughts, what does all of this lead to? It is the fact that success is a choice. Who we are is derived from a series of decisions we made days, months, or even years ago. You have to make up your mind as to how you will respond to what comes your way. And, you need to decide how you will try to make new things happen. The history of our beautiful world is the result of these decisions. Makes you think a little bit, huh? What you are doing right now matters.

Tony Robbins breaks down our responses to the six human needs. This has been the study of his life over the last thirty years. The first four needs are of the personality. They are “Certainty, uncertainty, significance, and connection and love.” From the spiritual side, we need, “To grow and to contribute beyond ourselves.”

Let’s take it further:

Certainty. We need to have some consistency in our lives. Sureness of things like our health or financial resources needs to be there. Otherwise we may lose control.

Uncertainty. Despite our need for stability, we also need variety and challenge. Without that we can become bored.

Significance. We all need to feel important, special, and unique.

Connection / Love. Most people settle for connection because love is too scary. Nonetheless, we need it. It can be through intimacy, friendship, or prayer. It could even be from a walk through nature.

The next two are foundational needs of the human spirit and they work in conjunction with each other. These are the most powerful needs because through them we find fulfillment in what we do.

Growth. The reason we grow is so we have something to give of value. The person we dream of becoming is most likely not who we are today. We must grow to attain this goal!

Contribution. The secret of living is giving. It is not about ‘me,’ but ‘we.’ We must make decisions in our life that allow us to contribute with our unique gifts.

These six needs define who we are and they filter what decisions we make on a daily basis. How we prioritize them provides our life with direction. What needs we choose to focus on frames our reality.

Personally, my top two priorities for quite some time have been significance and contribution. My chief aim is to add and create value for people. Hence, my personal philosophy: “I aim to make a consistent positive influence on the people and communities I associate with on a daily basis.” And, although a bit narcissistic, I enjoy being recognized for these actions. Can you blame me though? We all enjoy being desired. It helps us validate our actions. My passion for notoriety and value creation is what motivates the entrepreneur in me.

On another note though, it is crucial to develop balance in our lives with the six needs. Thus, I am now taking a more active approach towards connection and love, an area which I’ve always appreciated but sometimes neglected in my past. We must manage our human needs so we can find our own personal fulfillment.

You can know what to do intellectually, but not do it. So, decision is the real power!

ACTION PLAN: What are your priorities? Which needs are at the top of your list? This choice moves you through everyday of your life! Think about it carefully!

“Life is a gift. It offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” - Tony Robbins

We must savor that gift! Our personal fulfillment depends on it! Choose to be who you truly desire to be; not for someone else, but for yourself. All this can make your world a different place. That is for sure!

Joseph W. Norman, resides in Macedon, NY, and is Chief Enthusiasm Officer and Editor of The VIP Profiles. He offers lectures and keynote talks on leadership, personal, and professional development and is always up for a business lunch.

Joseph can be reached at or 607.743.8569.