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Five Pillars for Success

In my 40-plus years of business experience, I have discovered that there will be challenges to face each day. These challenges can bring us success, setbacks or great learning opportunities. It all depends on how we approach each day and what we allow to dominate our attention. The learning opportunities I’ve gained from these experiences center on five pillars that can help you succeed in life and in your career.


The Pillars of Success

The first pillar is to live. Living is much easier conveyed than acted on. We often get into a routine that prevents us from thinking about what life provides. We fail to fully comprehend that each day brings no promises or guarantees. The day we have today could be our last. That is why it is so vital to live in the moment so that we can be in line to experience the best of what life has to offer.  

How are you approaching your days? Do you get excited about opening your eyes, or are you sad that your eyes are open? When we realize that life is a privilege that we are granted and a limited opportunity, we understand that we make a living by what we get; but, more important, we make a life by what we give. We must be enthusiastic about life and about living it to the fullest, and we must realize that life will not be without pain or problems. 

The second pillar is to act. You can’t do anything by doing nothing. Plans made and dreams brought forth mean nothing if you do not put those plans and dreams into action. Before success can be considered, you must first act. To make a sale, you must ask. 

Take action even if it is wrong. Even a wrong action will help you discover what does not work and will position you to try something else that may just work.  Action is the difference between success and failure. Do not wait so long for your ship to come in that your pier collapses.

The third pillar is to grow. When we believe that we are in a position where we will never learn or grow in our knowledge or skill level, we are doomed to decline. Growth sparks energy, enthusiasm and excitement about what is current or what can be. Growth opens the doors to new opportunities and new challenges. With so much they have to gain, why don’t some people want to grow? For some, it is fear; for others, it is lack of commitment or a belief that the time required does not justify the effort. It is difficult to understand why, but in simple terms, it centers on complacency. We get too comfortable with where we are, and we allow complacency to rule our lives.

The fourth pillar is influence. At its most basic level, influence is the simple gift of ourselves – that small piece of us that allows others to realize that hope abounds. It is the strength to stand before an individual or a group and transfer a vision that becomes the setting on which impossible heights are reached and dreams are realized. Through influence, we solidify the basis for a lasting legacy. 

The fifth pillar is to overcome. Life is full of critics who find fault with any undertaking by visionaries who attempt to deviate from the norm. Being able to overcome criticism and setbacks is a must for success in life. 

Perhaps one of the most famous circumstances of overcoming occurred when Thomas Edison was developing the light bulb. It took him 1,000 tries to be successful. When asked about his failures, his response was that he endured only 999 successful failures of what would not work until he finally found out what did work. Each shortfall taught him something he used to get closer to his goal of creating the first sustainable light bulb for general use.  

Having the will to overcome is easier said than done. It is tough to stand alone in a crowd when all those around you are challenging your position. Uploading your vision in the midst of obstacles demands more than a simple positive attitude – it demands an unwavering affirmation of rightness without regret.

Herman L. Dixon is a NAIFA member and president and chief executive officer of Think BIG! Coaching and Training. Herman may be contacted at [email protected] [email protected]

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