After hearing a number of recommendations for the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, I downloaded a copy to listen to in the car. One of the first things the book says is to take it one chapter at a time, really absorb each one and integrate the ideas slowly, making them your own. Having to spend the next 2 hours in the car I initially scoffed at listening to just one chapter. The first profound statement hit me as the book unfolded in the first chapter. It said ‘the goal of this book is to help you move from a failure consciousness to a success consciousness’. I did indeed stop the book after the first chapter and give it some thought, which quickly made me realize how much of my life I have spent with a failure consciousness.
A little over a month ago, I attended a seminar through work called ‘PowerCamp’. PowerCamp is a program that helps people to find their own voice, their own power within, to strengthen their own lives in the workplace and at home. Before going to the seminar, I had put some ideas in place for what I needed to work on. These were primarily around overcoming fears – not only fears that kept me from moving forward in many areas of my life, but I also what I called my ‘fear of discovery’ – that someone would uncover at some point that I had no idea what I was doing. I needed to overcome the thoughts that what I accomplished on a day to day basis was not worthy of recognition. During the seminar while discussing with one of the coaches what I was hoping to accomplish with my experience at PowerCamp, she stopped me in the middle to make a point. I had been talking about how I had swam competitively most of my young life, from 5 years old to 18 years old in various swim clubs as well as in high school. She very astutely pointed out that had been wired in my formative years to measure my success by swim times, placement in races, and the opinions of coaches and parents always telling me to work harder – good wasn’t good enough. Wired so much for so many years that I still look for similar validation today. However there are no times or race placements to validate what I do with my life outside of swimming. I realized that I viewed so many things I did as sub-par or failures, because I was trying to measure against something that didn’t exist anymore. This revelation was the beginning of freeing those thoughts of failure and underachievement.
Now looking back on life, I see so many more successes than failures. It has taken time to turn these views around and it is a daily process. Add the profound statement this morning of failure consciousness and success consciousness, I am also seeing my successes so much clearer. When I graduated high school in 1980, I chose not to go to college. I went to work in a few odd jobs, and ultimate got a great entry level job in computers that over the next 25 years enabled me to build a very successful career in the Information Technology industry. Throughout that career, I always felt less competent and less talented than those that had college degrees, yet I knew I was running circles around most of them at work. That thought of failing to acquire a college degree kept me minimizing the success in my career for over 25 years. Now looking back, I see nothing but success. The fact that I was able to, on a C-average high school education, establish a long and well respected career in the computer industry, manage and lead large teams of people, and hold over 5 completely different and challenging positions, shows me that I have had huge success – and in no way was it a failure. The lesson was a long time coming, but now that it is positive instead of negative, I am embracing the feeling of that success.
About 15 years ago, I made a significant career change. I moved from being an independent computer programmer to being an instructor for a big time software company. When I decided to make such a big leap, I knew it was life changing and I had the confidence that I could make the change. But because of the insecurities around my missing degree, fear of failing motivated me for years to work hard and be very successful at the company. If I had gone into such a big career change with a success consciousness instead of failure consciousness, I may have had even more success. No regrets, but the profound statement of today has made me realize that having a success consciousness will only bring that success to you in greater amounts, because you believe you will be successful and that failure is not an option – or even a word that should enter your mind.
I now embark on another new challenge, altering my career path by becoming an entrepreneur and starting my own business. Instead of going in, hoping that I do not fail, I have gone in knowing that I will be successful. I feel it, sense it, and own the feeling of success and it is mine for the taking. Take it upon yourself to ask – do you operate under a failure consciousness or a success consciousness, and what do you need to do to move to the success side of that question?