Success may seem mystical and mysterious. In fact, it’s hard for most people to define it and develop a plan to achieve it. Just like physicists mapped out the forces that cause apples to fall from a tree, success can be turned into a simple equation if you study the pathways to greatness used by celebrities and entrepreneurs.
Here it is: S = Qr. It’s the simple math behind success – but what does it mean?
Success, or S, is the product of r, the potential value of an idea.
Q, a person's ability to execute on that idea their "Q-factor," or the combination of innate talent and skill, which makes them effective or not in becoming successful in their chosen field or work. The formula also implies that the more ideas you have the greater your chances of success.
However, this equation also highlights another less often recognized but perhaps a more critical truth about success. You need to have the innate capability to achieve what it takes. Some skills you can learn, but many require that you have the genetic makeup to achieve true success. If you want to be a professional basketball player and you are 35 years old and 5’2””, you aren’t likely to become a star player.
But there is an upside to accepting that you are naturally lousy at some things. Face that reality, and you can avoid wasting your energy chasing almost impossible dreams.
Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man said that early in his career he wanted to be a physicist when he went to Princeton”. "Halfway through, I figured out I wasn't smart enough to be a physicist." Instead, he switched to business, founded Amazon and became amazingly wealthy.
Artists also need similar clarity. Academy Award-winner Reese Witherspoon believes in being brutally honest with her kids about their talents, or lack thereof. "I remember my daughter Ava crying in third grade. She was on a JV basketball team and she was the only kid on the team who didn't score. I said, 'Aves, maybe you're bad at basketball.' She thought I was being mean. I said, “mean or true, your mom's bad at basketball, too”.
Witherspoon, like Bezos, no doubt understood how important the Q-factor is for success.
You either have it or you don't.
Follow Bezos's example and switch to a path you're more suited for and you can save yourself a lot of wasted energy and time. Super successful people are brutally honest in assessing their abilities. Confidence and grit have their place, but only after you've mastered this type self-awareness.
How to Make Yourself Employable Using Honest Self-Awareness
Traditional job hunting and careers are a PUSH model for most people. They push themselves into the job market. But to be successful, you need to PULL opportunities toward you linked to what you can offer that is remarkable and marketable. The Internet provides a distribution channel to share your expertise and for others to discover and use your expertise. There’s no reason why an entrepreneurially minded plumber with 15 years of experience and a $10 tripod to film videos can’t become the next YouTube sensation.
It’s time to start telling your story and test what gets attention. See what resonates and doesn’t and learn from that and evolve. Maybe LinkedIn isn’t the right channel, but Twitter turns out to get the attention of employers or customers. Continuously test and fine-tune your message. Fish where the fish are.
The measure of success is not, did you write the material, but did it resonate with your audience and get them to connect with you? More importantly, was it read, shared and emailed? Resourceful headhunters look for interesting people outside normal channels, so they’ll Google what they need, and you will get a call because your content is everywhere. Today can accelerate that time significantly using mostly free Internet tools. But it takes perseverance and consistency.
The truth about success is that you have to focus on offering something that is marketable and deliver a personal branding message that can relate to potential employers capable of supporting the income you need.
And most importantly, you need to have the innate capability to achieve what it takes to be remarkable in the employment or business marketplace.