Lots of people think success is a mystery. They think of it more as art than science. They convince themselves that it is for the rare genius or the lucky. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Massive success is not easy to achieve, but it is simple. There is a recipe. Whenever someone has the guts to put all the ingredients in and stir it up, they get the result.
If Massive Success were a cake, it would always contain at least five elements.
There are many flavors of “Success Cake,” with unique ingredients added beyond the basic 5. But much like the fact that Chocolate Cake, Angel Food Cake, and Pound Cake, though different, all contain milk, eggs, and flour, so too every success cake has five central ingredients in common.
Many people want success but want to leave one or more of the ingredients out. When any of these ingredients is missing, the cake never turns out.
Here are the 5 Ingredients of Massive Success.
There is no lasting success without disappointment. Thomas Edison famously attempted the electric lightbulb more than 1000 times before stabling upon the right filament. Edison was under enormous pressure to deliver because his idea of an electric light, a massive threat to the kerosene lighting industry, had been discredited in a public smear campaign against Edison and his financial supporter J.P. Morgan. With every failed attempt, the frustration and disappointment grew.
You cannot hope to have success without falling on your face. As I stated in my exclusive series “A New Perspective on Failure,” (available only for my subscribers who join free in the form to the right) these types of setbacks are a positive and necessary part of the success journey.
Many people exit the road to success when disappointment sets in. Others never even begin the journey, fearing that there might be disappointment involved.
There is no “might.” Disappointment is part and parcel with success. Embrace it.
Similarly, rejection and success go hand in hand. Some may say that rejection and disappointment are the same. They are related, but they are not the same. Rejection is a very specific type of disappointment. You can be disappointed by failed attempts, people who let you down, frustration with yourself, and more. But none of those are rejection. Independent of other types of disappointment, if you wish to have massive success, then you must also mix into the bowl a generous portion of rejection.
Walt Disney was fired by his newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a news anchor and told she was, “unfit for TV.”
Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was told no one would want his chicken by 1099 different restaurant owners before he received his first yes.
Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school 3 times.
The Beatles were dropped by their record label.
I can do this for days. Why? Because if you show me someone that is having massive success, there will be rejection in their story. It’s an ESSENTIAL ingredient. Write it down. You cannot have massive success without rejection.
Here’s why rejection is always present. Most success involves doing something or being something that is not yet common or that people don’t yet fully appreciate. Therefore, only the truly visionary will be able to appreciate it. Truly visionary individuals and organizations are rare. Therefore, when you begin to make your mark, the average people of the world will turn you away.
Albert Einstein said, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
If you refuse to give up, and keep asking, seeking, and knocking (Luke 11:9-10) you will find those visionary first movers who will have the foresight to see your value and move you forward. First movers attract first followers and before you know it, you or your idea begin to become self-evident. That’s when massive success is realized. But the rejection is a non-negotiable ingredient to reaching that point.
Write this down somewhere prominent in giant letters with big marker: Comfort Is My Enemy!
Discomfort is perhaps the ingredient that is most ignored. People work overtime to make a massive success cake without ever becoming uncomfortable. There’s a saying that everything you have ever wanted is lying just on the other side of your comfort zone. So true.
In order to be a massive success you are going to have to try things you’ve never tried. You’re going to have to develop skills you’ve heretofore never needed. You’re going to be introduced to issues that you never knew existed.
I was speaking with a budding entrepreneur after one of my seminars recently. She was a woman in her early fifties who pulled me aside after the session and through tears told me a brief version of her story. She had recently endured a heart-breaking divorce that left her in a position where she had to provide financially in a way that she hadn’t before. For a variety of reasons a “job” would not meet her needs, and she was starting a business that did. However, she was struggling. She shared with me that she had never had the fears that she was currently experiencing. For example, she shared that she had never had any issue talking with people. But now that she had to approach people as potential customers, she was scared to death. She had never had issues working with others, but now that she had to lead she was finding herself unsure and tentative.
I shared with her that this new venture was merely revealing weaknesses or undeveloped skills that were there the whole time, but had no reason to surface. I assured her that the exposure of these issues was good because it meant that growth was taking place. I encouraged her not to quit, but keep working on those areas and become comfortable.
I’m happy to share that she looked me in the eye with absolute conviction and assured me she would never quit. She was determined to get the breakthrough.
This is going to be the case for all of us. I have a saying that I frequently use in my seminars and with those that I mentor. “If you want to go somewhere you’ve never gone you’re going to have to become someone you’ve never been.”
The funny thing is that we will never complete this process. When we have grown our comfort zone by pushing through discomfort and expanding our skills and abilities, new opportunities will arise that will require us to step outside the circle again.
Discomfort is a central ingredient of Massive Success.
4. A Spasmodic Trajectory
Most people expect success to be a straight or a smooth curved line from the bottom to the top. HA!!!
This diagram says it all.
There will be victories and setbacks. Mountaintops and valleys. Steve Jobs, after lots of struggle, became enormously wealthy with his company Apple Computer. However, he was fired by the very company he founded. Ultimately, as we all know, Steve Jobs reunited with his brainchild and turned it into the #1 brand in the world. He stated later that the enormous success they had at Apple in his second stint would have never been possible had he not gone through the process of departing the company and attempting several other ventures in the interim.
If you only want success as long as it moves in a straight line, I hate to break it to you, but you’re never going to get it.
5. Uncompensated Value
The last non-negotiable ingredient of Massive Success is providing value for which you are never actually compensated.
All great entrepreneurs, leaders, brands, and organizations give far more value to the marketplace than they receive. In the beginning, you often have to sell your services or products for less than they are worth or even give them away to break into the marketplace.
Leaders pour value into people’s lives up front and without any expectation of compensation because they know that adding value is the only mechanism to develop influence.
Even established brands give way more value than they receive. I think about some of the most “valuable” things I own. My iPhone is a remarkable thing. How much value does it provide to me? If I had to pay for the services that it provides to me on an ongoing basis, what would the bill be? And yet I paid about $600 for it. Forget whether that’s a competitive price for a piece of electronics. That’s not the point. It’s the value that Apple is giving the marketplace with their products. Often when I’m listening to music that I love, I think to myself, “It’s amazing how much value this music provides to me.” Whenever I hear “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis or “Achtung Baby” by U2, I think to myself, “how many times have I listened to these songs? How much joy has this album brought me? And I paid what…ten bucks?” Remarkable.
The great ones all give more value to the world than they ever get in return. If you want to be massively successful, you have to think in those terms.
I’ll tell you one other aspect of giving value for which you are under-compensated. The great ones are always under-appreciated. If you are going to be a massive success, be prepared to be taken for granted and for much of what you’ve contributed to be ignored.
John Adams, 2nd President of the United States, is arguably the most important figure in the history of the revolution. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin have traditionally received more fame and attention. But Adams arguably played a more significant role in the birth of our nation than all of the famous founders combined. Even in his day, John Adams’ contribution and impact were significantly unappreciated. Adams felt the weight of the lack of appreciation, and he allowed himself to grow bitter about it. Had I been able to speak with him I would have told him that being under appreciated is just par for the course. All people who are massively successful, to one degree or another, are under appreciated.
You can whip up a towering success cake. Just know that there’s not a shortcut. If you leave out one of these ingredients, the cake won’t ever come together.
Disappointment, Rejection, Discomfort, a Spasmodic Trajectory, and Uncompensated Value are essential ingredients to massive success.
Start throwing them in the bowl today. Mix until smooth.
I’d love to know which ingredient you’re leaving out or that you struggle with most. Let’s refine one another and cheer each other to victory. Put your comments below.