The shortcut to success

I like the idea of a shortcut to success. Fortunately for me, modernity offers all sorts. Social media marketing experts promise to show me how to build a business through tweets and Facebook postings. Fad diets can help me get an awesome body by eating magic berries (or whatever the diet du-jour is).

Naturally, when I launched Ignited Leadership I wanted to find the shortcut to building a successful speaking business. So I took a successful speaker out to breakfast and asked how to build a speaking business. In a nutshell, he told me that it would take about three years of hard work. When he said that I wanted to quit – three years seemed like a lifetime! I wanted a successful business now.

Still searching to find a shortcut, I started studying successful people. I learned that Steve Jobs loved computers and was a jerk. Mother Teresa loved the people of Calcutta and was kind to everyone. Richard Branson loves adrenaline and took risk after risk after risk.

But studying these people only created another problem: ostensibly those three leaders have nothing in common. Their combined path to success involves taking lots of of risks, being kind, and being a jerk. Obviously, that path wasn’t going to work.

So I dug a bit deeper and I noticed that all wildly successful leaders have two attributes:

1) They passionately believe in their work.

2) They work hard. Much harder than the people who merely mill around hoping to become successful overnight.

The shortcut

I learned that passion for your project blended with hard work is the shortcut to success. We all know we have to work hard to truly succeed so it doesn’t seem like a secret, but many of us – myself included – don’t realize that passion and hard work is the shortcut. Without both, all of our projects just fall flat. Trying to substitute one of the elements is just a waste of time.

So, how do you take advantage of the shortcut?

First, find a project you are passionate about – creating beautiful art, correcting economic injustices, helping people with disabilities – whatever resonates with you.

Second, work as hard as you possibly can on it in your own way.

Because you’re passionate, most of the time it won’t feel like work. Because you’re working hard, you will be on the fast track to success.

Despite the promises of modernity, you can’t build a business just by writing great tweets and you can’t get a better body by eating magic foods. Building a business takes passion for whatever it is you’re offering and hard work. Sculpting a sweet body involves a passion for looking your best and hard work. Social media marketing, magic berries, and all other “shortcuts” are, at best, icing on the cake. At worst, they are snake oils that will derail your success by focusing your time on things besides your passion and hard work.

The bottom line

The fastest and surest path to success is to find a project you are wildly passionate about and give it your all. Everything else is just a mirage.

Did you like this article? If so, please consider:

1. Following Ignited Leadership on Twitter- @Ignitedleaders.

2. Signing up for our awesome monthly newsletter on leadership.

3. Sharing it with a friend!

4. Leave a comment about what steps you’re taking to create your own success as a leader.

Thank you!

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