Success, a big word which can either lift your spirits or crush them. According to the dictionary it means “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose” and I believe it is entirely only in the eye of the viewer. Success can be anything and on the smallest scale of things in contrast to beliefs of nowadays society and many people. Why can you not celebrate the success of finishing a long and strenuous day at work or cutting down on chocolate except for one day a week?
In my opinion, there are three essential landmarks you need to follow to achieve any goal. If you truly follow these steps, success, whatever that means in your case, will follow in time.
The WFS-formula stands for “the willingness to fail and sacrifice” and will help you understand which little steps you need to take in order to reach your destination.
Before we get into the first step of your journey towards success read this:
“Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” – Muhammad Ali
As a physiotherapist, I have had the opportunity to talk to all kinds of people in my young life thus far. Next to professional athletes, I had the pleasure of meeting everything from hard working mechanics to bankers who close 2million dollar deals in their lunch break. If you listen close enough, you can learn from all of them. The more you expand your range of skills in your tool box, the more you can utilize those skills in the right moment. One essential ability that jumped my eye with all the successful patients was their naturally strong will. Latest when you let someone squat with 100kg on their backs and tell them to repeat the set one more time, you will know if they have the will or not. It obviously starts much earlier than that and I can spot it during the first minute of talking by now – a skill I learned over time.
One key element to developing a strong will is to realize that there are no limits to what you want to achieve.
Once you wrapped your brain around that fact, we can get to work.
There are numerous examples of people with a strong will that achieved goals that, at that time, people would shake their heads about. If you listen to the non-believers, you will end up in the same downward spiral which they find themselves in. One recent example would be the professional triathlete Lionel Sanders. A few years back, he found himself in a state of abusing drugs and alcohol to get through the day. Nowadays, he is considered among the favorite for the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, which is one of the most challenging endurance event on the planet.
So, you want to tell me how he went from chugging down beers to winning triathlons over time?
Well, I can tell you it is certainly not his pretty running style that got him there.
It is pure grit and the will to be a better version of himself and that day in and day out. He gave it everything he had from the minute he decided he wanted to go for it.
So, what`s the message here, you might think?
Simple, choose a goal that is so big that might even scare you a bit. It is absolutely essential that you have a burning passion for that specific goal. You have to want it, even if you have no idea yet how to get there. Those are all details and will be sorted out with time. Most people think you always have to have a clear and structured plan how to get everywhere you want to go. I do not believe that is the case. In the end faith will push you around like a little toddler until you go where you are supposed to go. So, stop stressing about HOW to get there and just get going.
A burning passion goes hand in hand with a strong will. A strong will is necessary to get past the speed bumps along the way, which brings us to the next step of the WFS-formula.
I am pretty sure the triathlete Lionel Sanders had more than a few moments where he just wanted to back out and go back to the fridge and open that cold brew. Realizing that those thoughts are part of the journey towards your goal is key. The trick is to allow the thoughts, let them wander around your skull for a moment and then gently push them out of there and re-focus. If you do not have a strong base of your will, you will not succeed.
Unfortunately, there will be moments where you give 100% to achieve the task that leads you towards your goal, but you fail anyways. Sometimes life can get in the way of what you want to do and that is okay! Michael Jordan is known as one of the most successful basketball players ever. Do you have any idea how many games have been lost only because of him? Let me tell you, it’s many but he took the decisive shot again next time he got the chance. He was never afraid to fail despite all the pressure and expectations. His stubbornness and will prevailed and now he is not known as the guy that is responsible for losing games but for being a true champion.
So, know that you are going to fall flat on your face while reaching for the stars. Do not cry all over the fact that you failed but find ways how to get better next time. Accept it, loose as little energy on it as possible, move forward and keep on working hard. Hard work is the key word for the “S” in the WFS-formula.
Me at the finish line of my very first IRONMAN triathlon in 2012, an achievement I am very proud of until today. I had no idea how to prepare, finance or finish this thing, but my passion for the sport guided me along a very bumpy road towards the finish line.
Mr. 2million-dollar-banker would roll into the car park at 5:30 am every morning before his 450 horsepower engine of his red Ferrari would roar again at 9pm at night to leave home. One can argue if financial success is admireable or not but for him it was everything. He did not reach his goals by sleeping in every morning and leaving again an hour early since it was so nice and sunny outside. He was the first to arrive and last to leave. His unstoppable passion and burning willingness to give everything he got on a daily basis could just lead into one direction, success.
Successful people get up early, that’s a fact. I learned that ability from him and nowadays I dive into the swimming pool at 6am four times a week for 90min, before I bike to work, have some pre-cooked breakfast there to start working at 8:30am. Don’t give me the “I do not have time” excuse. You always have time, it’s just the question if you are willing to take the step or not.
I know of many triathletes how have 10 hour working days, train three hours a day and spend time with their children and wives from 6pm till the kids go to bed. They just have to set the alarm to 4:30am and get the workout done before the kids sit at the breakfast table, easy as that. Again, a strong base of willingness is essential to keep this up. While sometimes pushing things through seems like a good idea, you also have to feel balanced. The road to success is bumpy and a long one.
Nobody became their best overnight. So, make sure you have time for yourself on a daily basis where you can sit down in piece and relax. Imagine a bucket you will have to fill with just the right amount of water in order it does not overflow over the edges. Do not load yourself with more that you can handle for a prolonged timeframe. Gritting through all the time will lead to a never-ending streak of failures.
If you have the willingness to reach your goal, knowing you will fail along the way and that you will have to sacrifice certain things, you are one step close to achieving something so great you haven’t dreamed off yet.