I’m no expert, but something I’ve grown passionate about sharing is my business journey, lessons, and what I consider success principles for a strong career. I love opening up about how I became a small business owner at twenty-five and what it took to get there: the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
And no, I’m not claiming to have it all ‘figured out.’ I’m well aware that my story isn’t incredible (and I’m not claiming it to be!). I just think that transparency is important and helping people understand how to make their dreams a reality—and that it is possible in the first place—is something I really value.
Anyways, a few weeks ago I was featured on the Guiding Heroes Podcast and the host, David Patterson, called my tips the “Marisa Donnelly success principles.” It was thoughtful and humbling, but it really made me think. What are ‘success principles’ and what do they look like?
So, being the writer I am, I thought I’d unpack that and share my thoughts with you.
1. Success looks different for everyone.
If I’m going to start a list about success principles for a strong career, I’m going to start with this simple statement: success looks, feels, and manifests itself differently for every single person.
For some, success looks like founding a nonprofit, for others, it might be launching a new product or app, and for others, it might be as simple as getting out of bed in the morning for another 10-hour shift. There’s no one definition for success (or happiness for that matter) and it’s important that as you carve what you want out of your life, that you remember your journey is no one else’s.
2. Find what makes you truly excited to live.
If I were to simplify everything about ‘follow your dreams’ or ‘follow your passions’ it would be summed into this simple idea. You have to find what makes you excited and try to pursue that. Maybe it’s art, maybe it’s talking to people, maybe it’s sitting at a computer and typing your heart out.
Figuring out what you’re meant to do isn’t always easy, but it starts by honing in on what you truly feel excited about and finding ways to inject that passion into your everyday life.
3. Find your personal, perfect balance between learning from everyone else and focusing on yourself.
To be truly successful in life, you have to understand that other people and their journeys are going to influence you. Sometimes this is a great thing: advice, mentorship, learning. And sometimes this is a bad thing: comparison, imposter syndrome, stress.
Finding who you are begins by seeing where you fit in the mess of people and trying to carve your own niche. But you can’t be too focused on yourself that you neglect to care about anyone else in the process. Find a balance. Care about what people think and say, but don’t let it define you. Learn to work well with others, but don’t be a pushover. Pursue what you care about, but don’t step on people in the process. Balance.
4. Be savvy with your time and money.
Whether you’re going to pursue a passion project or a full-time career, you’re going to need to create a schedule and have a budget. I feel like this should go without saying, but I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I know who have jumped full-force into something without thinking, simply because they’re excited.
Don’t let me burst your bubble (because passion is great!) but you have to have something smart and sustainable, too. Even the most exuberant people still have to work hard to keep their businesses running.
Be savvy when it comes to investing, finding sponsors, saving your money, and doing things yourself. Also, create timelines, deadlines, and a schedule for yourself when it comes to doing projects for both others and yourself. This will help you to keep consistent and focused on what needs to be done (and hopefully lower your stress levels in the process).
Other Success Principles for a Strong Career:
Don’t give up when the road is tough. That’s something I’ve learned. When I first started my writing career, I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was frustrated and thought I made a mistake. I was picking up side jobs and struggling just to get by. But I realized that I wanted to write and make a living from my writing more than anything in the world. So I kept going. And you have to, too.
Focus on your end goal, but also look at the baby steps along the way. If you’re looking ahead too much, you’ll feel pressured by all the distance you still have left to cover. But if you break things down into little pieces, the days will feel more manageable. And before you know it, you’ll be where you dreamed you’d be. Keep going.
Featured Image Credit: Sincerely Media
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