What is success?
That is a difficult question to answer, partly because we all define success differently. A successful week for an accountant may look completely different from a successful week from a teacher.
But even though everybody defines success in differing ways, we all achieve it in the same way.
In his book Carpe Aqualis! Seize the Wave, Kahuna CEO Frank F. Lunn explains his journey in discovering true success. It is not by making money or being well known. True success comes from adding value to others.
The following excerpt from Carpe Aqualis
Where Does True Success Come From?
If you get only one thing from this book, I sincerely hope you understand that your success will come by bringing value or service to other people. This is the essence of opportunity, but it’s difficult for people to find. As a culture, we are trained to be self-centered. This does not lead to a life of abundance.
When I was younger, I looked for all kinds of short-cut, get-rich-quick schemes with the goal of making money. I wasn’t doing anything unethical or illegal, but I was missing the most important aspect of building wealth. When I finally figured it out, my financial situation changed and my life was enhanced. Looking back, it amazes me how simple the answer was. Allow me to save you the years and the frustration. It is so simple you need to be careful not to miss the magnitude. It is only a few words, but like a small key, it will unlock a very big door:
What you give…you get.
This is the law of reciprocity. Give to get. If you want to get rich, first enrich others. A farmer doesn’t plant beans and expect corn to grow. Only what is planted can be harvested. Give away freely whatever you want and it will return to you. When you give your time, time will come back to you. To get respect, give respect. To get love, give love. Give value, praise, freedom and the same will return to you.
By the same token, holding onto something out of greed or jealousy will choke its freedom to grow. People who value money so much that they refuse to share it ironically diminish their ability to have even more money. Your life is an investment—if heartache and bitterness are your dividends, what was your initial deposit?
A Rising Tide Lifts all Surfboards
Have you ever been on a winning team? How about just a fan of one? Winning is exhilarating, even if all you did was cheer. A rising tide lifts all surfboards. Whatever you do to add value to your community (family, work, neighborhood, church, etc.) ultimately brings value back to you. Surfing is an individual activity. No one else can surf for you. But there is a set of rules that must be followed to allow all surfers to safely coexist. Life, ultimately, is a team sport. You can’t succeed unless you give to others more than they give to you.
The Truest Victories Are Ones Achieved Through Others
“Lunn! Get your sorry butt over here right now! What are you doing? Did you not listen to a word I said? Drop and give me twenty! What are you lookin at? Are you stupid or did your Mamma drop you on your head as a child? You WILL go back and do it again and this time you will do it like you are a soldier. You have ten seconds to get out of my face and eight of them are already gone! Now move it!”
Not exactly what you would expect in a nurturing and caring relationship, but these very words (plus a few more colorful ones) from Staff Sergeant Brown during the hottest days of August in 1986 at Fort Benning Georgia stand out vividly in my memory. Yes, Sergeant Brown was my Airborne Drill Sergeant and although you might not be able to tell from this excerpt, Sergeant Brown was a tremendous teacher who made me a better soldier. His methods were extreme because the nature of war and jumping out of airplanes is extreme. Sergeant Brown achieved his victories through my victories and the victories of countless other soldiers. The drill instructors from every branch of the service can take great pride in the knowledge that their mission was accomplished through those they trained.
Success, knowledge, love, respect, and consideration are never diminished when shared with others. When the flame on the wick of a candle touches another wick, the flame is not diminished; it is magnified as it is shared. Your success and happiness will come in proportion to what you add. This is true in families, workplaces, churches, in the military, on sports teams and beyond. The strength of any organization lies in the willingness of each member to give everything for the team’s benefit.
Your success is never diminished when you add value to others. Isn’t that the ultimate goal for coaches, teachers, mentors, managers, supervisors and even drill sergeants? Isn’t this the main goal of parents as we nurture our children? My victory as an author and teacher comes from the victories of those who apply it to achieve greater success.
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