Success means different things to different people. Success might be reaching a goal that you’ve set at work. It might be winning some kind of competition. Success might be following up on a promise that you made to yourself. One thing is for sure: Success has a price.

The price of success varies for the situation and the degree of commitment. We know that discipline is needed to achieve almost anything worthwhile. This topic came up at breakfast the other day. As I was eating with one of my mentors, I asked him what he looks for in his business partners. He replied with something that I felt was very simple and profound at the same time, “I like people who are willing to pay the price for success.”  I internalized what he said, but didn’t give it any more thought at the time.. I wholeheartedly agreed and we moved on with our conversation.

Later that night, I turned on Michael Jordan’s documentary “The Last Dance.”  In one of the episodes. MJ was emotional about the sacrifices he had made and what it took to become a six-time NBA Champion.  MJ paused, looked into the camera and said, “Success has a price.”

That’s all it took – I heard it twice in one day.. I knew that I had to write about it. I think far too often we look at success as luck or happenstance. That’s just not true. While a handful of people may achieve success through luck, they are the anomaly. Most people who become successful, know that there is a price and they are willing to pay it.

What is “Success?” 

As we’ve already mentioned, success means different things to different people. An important first step of reaching for your personal success is to be crystal clear about what it is that you want. Ask 10 different people, “What does success mean to you?” Nine of them will probably answer, “I’m not sure; I haven’t really thought about that.”

However, one person will look you in the eye and tell you exactly what it is that they want, how they are going to measure it, and how they’re going to get there. We always talk about having very specific goals. Goals are the means by which we achieve success.  Achieving our goals helps us move in the right direction toward whatever we consider successful.

It’s hard to hit a target that you can’t see. Just like it’s hard to achieve success if you haven’t defined it. Step one is to create a crystal-clear image of what success means to you. Is it financial freedom? Spending more time with your family? Is it having the body that you’ve always wanted? Whatever success means to you, it’s important to first define it so that we can aim in the right direction.

The Price 

What is the price of success? Is there a defined cost? I don’t think you’re ever going to see a price tag on success. It’s subjective – but we know that a price exists.

I have a few non-negotiable items in my life. One of which is moving throughout my day. The reason why this is a non-negotiable item is because it’s so easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle. I’m using a speech-to-text feature on my phone that’s connected to my bluetooth headset. I’m walking as I ‘write’ this article. There are ways to get creative. The first thing you must do is figure out what your non-negotiable items are in your life. Which critical tasks move the needle? What daily activities push you closer to your goals and help you to reach your definition of success?

The price of success is not a one-time investment; it’s a recurring one. You will struggle. You will have to navigate obstacles. You will have to overcome setbacks. You will have to pick yourself up off the floor.

As you know, I’m passionate about health and exercise. Your health is like an allegory for the rest of your life. Working on your health requires discipline. Pushing your body and mind to work out requires energy. Making good dietary choices requires deliberate effort. These are all examples of paying the price for a healthy body. The same goes for your personal life and personal success.

The value of that price is up to you. Think of that price as an investment. My hope is that you will continue paying the price for success and that one day you will be rewarded.

What is the Alternative?

What is the alternative to being successful? It’s very simple: I consider not living up to your potential as the ultimate form of being unsuccessful.  Is mediocrity something that you’ve accepted in your life? If someone described you as ‘unsuccessful,’ would you object to that?

In my opinion, one of the keys to success is identifying yourself as a successful person. In order to build that identity, you must keep the promises that you make to yourself. This concept is so important in building self-esteem, creating good habits, and developing momentum that drives you toward your definition of success.

In my personal opinion, there is no alternative to success. It doesn’t cross my mind and it shouldn’t cross yours either. You WON’T necessarily be rewarded every single time you pay the price. There are people who exercise hard and they don’t lose a pound. There are people who make the extra sales call and don’t see it in their paycheck right away. However, I truly believe the compound effect of paying the price for success will show up in your life at some point or another!

Closing Thoughts

I didn’t intend for this to be a motivational article. These are simply my opinions that I wish people talked about more.  We are constantly shown the ‘finished product,’ but rarely do we see what it took to become successful.  The price of success is not a glorified struggle.  It’s the extra rep you do at the end of every set, the new contact you made this week, or setting your alarm a bit earlier to get more done today. 

I think it’s very important to be mindful of the price that you need to pay for success. Are you spending your time wisely? Are you focusing on critical tasks that propel you in the right direction? Are you proud of what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis, and the trajectory that you see yourself on? As we come up on the halfway-mark of 2020, take some time for reflection and introspection to see if you’re on track.

Be sure to define what you consider ‘successful.’ Work backwards; do what it takes in order to reach your success. Each day, have several critical tasks that bring you closer to your definition of success.

What does success mean to you? There’s no right or wrong answer. We would love to hear from you in a comment below!

Until next time, stay moving!

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