“I’m sitting in church last Sunday when the Pastor asked this piercing question, ‘If you had to list the five people you thought are the most successful—who would they be?’”—Mark Liston
So I’ll ask you the same, who are your five?
First, let’s define “success.” Does it mean successful financially? Spiritually? Family-wise? Politically? Here is where you need to better define what success means to you.
For instance, in the U.S. the wealthiest are Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison, heirs of the Walmart fortune, and the Koch brothers. Does that define success for you?
In 2008 the U.S. News and World Report cited Lance Armstrong as one of American’s best leaders. How did that work out?
Business Insider listed, in their opinion, the most powerful people in politics. Among them were Bill Clinton, Chris Christie, Warren Buffet, Michelle Obama, Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh. I’m not sure about you but I don’t think I would personally define “success” by some of the people on this list!
In 2013 Forbes proclaimed the most successful actor was Robert Downey Jr. Let’s stop there. I agree he is a fabulous actor. But has dealt with drug issues, he says, since the age of eight. Is that success to you?
Golf success?—Tiger Woods. It has been five years since he won a major. I think many of us remember when some of the problems really started, even though he has faced health issues for some time. Does he define success to you?
Lincoln? My favorite president ever. Maybe because I’m from Illinois—a state called “Land of Lincoln”—even on the license plates. He had an unhappy marriage with a woman who was “certifiable.” He also died thinking his Gettysburg Address was a failure.
Baseball—the best hitter of all time (base hits) is Pete Rose. Best home run hitter of all time is Barry Bonds. Neither are in the Hall of Fame. Does that mean they were not successful?
Are you seeing how difficult this can be? It all comes down to your view of success. Maybe success looks like your parents because of the way they raised you and you love them. I know my dad makes my list even though he never made much money in his life. Yet, I view him as very successful just based on who he was and how he was.
If you have children, how do they see you? If you have employees, what are their thoughts about you not only as a Leader, but also as a successful person?
Success to me comes in all sorts of costumes. My challenge is to simply define what true success means to me and then to try and follow my heart.
Walter Bond at www.walterbond.com says you should surround yourself with successful people because you will rise (or fall) to the level of the five people you hang out with the most.
Think about it the next few days. Who are your five? Better yet, how do you define what those five are all about? This will give you a better indication of what you are all about. You might surprise yourself. You might just change your entire focus of what type of a Leader you really need to be.