How to Achieve Lasting Success

3 keys to achieving lasting success

How to Achieve Lasting Success

Every leader I know wants to be successful and leave behind a legacy. However, not all successes are created equally. Some successes quickly vanish away, others stick around for a while then slowly fade away, and other last long after you are gone. There are certain things that will increase the chances of achieving lasting success. They include character, competence, and drive. Let’s discuss each of them.

Character

Character greatly determines the level of success you will obtain. Strong character leads you forward while weak character only hurts you in the end. Retired general Norman Schwarzkopf stated, “Ninety-nine percent of leadership failures are failures of character.” This is also true with any other failure. Lasting success only happens when you are a person of character.

One of the main ways to ensure that you are being a person of character is to focus inwardly. The person you are on the inside will greatly impact who you are and what you do on the outside. Start to reflect and manage yourself: your attitude, actions, mood, emotions, thoughts, and intentions to make sure they are leading you in the direction you want to go. Make sure those areas are positioning you to be a person of good character. Let your inward work show brightly on the outside.

Competence 

Successful leaders are highly competent. Competence is having the knowledge, experience, and skills to excel in your role and consistently deliver superb results. Successful business has competent people scattered throughout the different levels of the business: From the executive suites to the front lines. Competence takes you toward success.

For you and me, this means we should sharpen our skills. Think about if you were to cut down a large tree and had two axes to choose from. One of the axes was sharp and the other was dull, which axe would you chose? Of course, you would pick the sharp axe.

When you sharpen your skills through personal growth content you will remain sharp and highly skilled. You are more likely to achieve lasting success faster than those who are attempting to cut down a tree with a dull axe. Take time to daily sharpen the skills that will allow you to be successful.

Drive

The leaders who achieve lasting success have a strong drive. They keep pushing forward and have a never give up attitude. The truth about lasting success is that it takes longer than expected and requires a lot of hard work. Drive causes you to persevere toward the success you desire. It takes you through the good and bad times.

Whenever a driven leader has a failure or makes a mistake, they learn from it and keep moving forward. To discover a strong enough drive consider finding and focusing on your life purpose, passions, and areas of strengths. Those areas will bring inspiration and create endurance.

Questions: How have you applied these three areas into your leadership? What have been the results?

Subscribe to Dan Black on Leadership to receive fresh leadership content delivered to you inbox. PLUS two free quote books. All you need to do is to enter your email in the box below then push “Subscribe”:

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Conor

    Great article Dan! The third point about “strong drive” really resonated with me. I completely relate to this. Intrinsic motivation driven by self-belief are at the heart of achievement and effective leadership.

    • Thank you Conor! It’s key. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • DS

    When I think of drive – it typically revolves around questions like – what is it that makes you wake up in the morning? What makes you finish a task that’s neither fun, nor your favorite, but needed? What is it about who you are and what you’re trying to achieve that makes you go out and give your best?

    • Those are good questions and apart of the drive element. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  • Excellent ideas, Dan. There is a huge literature about why someone follows a leader. The success of a leader though measured by the lives he/she influences and the vision he/she try to achieve. And of course every trait you list (character, competence and drive) are tremendously important for the success of a leader.

    Among your list, though Dan, I defiantly would add 2 more traits/features: grit and personality!

    The last endurance and commitment over a long period of time (grit) provides a raw model for people to follow, while personality (which is not to be confused for character), is provide the uniqueness of each ones personality, i.e. his or her distinctive style.

    I believe a leader should combine all these traits/qualities and moreover to know how to balance them and align them towards his/her vision.

    • Thank you Takis! Great additions, I totally agree with you. Grit and personality are huge when it comes to achieving lasting success. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  • Melody

    I’m not sure I totally agree with competence. Many people get by because they know someone or they are really good at BSing. Sometimes people can skate by and get the position you deserve when they lack the same competence as you.

    • I see what you are saying. But, often BSing can get you into the position but it won’t allow you to be successful or remain in the position if the competence is not their. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.