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The Unsexy Truth About Success

The truth about success is that it’s not sexy. That’s because it’s not about the arrival. Success is about the choices you make each and every moment.

Recently I posted a video on my Instagram that got lots of comments.

It’s an iPhone video of me doing pull-ups.

And it’s not what you’d expect.

That’s because when I hit my goal to do 10 pulls ups last year, there was no high-fiving or head-butting. I shared it with hardly anyone.

Still, it was one of my proudest moments of the year.

Know why?

Because after decades of hitting big goals and small, I’ve learned that success isn’t about the cool sexy high-five-y stuff.

It’s about those hundreds of moments when we just want to say, “Screw it” but give it one more shot.

Like when my Uplevel Academy client Wendy sat down with a prospect this week and actually (with trepidation) closed a sale for the highest amount she’s ever charged.

Or another client who told me she cried while she worked on her business’s core messages because she was finally giving attention to something she had, up til now, avoided out of fear.

Or the time there was only one person in the audience and I played my music anyway.

Success is about the uneventful little choice we make in the moment. Every moment.

It’s typical (and tempting) to make success about the sexiness. About the “there” we arrive at.

“130 pounds!”

“Best-selling author!”

“Billboard Hit!”

“A million bucks!”

“NCAA Champions!”

But the truth about success is that it’s not sexy. That’s because it’s not about the arrival.

Success is about the choices you make each and every moment.

Not each and every day.

Each and every moment.

  • Push the weights up three more times when you’d rather be in bed.
  • Write the next paragraph when the rest of the family is in the living room laughing at Netflix.
  • Sit with your guitar and a lyric idea when you have no idea of the outcome.
  • Market consistently when you’d just as soon go back to your job.
  • Practice shooting free throws a hundred times each afternoon for 4 years.

Years ago, I mentored a woman who had big dreams. She’d mention a new idea on a call, and together we’d break it down into small chunks and do-able activities to help her make it real.

But after a week, she’d get bored. Frustrated. She hated just sitting there writing. And research wasn’t nearly as cool as the fame and glory she fantasized about.

She wanted to be THERE. To arrive in that sexy moment of success that is guaranteed and sparkly. So, she did what most people do when they’re confronted with their illusion of what success should feel like.

She gave up.

She went back to her self-created worldview that “none of this stuff works for her.”

I was sad for her.

Not because I knew she could succeed if she put her mind to it.

And not because of some grandiose outcome she’d never have.

But because she’d miss out on the splendid truth of success.

The miraculous, amazing, uncanny, unsexy truth of it.

When I am succeeding, there’s no one clapping.

When I am succeeding, there are no articles being written about me.

When I am succeeding, it is just me and my relationship to the moment.

It’s not news-worthy. In fact, from the outside, it looks downright boring. But on the inside, there’s an all-out ticker-tape parade in the streets of my head.

Because I am choosing to do what matters to me.

Because I am not listening to the gangs of critical voices that used to run my entire day.

Because I am willing to sit there in spite of not knowing the outcome.

This is the miracle of success. This seemingly boring choice in this seemingly not-so-sexy moment.

So here’s a question:

What boring unsexy choices will you make today?

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