The Key to Becoming More Successful

The Key to Becoming More SuccessfulThe problem with success is that people define it differently. In our blog post, “Is Success Measured by What We Accomplish in Life?” we defined success, not as what we have accomplished in life, but as what we have accomplished compared to what we could have.

Now that we know what success really looks like, it is important that we know how to get there. (For more about getting from where we are to where we ought to be, see “The Paradigm of ‘Is’es and ‘Oughts.’”)

Truly successful men, like Lee Iacocca (Chrysler) or Jack Welch (GE), agree that leadership is always a factor of success. However, the paradox, to which these men also agree, is that success is not about becoming a leader, it is about being a servant, regardless of where we are when we measure our success properly. The reason that their assessment is accurate is that it is based on the Biblical principle of having a servant’s heart.

The key to becoming more successful is found in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 25. In fact, it is stated twice. “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!

The principle is that our job is always to do the few, simple tasks that we have been assigned, and to do them well. Leadership is not something that is gained. It is something that is given. It is not something attained. It is something that is assigned.

In business, it is our job to be a paid servant to help our master succeed. That is our primary purpose – not the advancement of our own career. Advancement is a reward for doing a few things well. A true servant never seeks a promotion. In fact, he is always surprised.


Don’t Throw the Key Away

This is typically the point where careers take a wrong turn. A sense of accomplishment sets in, and it becomes a point of pride. We tend to forget that the advancement was a gift and that our responsibilities have become greater. This is not the time to forget what got us here. Now it is not only serve our master, but it is also to be the servant to those under our authority. To serve our boss, we keep on doing what we have been doing. We do what we are assigned to do. The only difference is that, with more to do, we usually are given additional resources, often human resources.

We become a servant to them by helping them learn how to do their assigned work effectively. The more we help them to be successful, the more we help our boss become more successful. We can never afford, at any level, to stop being a servant or to stop doing our job well. That is the key to becoming more successful without the usual stress, frustration, disappointment or envy.

I referred to Jack Welch earlier. He said, “When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” That’s what being a servant is about: Helping others. The truth is that being a servant is not only the key to greater success, it is also the most pleasant path to it: “Come and share your master’s happiness.”

You entire work experience will become exponentially more satisfying once you pick up the key and use it every day.

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