Deb Sofield

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A Place Called Success

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The road to success is not straight. There is a curve called Failure, a loop called Confusion, speed bumps called Friends, red lights called Enemies and caution lights called Family. You will have flat tires called Jobs, but if you have a spare called Determination, an engine called Perseverance, and a driver called Willpower you will make it to a place called Success.

I came across this quote awhile back and have wanted to use it for some time, but the time never seemed right, until now…because when you think about your ability to draw upon your determination, your perseverance and your will power, all of these or any one of these three personality traits will be the key to your success.

I know I talk a lot about finding success in your life, and the reason I do that is because, frankly, I don’t see or hear that in today’s news or from anyone on TV or most radio stations, be it talk, music or a religious station. The idea of being inspired isn’t so popular nowadays because, just talking about inspiration and not putting a plan of action in place, well, it is just talk, and we all know how far that gets you. And if you don’t know, the answer is nowhere.

There was a time when the chatter of inspiration was all the rage, but with anything that is not based on personal self-determination, perseverance or will power, success will be hard to find. But never fear, there is a way through, and that way is by doing the one thing most of us avoid, and that is work—yes, hard work.

I was having lunch with a friend the other day, and in the course of our conversation he told me about how he did all these good deeds for others and spent hours helping many worthy non-profit groups, and in the end no one offered him a job and he barely got a thank you for his hours of service. So, now, what should he do? Well, I suggested that first he stop giving away all of his time without pay, and, second–and I hated to say it–he’s got to go back to work…again.

Why? Because the road to success is not straight; there is a curve called Failure, a loop called Confusion, speed bumps called Friends, red lights called Enemies, caution lights called Family and you will have flat tires called Jobs, so you have find within yourself the belief that you can continue to move forward, no matter how tired, broken or lonely you are.

Most of us understood growing up that success was something you found along the way while doing your work. What we didn’t count on, was the curve called Failure. Our parents might have warned us that we might fail, but for most of us that conversation never took place, because they wanted more for us than they had, and they were taught not to talk about failure, but to be positive and not burden their kids with the hardships of life. Bless the Baby Boomers who really tried to see the glass half full. I, for one, appreciate that.

Growing up, I never had to deal with the idea of a loop called Confusion. I guess being the youngest, and having all brothers who lived life in black and white, left little room for misunderstandings at my house. I knew at a young age that going in circles was not a great way to live my life, so I was taught to make a decision and stick with it (unless it was the wrong decision, then make a change and stick with that), unlike many of my peers who would spin on small issues that made them go in circles. Whether it was a boyfriend, or a school or a family issue, they would get all worked up and–in my opinion–be unreasonable in their emotions, allowing their current emotional state to be their guide, which as you can well imagine didn’t serve them well.

The problem with a loop called Confusion is, it is hard to know how to exit the loop and set your course. If you’re on the loop of Confusion now, let me encourage you to 1. Slow down so you can exit, 2. Take the exit, 3. Pull over and stop and think about the direction you really want to go, and 4. Set your GPS towards your new location. Don’t circle in confusion anymore wasting your time and energy.

In today’s quote we are told that in life you will have speed bumps called Friends. Even in the best of times, good friends will go missing, which is odd, since I expect them to go packing when things get hard, but not so much when things are good. When friends don’t encourage you, or are not fully happy for your success or do not reach out occasionally to make sure you’re okay, you have choices. You can find new friends who will have your back, or you can reach out to your friends to re-engage. You make the choice to think of them as Speed Bumps or a Freeway; think long and hard about those who slow you down to a stop in your life, or those friends who encourage you to speed up and keep going.

Now what most of us learned at a young age was, that, no matter how hard you tried, you would occasionally come across someone who would end up being an enemy. When you’re a kid, the enemy is the other sports team or rival high school or even the school bully, but, as we progress in life, many have come to learn that some people are hell-bent on being an enemy, and there is nothing you can do about it but avoid them at all cost. I’ve been in politics a long time, and I have a few folks who are not my friends, and I have watched them do whatever they could do to cause me harm…and they did. Sometimes I could block their hateful actions and sometimes I could not, because they would do it under the guise of inclusion, or whatever the politically correct term was in vogue at the time. Yes, they caused great harm, and, yes they knew what they were doing, but sadly they didn’t care. So I live by the words of the great Winston Churchill who said,“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”So, for the record, stay away from hateful people–let them be someone else’s enemy.

Now I need to tread lightly, as I talk about caution lights called Family. Ah, family–the people who are supposed to have your back, the tribe you’re a part of, the people you look like and, yet, sometimes, they can be the worst people you’ll ever associate with. If I had a nickel for every story I hear about how family members will steal, lie and cheat other family members over money, property or the family dishes, silver and jewelry; how family members will say the meanest things and act like they’re doing it for your good (for the record, it’s not good, so don’t listen to them–they’re psycho). They say you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family, and while that is true, you don’t have to be bound to your tribe, if they are not positive or healthy or loving. There is no law that says you have to put up with meanness – you can love from a distance. You can send good wishes from another state. Friend, you need to protect yourself, so use caution even with family.

Let’s talk about your job. Is it a Flat Tire? Are you dying on the vine? Is it drudgery? Are you bored? Only you can make that change. There is nothing worse than having to go to work and not liking what you do. Let me ask, should you start looking, networking and talking to those in the fields of where your interests lie? If you feel like your job is a Flat Tire, I’d think about making a change or taking a chance. I got the best email the other day from a great young lady I coached in church basketball. She said,

Hi Deb. I wanted to personally invite you to the ribbon cutting ceremony of my new business, in Greenville, SC, on Main St. I have been listening to your podcasts every Tuesday (she gets my newsletter with the podcast link) and you have truly inspired me to live my best life ever.  I had been contemplating making a move back to the art world, but I didn’t know exactly what that was going to look like. I knew that I would be successful at anything I did that I was passionate about, but I was at the point where I needed to take action on it and not just talk about it. And then one day there was a perfect opportunity available to me, and I took it!  I am so excited that every day I get to surround myself with art, talk about art, and be my own boss!  If it wasn’t for listening to your show, I might not have been in the right place to jump on this opportunity. Come by the gallery so I can give you a tour and personally thank you for helping me with my journey.

Wow! You’ve got to know how that makes me feel–not only because I am so proud of Lindsay, but also because she fully understands the thought for today, that the road to success is not straight. There will be failure, confusion, speed bumps, red lights, and caution lights—ah, but, friends–she had the courage to change her flat tire, because she had a spare called Determination, an engine called Perseverance, a driver called Willpower and there is no doubt she will make it to a place called Success, and, friends, you can, too…and that’s my hope and prayer for you.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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