Feb 28, 2018 by - Knolly Williams

Generate Ultimate Success by Knowing Exactly What You Want

Do you want to be successful? 

For almost everyone that I train, the answer to this question is an emphatic “Yes!” So then, what is success? The title of my latest book is Success with Listings, so I think it behooves us to take a good look at exactly what success is. 

Achieving success is 90 percent mental. Your mindset will determine whether or not you win or lose at the game of listings. This post provides you with the foundation for success. Ninety percent of your success will be achieved if you can snap into the concepts in this alone. Once your mind is on board, the rest will simply be learning what to do and what to say. The journey will begin with the renewing of your mind. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes. If you really believe that you can succeed, you can achieve success. 

What is Success? 

Most would say that success is reaching your goals. I would agree with that. And in order to reach your goals, you have to first know what you want. Once you know what you want, you can set your goals and then go about reaching them. Once you reach a goal, you will have succeeded in that endeavor. Therefore, I define success as having what you want, or better yet, getting what you want. In other words, if you have what you want, you are successful. But here is where it gets tricky, because knowing what you want is not as easy as one might think.

Learning to Swim Like a Salmon 

From the time we are born we are influenced by many external and internal influences. These factors act as a raging white water rapid, pulling us in like driftwood, clutching us tightly and causing us to give up the fight and go with the flow. 

Research shows us that the majority of the world live a life that is unfulfilling and outside of their true purpose. Those who truly want to succeed in life have to learn to swim like salmon. 

In the wild, salmon live an average of 8 to 13 years depending on their species. Salmon spend their early lives in rivers, and then swim out to sea where they live their adult lives and gain most of their body mass. When they have matured, they return to the rivers to spawn. 

The return to the river is known as a salmon run, and this once-in-a-lifetime event is the time when salmon, which have migrated from the ocean, swim to the upper reaches of rivers where they spawn on gravel beds. After spawning, all Pacific salmon and most Atlantic salmon die, and the salmon lifecycle starts over again with a new generation. 

On their run, these poor salmon have it rough, but they are absolutely determined to fulfill their life’s mission. Indeed, if you have ever watched a documentary of salmon on one of these runs, you will see that reaching their destination is an extremely difficult feat. It actually looks impossible, but it is what they have to do in order to succeed, and quitting is not an option. 

For example, Sockeye Salmon from central Idaho must travel 1900 miles and climb nearly 7,000 feet to reach their spawning ground. It is a treacherous journey. The salmon have to swim upstream, fighting against the arduous rapids. They navigate waterfalls and rapids by leaping or jumping as high as 12 feet per jump. Along the journey they have to deal with skilled predators such as bears, bald eagles, sea lions and fisherman. Amid the chaos and treachery, they are drawn by an insatiable innate desire to fulfill their life’s mission. They will succeed or die trying. 

If we are to succeed in life, we must learn to swim like salmon. Going against the flow is a constant (and seemingly treacherous) uphill battle. Therefore, many settle for the easy road of mediocrity. They become clones who operate like drones. 

We all have an army of outward and inward forces battling both for and against us. Among other things, our peers, our friends, our family, our beliefs, our culture, our mindset, our faith, our feelings, our upbringing, our society, our leaders, our idols, our heroes and our enemies all shape our reality and create our desires. These internal and external drivers can be so powerful that many never step out of the whirlwind long enough to focus on themselves and discover their true purpose. They never connect with exactly what makes them happy and fulfilled. 

This to me is a tragedy. 

What is your mission in life? Why are you here? The salmon in the sea know exactly what they want, and they risk their lives to go after it. 

What Do You Want?

Finding your life’s passion and purpose is a topic that I love teaching. I really like knowing what makes people tick, so “what do you want?” is a question that I often ask folks in casual conversation. And I generally ask it just that way: “What do you want?” Most people just look at me as if it was a trick question. It’s not. 

The question is simple enough but the answer can be elusive. That’s because most people have never taken the time to really get to know themselves and understand exactly what creates deep, lasting and optimal happiness for them. 

In most goal-setting exercises, the majority of my students begin answering the question of what they want by throwing out a monetary figure. Some will answer the question thusly: “I want to earn $100,000 a year.” Others might say, “I want to list and sell 40 houses a year.” While both of the preceding answers are worthy and attainable objectives, true goal setting begins at a much deeper level. 

Recently I was casually loafing around in my living room with a close friend. He began telling me in great detail about how much he hated his job, how unfair his supervisors were and how little he was paid for the enormous amount of responsibility that he shouldered. Rather than weigh in on his pity party fueled by a victim mindset, I simply popped the question: “What do you want?” Silence. My friend looked back at me with a blank stare. It’s the same stare that I have seen on many occasions when I’ve asked that seemingly simple question. In this instance, my friend was completely taken aback by the question. As I listened to him passionately speak about everything he did not want, I simply had to know, “What do you want?” Although he could speak for several minutes straight about all the things that he did not want in life, this simple question seemed to completely stump him. 

As with any noble mission or grand objective, Success with Listings begins with setting your goals. In order to set accurate goals, you have to know exactly what you want. 

The truth is most people do not know what they want – thus they will never achieve their true desires in life. Knowing what you want is where goal-setting all begins, and it is the first and most logical step toward achieving your goals. 

The Four Groups of People

What does success look like? If I showed you a man with $500 Million in the bank, would you think he was a success? What if I showed you a woman that lived day-to-day with no money in the bank, would you think she was a success? 

I have come to understand that, generally speaking, as it relates to business success, there are four different groups of people: 

  • Group 1. Those who don’t know what they want. 
  • Group 2. Those who know what they want but are afraid to pursue it. 
  • Group 3. Those who think they know what they want but really don’t. 
  • Group 4. Those who really know what they want and pursue it. 

Group 1. Those Who Don’t Know What They Want. 

This group includes the vast army of individuals who have never taken the time to become self-aware. These people often busy themselves with trying to please others or trying to be like others. They don’t really know where they fit in, so they just go with the flow. They fall into the cracks. 

Group 2. Those Who Know What They Want, But Are Afraid to Pursue It. 

In my opinion this group is worse than the first. They actually have (or once had) a dream and a purpose, but alas they are afraid to go after it. It is shameful to squander the one life we are given on the pursuit of anything other than our true purpose. 

Group 3. Those Who Think They Know What They Want, But Really Don’t. 

This group starts out delusional and ends up disillusioned. Yet because they do have goals and aspirations, they can oftentimes look extremely successful on the outside. They pursue a career that is not a good fit for them in exchange for fortune, fame, to please another, or for some equally worthless reason. In their life they can have all the stuff (castles and toys) and lots of fluff (accolades and titles), but no substance. On the outside they may look like a wild success while they are truly miserable failures because they are a train that is off track. They are a big beautiful ship navigating the wrong seas and charting the wrong course. 

Group 4. Those Who Really Know What They Want and Pursue It. 

These are the happy ones. On the outside they can look like a wild success, a miserable failure, or anywhere betwixt the two. Nevertheless, on the inside they are full and fulfilled. This group represents those who are truly successful. 

Jesus teaches us that it is impossible to spot who is truly successful by looking merely at the outward appearance. In Mark 10:17-27, we read the story of the rich young ruler. This man had great wealth, yet he was unfulfilled. He did not have the one thing in life he truly wanted, eternal life. Remarkably, this man intrinsically understood that Jesus would know how he could get what he so desperately wanted. Sure enough, Jesus did know the answer and he shared with the man what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus basically told the man that if he truly wanted to be successful, he needed to walk away from all the stuff that was standing in the way of his success, and follow Him. The Bible records that the man went away sorrowful. He was not willing to follow the path of true happiness. Essentially this young man had everything that life had to offer, but he did not have the one thing that he actually wanted. And since success is having what you want, he was essentially a miserable failure. 

It’s important to understand that, for those of us in Group 4, success looks different for each one, because what we want will be unique to us. Nevertheless, we will be called to forsake the path we are on if it is not leading us where we want to be. You can be a billionaire and be successful and you can live like Mother Teresa (who took a vow of poverty) and be a success.  

Jesus himself was definitely in Group 4. He knew what his purpose and passion was, and he fulfilled it. 

Like many of his peers, my good friend fell into Group 1. At 38 years of age, he still did not know what he wanted and almost everything in his life represented what he knew he did not want. 

Which group do you currently see yourself in?

A recent State of the American Workplace study (polled by Gallup with over 150,000 people surveyed) found that more than 70 percent of workers either dislike or absolutely hate their jobs. 7 out of 10! My friend was definitely in this category and much closer to the hate side of the scale. I shared with him that I absolutely love what I do, and I always have done what I love. I then shared with him that my biggest struggle in life is tearing away from my “work” and that when I am not working, I am usually either dreaming about work or wishing that I was working. My friend looked at me as if I were an alien from a foreign world. “Don’t get me wrong,” I confessed, “I know that this too can be unhealthy.” In my case it just so happens that my purpose and my mission in life is channeled through my work. In other words, my work is a conduit for my purpose. But I also understand that there are other meaningful pursuits in life. 

To help keep me balanced (or counterbalanced), I have to focus on all of the goal categories in my life (spiritual, personal, career and material). As they say, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” But when your work is your play, the line of demarcation can become hazy. 

Becoming a Citizen of the Fourth Group 

I believe that every person can and should be part of the fourth group. 

As for me, I am a teacher and an inventor. Teaching and creating are my passion, with the overlying goal of making a connection with someone. As a teacher, I love to teach, train, write, speak and perform, with the ultimate goal of connecting with others. Nothing brings me greater joy than to see the positive impact I am having on someone else’s life. As an inventor, I love to think, create and develop products and systems. In this capacity, nothing brings me greater joy than to see my inventions come to life and better the lives of those they touch. 

I have also learned that in order to put out you’ve got to put in. What I mean is that your input fuels your output. Your input is learning coupled with practice, and your output is your passion. I love to learn and I am a lifelong learner, because learning provides the data and raw materials that fuel my passion. As a learner, I love to read, watch and discover. 

What is your passion? What is your purpose? What do you want? 

To get to the heart of what you really want, consider these questions: 

  • If you could do or be anything in the world, what would you do or be? 
  • What would you do for free (without pay)? 
  • If you had $10 Million in the bank and didn’t have to work, what would you do? 

Why Do I Want That?

Once you know exactly what you want, ask yourself this important follow-up question: “Why do I want that?” So again, the two-part question is “what do I want?” and “why do I want that?” Asking why helps you to continue the self-discovery journey and causes you to scrutinize your goals to see if they are in alignment with what you really want. Try to dig deep, getting to the true bottom of why you want what you say you want. Asking the why will get to the heart of what really makes you tick. It’s all about becoming self-aware and understanding your passion. 

Here is a link to my YouTube Video on “Business Success: The Four Groups of People” Enjoy!  

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