Starting The New Year Right: Why Nothing Succeeds Like Success

Happy New Year to all of you!  Gong Xi Fa Cai… (I’m told that this a southern Chinese greeting that means, “Congratulations on the New Year, may you be prosperous.”)

Wish for Success: Chinese Red Envelopes, Good Fortune in the New Year

Red Envelopes, Good Fortune in the New Year

Thanking for joining the conversation again in this brand new year. I’m looking forward to getting to know you, and hoping you’re interested in sharing with me too.

As we start 2014, I wanted to start the new year right,  by focusing up.

Last night Joe & I attended a New Year’s Eve party at the home of some longtime friends. As the hour neared, our hosts asked everyone to answer this question:

“What was the best piece of advice you received in the past and how will that help you succeed in the coming year?”

I thought back over 2013 and how it had treated everyone around here like a bad roller coaster at a carnival– It looked good from the outset but it jerked along, never gaining enough speed to be fun, and just enough to keep you from getting off midway through!

So what kind of advice had people given last year that could apply to this coming year, full of promises for “hope and change” (a big phrase used often here in Washington DC to varying degrees of success, depending on whom you’re talking with)?

The advice I came up with was something that a friend had reminded me of, that old Alexander Dumas quote, “Nothing succeeds like success.”

(I was being challenged to reinvent myself yet again to keep up with the ever-changing job market, and wondering how many times we’d have to go through this.)

And how will that help me succeed this year? That one wasn’t such a quick answer- and we only had a few moments to go before the clock (and the Ball in Times Square) put paid to 2013.

Here’s what I came up with- give me your thoughts on what else goes with this:

  1. Take the good and carry it with you in 2014. Spend time on what matters: concentrate on what worked, not on why things didn’t.
  2. Rinse and Repeat.  Pick through the pieces of what happened before; find the best things you did, think about why those things worked. Then follow the shampoo instructions, “rinse and repeat.”
  3. Don’t be afraid of success. If you were successful in the past, as an expat, a repat, or a stay-pat, don’t compare this year to anything that came before. Don’t let your past high points define your limits for this new year. If you weren’t as successful as you wanted to be, don’t let that limit you this year.

Here’s a thought from an article that I thought offered an interesting perspective:

“…it is important for organisations and individuals to realise that success has no rules and, therefore, no formula.

Failure, on the other hand, has a certain recipe. In fact, failure is more rational than success. A careful analysis of failure will allow us to pinpoint and attribute reasons.

Whereas success stories are difficult to replicate, failure can and is easily repeated.

Hmmm… Now consider this:

Thomas Edison is remembered for saying he didn’t view his experience as 1,000 failures,

 “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” a reporter asked. “I didn’t fail 1,000 times,” Edison responded. “The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.

“Unlike Edison, many of us avoid the prospect of failure. In fact, we’re so focused on not failing that we don’t aim for success, settling instead for a life of mediocrity. When we do make missteps, we gloss over them, selectively editing out the miscalculations or mistakes in our life’s résumé.”

I hope that this year allows us all to focus UP- to aim for success, whatever that means to you.

So… What else would you add to this list? How do you take advice and apply it to your life? I’d love to start the new year with a conversation full of good advice. So let’s hear it, what else?


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