The Personality of Success

“There is more than one way to skin a cat” I used to hear old folks say. While I have never even considered skinning a cat I would assume that the saying is mostly true. The bottom line is there is more than one solution to any problem and I frankly fear anyone who loudly proclaims that his or her way is the only way especially when it comes to the art of success.

In my obsession with success I have read more business books than I can count and yes some themes emerge as clues to success, like reading every day, but what always strikes me as amazing is how “successful” people gained the title in so many different ways.

I was reading a restaurant management book that was basically a collection of interviews from very well known restaurateurs and the difference in all of these people was astounding to me.

In one of the chapters the restaurant owner warned heavily against ever owning more that one restaurant. He told a harrowing tale of how he had almost been bankrupt because he opened a second location but he sold it and was now known across the nation in his one location that had great food and a beer brewery.

The very next chapter was about an owner who had opened literally dozens of restaurants creating a chain that he had sold for millions of dollars only to start over in opening more restaurants. He was adamant that you could not achieve success by opening just one location and that it would never make you happy and fulfilled.

After reading dozens of success stories what is the lesson to be learned from such different paths to success? Could both owners be right in what they said?

I really believe the greatest success begins with understanding who we really are. Both of the owners found what success was for them. They understood what it took to make them successful. There is no right or wrong way to do almost anything.

If you have a 9 to 5 job and you go fishing every weekend and you are happy. Congratulations. You freaking won! If you operate a fortune 500 company and make billions but are unhappy you lost. It really is that simple.

What makes me happy will more than likely make you miserable. People tell me all the time that I work to much or that I will have burnout. I know what they really mean is they would have burnout. All of us are different and we must find our own path. Most of all we should not judge those who measure success in different ways than we do.

Some of us have found the success that someone else told us would make us happy only to be miserable. It is possible that your blueprint for life is skewed to some other persons definition of success. Now is a good time to start finding out what really matters to you. The real key to success is finding your personality.

Try this, get a sheet of paper and write out all of the things in life you want just as fast as you can. Do not think this out, just write. Give yourself about 60 seconds. Write whatever pops in your head. Do this every day this week. At the end of the week look at all your papers and see what keeps popping up. You might be surprised at what really matters.

Stafford Shurden is a marketing and business coach and has been in business for himself for 20 years. He also owns 1933 Restaurant, Shurden Farms, and Stafford Shurden Coaching and is an elected Justice Court Judge.  You can email Stafford at 


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