Your Success Story: Are You Writing it Wrong?

Your past success might be holding you back.

When something is working, it can be hard to think critically and accept that you will need to change and grow in order to continue thriving.

For example, What do these three businesses have in common?

  1. Blackberry
  2. Circuit City
  3. Hollywood Video

All 3 seemed too big to fail, but died because they didn’t adapt with the times. 

A productive way to use past success is to help reinforce confidence. But spending too much time focusing on the past will only lead to losing your edge. 

Ask yourself this question: What have you done lately?

🕶 Your success today will become irrelevant unless you continue looking for ways to grow.

Imagine if Oprah stopped with her success as a TV show and never leveraged her platform to expand her media empire.

Indra Nooyi didn’t settle for success as CFO for Pepsi, she continued innovating and inspiring change–eventually becoming the CEO. Bill Gates didn’t stop with MS Dos and Thomas Edison didn’t stop with the Phonograph.

They all took the time to be intentional about using the strengths they were given to continue getting better.

🕶 Consistent progress is the only path to your potential.

Keep going. 

3 Steps to Investing in Your Growth

With Q3 starting, now is a great time to take an honest look in the mirror.

  • Where are you now? 
  • Where were you at the start of the year? 
  • Are you happy with the direction you are headed?

Notice I emphasized the word “Direction”. Taking time to recognize steps taken in the right direction can help you, and your team, continue building momentum–even when you aren’t satisfied with the current results. 

🕶 Remember: You can’t change where you’ve been, but you can always change where you are going. 

These 3 steps will help you understand how to correct your course when you get off track.

1. 360 Surveys

I can see a few of you rolling your eyes as I recommend 360 Surveys, so let me explain.

Surveys are not a great way to get feedback, but they can be an effective tool to track progress. (To get feedback you will need to actually listen to your team.)

Quarterly 360 Surveys are a great tool to use to help you measure progress for things that aren’t easily available on a scorecard. 

For example: 

  • Strategic Thinking
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Employee Development
  • Performance Management

You can pay for one, or you can ask ChatGPT to make one for you and then plug the questions into a Google Form.

Use this prompt as a starting point:

“In your role as (Specify Role) at (Provide Company Description), you are tasked with designing a survey that will be dispatched to (Characterize your Audience). The main objective of the survey is to assess (Specify what you aim to measure). Could you generate a list of 15 thought-provoking survey questions? Also, please suggest a suitable rating scale for respondents to use when answering each question.”

🕶The more specific you are filling in the blanks, the happier you will be with the results from ChatGPT.

2. Work with a coach

Coaches will give you the feedback you need to hear when your team is unwilling to share it with you.

If you are not where you want to be, having someone willing to share an unbiased perspective might be exactly what you need to get things turned around. 

A good coach can help you:

  • Resolve conflict
  • Navigate change
  • See how you are getting in your own way
  • Understand how to communicate your ideas more effectively

3. Leverage your strengths

I’m a huge fan of Gallup’s StrengthsFinder–many of you already know this about me. It will help you develop vocabulary to better understand your own strengths AND the strengths of your team. 

A free alternative I’ve heard about is the High5 Strengths test

A great activity to help you better understand how to use your strengths is Gallup’s Name It, Claim It, Aim It. 

Here is breakdown of each step:

Name It!

  • Read your strengths report and highlight or underline the words or phrases that best describe you.
  • The goal here is to understand each strength at a deeper level.

Claim It!

  • Which of your five Signature Themes do you really want to own in the second half of the year?
  • How does this theme help you to be successful as a leader?

Aim It!

  • How could you use this Signature Theme more intentionally?
  • Finish this sentence, “Starting tomorrow, I will use my talents in this theme by:”

Simple and effective. I’d love to see your results if you are comfortable sharing.

My top 5 strengths are Futuristic, Positivity, Activator, Ideation, and Individualization. 

Do we have any in common?

Before I Go

Creating a culture of progress and development starts with you finding ways to invest in yourself.

And by doing so you create a resilient culture where people are willing to try new things, fail fast, learn and grow. 

You need to:

  • Start with gaining self-awareness. 
  • Create a plan.
  • And put in the effort needed to get out of your comfort zone. 

Treat every loss like a lesson and keep going.

Quick update from me:

Leader’s Lens in Q3 is all about developing your team and your brand as a leader. I can’t wait.

Jacob Espinoza is a leadership coach in Salem, Oregon. For more information visit

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