The One Difference Between Success and Failure

The One Difference Between Success and Failure

If someone came up and asked you, what’s the difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful one, what would you say?

I’ve talked about this before, but in my line of work, I hear a lot of excuses.

Excuses as to why a certain organization “can’t” implement person-centered care, why they “can’t” overhaul certain rules, why they “can’t” give their staff more autonomy and authority.

And, I’ve come to realize, it doesn’t actually matter what the details are.

It doesn’t matter what the budget constraint is, or what the management problem is, or what the bureaucracy looks like—because there are other people, other homes, other communities facing the exact same realities that get it done.

So, what is the difference?

no-excuses-1The difference between success and failure

I saw this video from Brendan Burchard that really spoke to me. ( I’m not really a big fan of his, but it’s that good). In it, he says that there’s one difference between people who are successful at anything—life, work, business—and people who are unsuccessful.

People who are successful make it their job to bridge the gap between what they have and what they need to succeed.

They consider it their responsibility to figure it out.

What that really means is that when faced with a problem, some people will get stuck in the “can’t” thinking, and some people will just naturally say, “how do we fix that?” instead.

The neat part about this is that once you realize that’s the only difference—that success mindset—you can change the way you think about any topic and naturally experience more success.

Yes, it really is that simple!

Change your mindset, change your outcomes

In his video, Burchard points out that most excuses fall into three main categories, but that with a simple change of mindset, we can change the outcome.

  1.   “I can’t do that because I don’t have _____________ resource.”Unsuccessful people will get stuck right there.  They will say, I don’t have a budget to educate my staff on person-centered care. The successful person will say, I don’t have the budget, so I’m going to make it my job to find the budget or find ways to do the training with the budget we have. (Hello grants!)
  2. “I can’t do that because I don’t know how to ________________.”Again, the unsuccessful person will get stuck.  I don’t know how to give my staff more autonomy without everything devolving into chaos.  The successful person will say, since I don’t know how to do that, it’s my job to go and learn how.
  3.   “I can’t do that because we’re not like that.”The unsuccessful person will hide behind a corporate culture, their location, the people they serve, and say, person-centered care is OK for some places, but we’re just not like that.  The successful person will say, we’re not like that yet, but I’m going to make it my job to figure out how to get us there.

All of these three scenarios of success rely on one very important factor: the successful person makes it a priority to bridge that gap between what they have or know or are and what they need to succeed—and then makes it happen.

They schedule the budget meeting. They put training on their agenda. They go out and find books and conferences and resources like me to help them make the changes they want to see.

The unsuccessful person just stops.

And that’s really the only difference. 

Isn’t that amazing and empowering? Every time there’s a challenge or a problem facing us, WE make the choice whether or not to succeed. 

It’s also a little scary isn’t it? 

Are we going to succeed every time?  Maybe not.

But we are guaranteed to fail when we get stuck and don’t try.


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