Strategies: Success is About Showing Up


One thing Ive learned in my 62 years is that success never seeks you out. Success is about as indifferent and unemotional as it gets. It doesnt give a hoot about your dreams and vision of what success means to you. It doesnt care if youre wildly successful today and lose it all tomorrow. Success is never in a rush. Success is just this extraordinary state that allows people, companies and organizations to bask in its glow and glory for as long or as little as they choose. Theres only one rule: Show up and play to win. Otherwise, get out of the way.

Ive been teaching, writing and coaching business and leadership for 40 years. Ive had my share of successes and failures, but I keep showing up and I keep trying to get better. When I look at my calendar and see keynotes, classes and consulting dates, I know that each and every one of them happen because of showing up and working hard. Speaker inquiries and coaching requests dont happen by sitting around and hoping the phone rings.

There are leaders out there that believe the easy button really works. It doesnt. Its a joke. They think problems will fix themselves. They dont. They get worse. They think sales will increase because they turn the lights on every day or hire some overpriced Cracker Jack performer. They wont. They think profit will appear without a financial plan and accountability. It wont.

There are employees that believe showing up is enough, that somehow its your responsibility to make them successful. Success is not an entitlement. Showing up to collect a paycheck with the least amount of effort is the kind of thinking and behavior you want your competition to be afflicted with, not your company. So heres a wake up call for you and your entitlement-thinking employees, purge your company and its culture of it now. Success demands personal ownership. Success is fueled by passion and the willingness to win against all odds individually and as a team.

Im writing this to get you fired up to the point where you can look objectively at how you are showing up and fighting to succeed as a leader. Im trying to get you to look directly at the mediocrity that exists in your company. I want you to own your role in allowing mediocrity to settle in and tell me what youre going to do about it. I want you to isolate those I just want my paycheck employees and hit them with my favorite employee wake up line, Im fighting harder to protect your paycheck than you are, and Im getting tired. I bet the real players on your team would step up and fill in for every paycheck collector you give a career opportunity to, and the company wont skip a beat.

Going no compromise is a requirement for success in todays crazy economic times. Its what you and your company are really all about but for some reason, resist or fear playing the business game at that level where extraordinary success occurs. Maybe its time to take back real control of your company. Maybe its time to revisit and rethink what success really means to you and get back in the game, not merely show up. Maybe its your time to go after the success youve been waiting for. Success is waiting for someone and some company. Crank up your entire companys sense of urgency to ten and go for it. No compromise.

Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching company specializing in the professional beauty industry. Neil is a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker, an award-winning author and the creator of the Team-Based Pay System. Neil is the author of Fast Forward, the definitive business resource book for salons and spas, and No-Compromise Leadership, winner of the 2010 IPPY Award for Business. Since 1993, Strategies has been transforming salon and spa businesses into dynamic, profitable, and sustainable team-based cultures. For more information on Neil and Strategies, go to