Life-changing moments: Meet the people writing their own success story

21 October 2019 -

Person looking down on roadWith every stage of life, priorities change. Success isn’t always a suited-and-booted office job – sometimes you have to take a different route

Emily Hill

When it comes to achieving what you want in life, clearly defining your goals is essential. Make those goals SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) and you’ll not just define what success means to you – but come to embody that success yourself.

Renew your goals

Business expert Carl Reader – the founder of the #BeYourOwnBoss movement – started using SMART goal-setting aged 16 when he wanted to become an accountant.

“At the age of 30, I'd achieved everything that I'd set out to do – I'd bought the Range Rover, had the flashy clothes – but felt empty inside,” he recalls. “It was the start of a dark period for me. I didn't realise why until I was cleaning out under the bed and I found a notebook which was full of goals set a few years before. The emptiness was in part due to the fact that I hadn't set any goals after these goals were achieved; one of the big things that I've personally learned is that it is vital to keep on top of renewing goals.”

Reader realised that he loved speaking to business owners but not the other elements of his job. This steered him towards the position he occupies today, lending his expertise to legions of small businesses. “Now, I try to ensure that I'm on top of my own personal planning and goal setting at least once a year, just to make sure that they are renewed, and on the correct path for me,” he says.

Make meaningful targets

Another SMART-inspired success story belongs to business mentor and entrepreneur Joseph James. He started out as a publicist working for global brands before switching career paths to something which was much more meaningful to him. After realising that he found himself having to alter his clients’ viewpoints or perspectives, his interaction with them gradually shifted.

“I found myself moving into more of a coach role for my clients,” he explains. “So I began to research everything I could find about goal setting, and SMART really jumped out at me as being an effective way because it allows us to get clear on what we are working towards, set tangible and measurable targets that are meaningful for us.”

He says that SMART objectives came at an interesting time for him in the middle of his career,because he had a few years of experience under his belt and could use them to figure out what he wanted to achieve in the long-term. “I regularly use SMART when I am coaching my clients on getting clear about their goals,” he says. “I found that a lot of goal-setting techniques can sometimes be too vague. By using the SMART model, I was able to set goals for myself that had a solid frame and I now guide my clients through the same process.”

Pursuing creativity after adversity

For Laurie Nichol, her definition of success changed a year ago, after she survived a helicopter crash. The resulting injuries led her to reevaluate her way of thinking. At first, she returned to work in the corporate world in her previous role – but it wasn’t the same.

“I found myself looking around in meetings thinking, are we all really getting stressed about this?” Laurie says.

She left her job and decided to follow her passions outside of her previous industry, after a eureka moment. “After the crash I struggled to remember stuff like I used to – nothing like crashing to the ground at over 90mph and rolling 5 times to make your brain a bit scrambled. I started designing notebooks that had a design on every page, which helped me remember what I had written and where.”

Since leaving her job, Laurie has set up her own stationery company, CommeGlom; she decided that following other people’s rules just wasn’t going to work, and was hampering her creativity. She now gets to do what she loves every day.

Giving back

For Hannah McCollum, her route to success changed when she started seeing the financial waste of her company.

“I was working in a small family corporate business where I felt that the money being spent was not always justifiable... it didn't make me feel like I was doing 'Good' and with the world going the way it is, I wanted to set something up to make change,” says McCollum.

She reevaluated her personal values and decided to follow her passion, changing gears to be a full-time chef dedicated to creating great dishes from food that would have been wasted otherwise.

“I started ChicP just over 3 years ago, due to the growing need to address food waste. It has been my passion to change people’s attitudes to food preparation, consumption and waste, at the same time striving to encourage people to think differently about the way they eat.”

She now measures her own success by how much she can save, instead of waste, both money and food – part of this is by using surplus British crops, or crops that weren’t selected by supermarkets, as sustainable sources of food.

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Image: Justin Luebke Unsplash 

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