Steve Gamlin On How We Need To Redefine Success
Make sure your goals are ‘your’ goals. As creator of the Vision Board Mastery learning program, I can’t tell you how many times people have arrived at a live event, or begun the training, with pictures already in-hand…’thinking’ they knew what they wanted before I began sharing the first assessment or deep-diving exercise. I always laugh when I recall the sound of paper crumbling and a hushed: “Oh crap!” as an attendee realized they had jumped the gun on assuming what success was for them, before doing the immersive work with me.
Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.
As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Steve Gamlin.
During his teen years, Steve was given the advice that so many have heard for generations: “Get a good education, then a good job, with a good company, with good benefits and retire with a good pension”. That did not represent ‘success’ to Steve, and he has spent much of his life since then re-tooling it to fit his definition. Now in his early 50s, having built a career (and a life) that he loves, he considers himself ‘successful’.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
At age 35, during a particularly low time (personally and professionally), I traded my DJ services for a solo jump at a local skydiving facility. On the day of my scheduled exit from the plane, 5 hoursof instruction was geared toward hammering one very important phrase into my head: “If something happens, you will know what to do!”
They were right. Dove out of the plane at 13,500 feet…then proceeded to pull the chute 1000 feet lower than advised (oops), had to untangle my lines (which prevented me from steering, until I fixed them) and the radio which allowed my ground crew to guide me…was not working (mostly because I failed to turn it on. They were right though. I did know what to do…and am still here to tell the tale. These days, I do my best to surround myself with the best people, and knowledge, so that whatever happens, I will know what to do (or who to consult).
We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?
In my 30+ year Personal Development journey, I was blinded in the early days (like so many others) by the mindset that success was measured by the mansions, yachts, private jets and Lamborghinis which the (cough cough) ‘gurus’ told us were the actual gauge.
How has your definition of success changed?
One thing I have realized is that success (in my opinion) has much more to do with ‘who I am becoming’ than what I have accumulated or a title I have achieved. I know some people claim that, with material wealth, they can ‘arrive at their problems in style’. Personally, I’d rather create a life that makes me happy. Do I enjoy having nice things? Sure…as long as I am content and excited working for them, attaining them and then enjoying them. Too many people chase their perception of success, only to wind up emotionally disconnected, having reached the peak of a mountain only to wonder: “Is this it?”
The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?
Something I hinted at while answering the previous question: I have personally observed so many people realizing, once their previous lives/routines got close to re-starting: “Wait, I don’t really want to go back to the way things were…or at least the way *I* was.” Given the hindset, and also (for some) realizing what it truly important to them, many are seeking a more enriching journey through this thing called life. As challenging a situation as we’ve all been dealing with the past two years, I believe it has caused a lot of people to reassess what is most important to them, and make adjustments.
What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.
Well, I’ve saved a bundle on dry cleaning by not having to fly to speaking events across the country, as I’ve been ‘dressing nicely from the waist up’ on Zoom Calls since March 2020. It’s funny, as ‘disconnected’ as so many people are feeling these days, I’ve made more of an effort to ‘connect’ with others in ways I hadn’t thought of before. I have mailed (yes, with a stamp!) funny postcards, left voice recordings in FB Messenger (and attached a graphic with my face, the words “You’ve got a message from Steve” with an arrow pointing to the audio file), and opened up my Zoom Room to create quick video messages which I send to friends and clients. Despite rarely leaving my home office or recording studio, I actually feel more ‘connected’ to people in some ways than I did before.
We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
1) Make sure your goals are ‘your’ goals. As creator of the Vision Board Mastery learning program, I can’t tell you how many times people have arrived at a live event, or begun the training, with pictures already in-hand…’thinking’ they knew what they wanted before I began sharing the first assessment or deep-diving exercise. I always laugh when I recall the sound of paper crumbling and a hushed: “Oh crap!” as an attendee realized they had jumped the gun on assuming what success was for them, before doing the immersive work with me.
2) Understand it is a process that will take time. I’ve been a bit overweight in recent years, so I am comfortable saying this: “If you weigh too much, you didn’t get that way overnight”. Yet so many of us fall for those ‘instant results’ potions, practices and promises, expecting that we can instantly undo all the damage. We can’t. Every journey toward success involves daily decisions, consistent actions, and an intimate knowledge of who we are in the process. Everything needs to work together to create momentum, before it can create the ultimate results.
3. Track your results or risk being clueless about how close you’re getting. Have you ever seen one of those giant thermometers outside a building, showing the incremental steps being achieving during a fundraiser or similar event? That is a tracking system which not only allows those in charge to know how far they’ve come and how close they are to success, but also educates those around them on how they can pitch in, cheer on, and perhaps become part of that goal’s achievement.
4. Help others to understand, reach and celebrate their success. If you’re striving to improve some part of your life, you’re climbing a mountain. Your goal is a defined and carefully-chosen peak somewhere above you. Your job is to keep walking, occasionally pause to gauge your progress, make adjustments to your plan, and continue upward. On your journey, you may come across others on the same path, with whom you can create mutually-beneficial energy.
5. Be sure to engage ALL of your senses as you proceed toward your goals. One of the first questions I ask my coaching clients: “What do your goals LOOK like, FEEL, like, SOUND like…heck, even SMELL like?”
How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?
The more we connect with ‘success destinations’ that resonate with who we are and where we wish to go, the better. That way, we can better ‘feel’ that our journey is enriching, rewarding and purposeful, even in the initial steps. It’s like an actor who is playing a role, yet feels unable to lock in and engage with the script as it is written. When they are able to infuse a bit more of ‘themselves’ into it, the results can become exponentially better.
What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?
I believe the biggest obstacle is often…ourselves. It’s all new, when we strip away all of the expectations and projections of the outside world. When we’re the ones holding the flashlight, we can feel alone, adrift, uncertain and unfocused…at first. To overcome this, one of the practices which has been a huge help in my life is recognizing and expressing Gratitude. For more than a decade, most of my days have begun by putting pen to paper and identifying my three favorite ‘moments’ from the previous day. They may include a conversation I got to share, an act of kindness I got to be part of, or an important step or breakthrough on the way toward one of my goals. This is a great way to launch every day on the momentum of the previous day’s wins.
Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?
Over the past decade, I’ve shed some weight in the sense that I have made the decision to no longer be around some people whose energy did not serve me well. Nothing against them personally, but I prefer sunshine to dark clouds, and some of them tended to focus on the clouds. In their place, I have invested my time and money in associations and organizations tied to my paths of Speaking (National Speakers Association) and Entrepreneurship (Apex Entourage). Choosing to intentionally surround myself with people who are ‘higher up the mountain’ than I am is a constant source of guidance and inspiration. It also affords me the opportunity to look over my shoulder, realize how far I’ve come, and hold out a hand to those who may just be getting started.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.
I had an amazing opportunity to meet and enjoy a brief conversation with Jack Canfield several years ago when he was the keynote presenter at a Womens Conference here in NH. I was a vendor, and that was the launch date of my Vison Board Mastery learning program. He was so gracious, asked questions about it, requested a copy and even mentioned me on-stage. I would love to have another conversation to say ‘thank you’ for his generosity.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I am honored, thank you. Your readers can find more at www.SteveGamlin.com
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.
Absolutely my pleasure, thank you! Wishing you all the best for growth, prosperity, health and happiness in all that you do.