Focus More on Ingredients, Less on Directions

PotatoSalad1“Potatoes, mayo, eggs, onion, vinegar, pimentos, relish, celery, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne.” My mother rattled off  the ingredient list for her mashed potato salad, a family favourite.

“How much of each?” I was ready. Pen poised to scribble down the famous recipe.

“Depends on you.” Wait. What?

“Okay, so how do you make it?” I asked for clarification and she once again uttered the less than helpful statement.

Or so I thought. Once again, my mother had hidden a life lesson in three words.

What’s your recipe for success? Do you have one? Or is it one you’ve jotted down from a source only to revise it when you locate something better?

I am a self-improvement junkie. I read books on how to make the most of my mornings or how to be an introvert in an extroverted universe. I subscribe to magazine that empowers entrepreneurs. My tablet reader is filled with articles on how to make the most of my time or unplug from technology. I listen to speeches on the power of choices or how our attitude influences our views.

Each writer, speaker or post has this subtle, subconscious tagline that says “I’m going to serve up to you the recipe for success.”

Well, if it worked for them . . . it should work for me. Even better, they did the hard work. I just have to implement it.

But in reality, they only share their personal ingredient list for their own famous side dish of life. They are sharing THEIR success story or definition of success.

What is often forgotten when we step into the kitchen to create our own menu for life is that we have a different set of expertise, likes, history, experience and views.  Even if my mother had given me the exact recipe for her famous Mashed Potato Salad, mine would taste different. I dig the zing spicy mustard can add to the side dish.

We are all looking for that secret success recipe. We seek input on what worked for someone else or the next step that will ensure success.

The recipe for success is what is inside each of us. It’s the ingredients we pick up on the way such as history, experience and self-improvement TEDTalks. It is learning how to bounce back from rejection or failure. It is how you inspire others. It’s how you view the world. It’s integrity.

The key is to focus on what you have rather than how to do it. Having the key ingredients will ensure a masterpiece.

Depends on you.

Thanks, mom.