"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary." ~Vidal Sassoon

"It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste." ~Henry Ford

This analogy came to me when discussing an employee of mine who everyone wants to see move up into supervisory roles. He has the skillsets, he has the experience, but he seems to lack initiative. He is waiting for something to happen, not taking action to ensure it happens. And that may be the most important skill to demonstrate.

Success takes work, and opportunities are more prevalent when you seek them out and mold them into existence than when you just bide your time and wait for things to happen. This employee just “went with the flow” and just wasn’t “active” in the department. They were great at their job and had lots of experience, but never seemed to take control of the situation, they just let things happen, reacted to issues as they came up and followed instructions.

What we wanted was someone who would help leadership “blaze the trail” into the future, who would take action themselves and who would get ahead of obstacles instead of just dealing with them after they popped up.

So what are you doing in your career?

When you float down the river, your path is not under your control. You take direction from mother-nature (or your boss to translate the analogy). You also have little motivation to do more (like paddling) because you are making progress without any extra effort.

When you blaze the trail, your course is completely under your control. You can hike in any direction you think will get you to your destination quickest. Your pace in under your control. You must motivate yourself to move forward, nobody will do it for you. You are challenged to set your goals and find ways to achieve them.

Which do you think is the pathway to success? The river or the trail?

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