I’m not one for quick lists to perpetual happiness, perpetual success, or perpetual anything, for that matter. However, once in a while there’s some advice worth considering—just considering—about navigating life and work. Here are some reasonable approaches from leadership consultant Lolly Daskal’s take on success.

to achieve something, DO SOMETHING

“We know if we want to achieve something, Daskal writes, “we have to do something, and maybe the actions you take aren’t getting you the results you want . . . .” In short: to achieve, do. It’s not enough to just try. Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Important to understand about Daskal’s general advice here is that she doesn’t define what that something is. That all depends on who you are and what it is you’re supposed to do, or achieve. It could be finding a better career opportunity that you find more fulfilling, or it could be simply finding more fulfillment exactly where you are right now. That’s the trick. Knowing what, for you, that something is. It could be a huge leap. It could be simply calming yourself. Figure out what it is, and then do something to get there.


Perhaps begin by being grateful. Indeed, we’ve often found that we do not know how good we’ve got it, until we’ve lost it. Not always. But sometimes. The fact is that pausing for a few moments to take inventory of all the positives will demonstrate both that the negatives aren’t as numerous as they may seem and that the negatives aren’t at all insurmountable. “Feeling grateful is one of the most medicinal emotions we can feel,” writes Daskal. “[I]t elevates your mood and it fills you with happiness.” Perhaps. Once you get really good at being grateful. While spending some time each day, or several times a day, may not immediately shoot you to nirvana, that sort of contemplation is helpful, even if—especially if—you’re tackling some of those more apparently insurmountable challenges.


Twitter. Facebook. Gmail. YouTube. Politics. Headlines. Jump! Respond! Now! Distraction. Being informed about what’s happening on the job and in the world outside the office is important. However, there’s little more depressing than the constant distraction, the breaking news—whether the breaking news is on your news feed or at the water cooler where colleagues are exchanging office gossip. It’s depressing because by responding to it, engaging in it, commenting on it, you’re pulling yourself in a thousand different directions, while the direction you need to go is abandoned. Get on your path. Certainly, to the degree that it’s warranted—or simply unavoidable—observe. You can observe without joining the fray. “If you want to succeed, you have to stop being distracted by everything around you and be more focused in what you want to achieve,” writes Daskal. “[Y]our distractions are wasting your time, and keeping [you] from being focused.”

If you’re finding yourself struggling to find fulfillment in what you’re doing, if you’re experiencing more opposition than collaboration, you can do something about it. But doing something may be nothing more than doing nothing. Stop. Be quiet. Be calm for a while. Observe. Think. See.

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Ed Ledford enjoys the most challenging, complex, and high stakes communications requirements. His portfolio includes everything from policy and strategy to poetry. A native of Asheville, N.C., and retired Army Aviator, Ed’s currently writing speeches in D.C. and working other writing projects from his office in Rockville, MD. He loves baseball and enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring anything. Follow Ed on Twitter @ECLedford.