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The 'Not So Secret' Secret to Success

Written by: Shari Teigman

This crazy wonderful world of ours has taught us to think there are certain people that can make things happen as if by magic - from business success to perfect relationships, skinny jeans and friendship crowds others would envy, and the rest of us who just think it all looks and feels too HARD sometimes.

What gives?

Are some people really just born with it and others aren’t?

It’s time to put that thinking to bed because it is ABSOFREAKINLUTELY NOT TRUE!

It’s just that ‘those people’ are in on a little secret. But here’s an insider Maverick tip for you: That secret isn’t elusive; it's available to all of us.

The disclaimer is, once you know the formula, your excuses may stop you from becoming someone who can use it, so we will address that too...I’ve got you ;)

Formula, Shari, really? You talk about being all Maverick and being out of the box so how could there be a vanilla boring formula?!

AHA there’s the interesting thing.

None of us are reinventing oxygen, even Mavericks who like to think we do!

The steps to growth and change may sound familiar but the not-so-secret secret is found in who you are when you do these steps that makes all of the difference every single time.

Now to the deets:

Those ‘if by magic’ people do three specific things consistently no matter who they used to be, what they’ve accomplished, or <insert whatever else you think they have that you don’t>.


Simply stated, grit is “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”

The psychological definition of grit has two parts:

  1. The ability to stick to long-term goals.

  2. The ability to keep going despite adversity.

But that doesn’t tell us much about how to get some of that stick-to-it-ness and adversity-hurdling if we are missing the grit gene!

Dr Angela Duckworth, a professor at University of Pennsylvania who specializes in grit, teaches that there are four aspects to building up your grit: Practice, Hope, Purpose, Time.

Practice helps you build your courage muscle to not give up and gives you the feedback loop of what works and what doesn’t so you aren’t basing your action-taking on your mood or patience, but rather doing things repetitively so you can improve and learn to trust your skill.

Hope, while it sounds fluffy, is what sets successful people apart. Failure is unavoidable for all of us, but if we learn to embrace failure as a chance to do, be, and learn better, and then to get right back up again, we're more likely to succeed in the future - without creating [even more] stories about why we aren’t worthy. (Sound familiar?)

Purpose brings what you’re trying to do closer to home. If the reason or driving force for you is external, you won’t stick to it. Plain and simple. But if the purpose belongs to you, wakes you up at night, feeds your mind and makes it far easier to get comfortable in the discomfort of the feedback loop of failing and learning.

Purpose is anything you can develop an interest in over long term. Practice is useless if what you're practicing is something you don't feel purposeful about or highly interested in.

Note: It doesn’t have to be some massive mission -- it just has to be yours.

Time, unsexy but vital to grit building. You have to be both willing to give yourself time and patience to build up resiliency as well as let time do its wizardry of change unfolding before your very eyes.

Just because you decide you are ready for something, doesn’t mean that the process gets a shortcut. It all takes time. Be patient and persistent. And remember, who you become along the way is the most fun part of getting new outcomes.

Next, what’s your perspective looking like?


Perspective is something we can leave out if we aren’t careful, but it’s a real game changer in our formula. If we put on blinders and just power through toward a goal or lose ourselves in the process of trying to create someone else’s version of success, we end up depleted and close-minded -- not exactly the qualities that bring a life of expansion.

Putting yourself in other’s shoes, understanding and accepting that your viewpoint is only one of many, and staying curious and open to new ways of seeing and doing things, gives those magical people shortcuts to where they’re going.

Notice I didn’t use the word hack. I used shortcuts. Here’s why:

Shortcuts open for you when can:

  • Stop trying to be an island unto yourself

  • Allow yourself to learn from others

  • Expand your simple black and white terms of what you believe to be true and be open to all shades of what’s possible for you

When we do this, our mind can expand and our actions right along with it.

Nicholas Epley, a psychologist at the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business, describes perspective-taking as a sort of “sixth sense”. A skill that “allows us to infer what’s going on in another’s mind, what they think, feel, and want”.

According to Epley, perspective-taking is a key element of interacting with the world: we need to be able to see things from others’ perspectives in order to understand them and play with them.

It promotes cooperation and mutual understanding. When faced with a problem, considering a situation from another perspective allows you to see the problem in new ways and with more objectivity. Plus, having perspective helps us to see beyond our own programming, stories, and patterns that we’ve been picking up since childhood and often don’t serve us well.

And lastly, how’s your attitude?


The first thing we usually do when we aren’t sure how to do something new is to put limits in place.

Statements like, I can’t,” or “I shouldn’t.”

And then we throw on parameters like always and never. It’s... either/neither, this or that

We do it to protect our brain from change and danger but what it actually does is gets us nestled in stuckness far deeper than any outside factor can.

These limiting and this-or-that statements dim our capacity for peripheral vision - both from an expansive and mindset perspective and also physically. (Fear physically changes how our eyes work!)

So what works instead?

Successful people use an AND way of seeing things.

I can be scared AND resourceful.

I can hear no AND find a way to yes.

Things can be ‘good’ AND ‘bad’.

When you bring the word and idea of AND in the room more often, you can be a better problem solver while telling less stories to yourself about victimhood and stuckness.

AND wires your brain to go fetch new paths and solutions and these new ways take us to new heights.

Implementing the ‘magic’ formula used by ‘those people’ will take some time, so make room to embody these practices and mindsets. And keep in mind, as with anything new, your excuses and reasons for staying where you are will come up for battle. So be kind to yourself and leave space to unpack before you forge forward.

Go easy and go kindly but please GO forward.

There’s never a better time than right now to become one of those people who ‘if by magic’ get to live and build lives you’ve been wishing for.

Keep an eye on what stories you’re telling yourself about why you’re not ready for more grit, perspective, and AND statements. Then decide if you need those stories anymore.

How are you treating self care? Self care is the space maker that makes new and ready bandwidth possible! Without it you are facing scary big changes on a depleted nervous system and tired brain- aka giving new car keys to a cranky toddler- I highly advise against it!

And lastly, who are you surrounding yourself by- people, community, data and information incoming will be what makes or breaks your ability to stick to what you want to commit to!


Originally published in Issue 1 · March/April 2021 · Spring Equinox issue of SOULACY.

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