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How Success Happens And What Success Looks Like

4 phases successful people go through

Most people desire success in one form or the other. But very few get to experience the success they envision. And the reason is that they paused in their journey. They didn't see it through.

If you imagine or envision something, you can experience it. You can experience it exactly as you imagined it. In fact, the reality is sometimes better than the imagination.

You can be as rich as you want. Don't think in terms of how much money you want to have. Think in terms of the quality of life you want to have. Success is possible, regardless of where you are in your life right now.

A lot can change in 3 months. But you have to recognize the phase you are in so you won't give up. Most people give up because they don't know how close they were.

This piece is to show you how close you are to the success you desire. There are 4 phases people go through to achieve their success...

1. The Idea Phase

This is when you get a life-changing idea. Or you get multiple ideas. This is the idea phase. You catch a glimpse of how success is going to be and it makes you elated.

This is the excitement phase. And never tone it down. It is an important aspect of success. Without the idea phase, the success would not be possible.

Some people try to suppress this phase after they have experienced all the other phases on something else. They have a glimpse of what is ahead and do not let themselves enjoy the feeling of the idea.

That is not good. Enjoy the idea. Feel the idea. Get excited about it. Celebrate the idea. Most people think when they finally achieve it, they will celebrate. But I tell you that the best time to celebrate is at the idea phase.

When it finally happens and you achieve that goal, you won't feel like celebrating. So, now at the start, celebrate.

The idea doesn't have to be a novel idea for something smart. It may be an idea of who you could be in a few months or years. In fact, it is often a picture of a future you.

But the idea phase starts to wear off when you move to the next phase.

2. The Seeking Help Phase

This is when you want to go from idea to reality. And the first thing you realize is that you need help. You can't do it on your own.

So, you resort to seeking help. This phase is where you try to "recruit" people to your idea. You try to persuade people to be a part of making your dream real.

Most people start this phase excitedly. But as time goes on, the excitement starts to wear off. This is where the excitement completely disappears.

This phase starts with excitement and ends in rejection (and oftentimes, sadness). At the end of the seeking help phase, you will feel down, rejected, and dejected.

This is where people get depressed. And it is due to one or more of these reasons:

  • You couldn't find any help

  • Life throws you a curve ball. This means something happens that significantly lowers your chances of success

  • Someone you had much respect and admiration for told you it wouldn't work in a brutal way that broke your heart

  • The help you found turned out to be useless, or a fraud, or very disappointing

  • You were embarrassed beyond measure

  • You got tired and fed up

Does the seeking help phase always end in disappointment? Yes, it does. But due to experience, you can see it coming and significantly shorten the time and drastically reduce the impact it has on you. But it does end in disappointment in some form.

However, you have to go through this phase. If not, you will not meet with the stark realization that will help you in the next two phases.

The purpose of this seeking help phase is to wake up to some facts that you will never find otherwise. Amid all the sadness and pain of getting disappointed, some seeds are getting sown.

And you probably won't see those seeds until the next 2 phases. After the disappointment and rejection drive you to what some call "rock bottom", you enter the third phase.

3. The Imposter Phase

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

This phase is also known as the "seeking validation" phase. This is where you have given up on seeking help and you are now seeking the qualification or validation of doing what you want to achieve yourself.

This is the phase where people go to school to learn something they have a natural talent for. You believe you can, but you don't see yourself as someone that can. So, you try to get accolades to convince yourself that you can.

You see other people doing what you want to do. And you deduce that the reason they can and you can't is because they have some qualifications.

Now, you go around seeking qualifications. Or you go around seeking some kind of validation. This process is also important and you must allow yourself to go through it. Don't rush the process.

This phase infuses new hope in you. It is what brings you out of the despair that "seeking help" drops you into.

This phase starts with a new feeling of hope (after the despair of the last phase). And then it ends with a different kind of frustration.

It is called "frustration" here because I don't know what else to call it. This frustration is not like the depressive feeling of sadness in the previous phase. Instead, it is borderline anger.

This is when you realize that the qualifications you went after were not really helpful. It often takes a long time to come to this realization. For some people, it takes decades.

And this is because most people are not chasing their dreams, they are chasing the qualifications for their dreams. And sometimes it is very hard to tell the difference.

But you have to chase the qualifications because that is what brings you out of that sadness and despair of the second phase. This "seeking validation" is what gives you new hope.

You are ready to exit this third phase when you realize the difference between your goal and the qualification for your goal. You get fired up because what society accepts as the qualification for your goal doesn't get you any closer.

This is what I meant by getting frustrated. It is more like getting fired up. This is when it sets fire in your belly - a real, hot, burning, flaming fire in your belly. You are just fired up crazy.

Then, you are ready for the final phase.

4. The F*ck It Phase

You need to understand what makes this fourth phase a powerful propelling machine is the momentum from the 3 previous phases. If you jump from phase 1 to phase 4, phase 4 will be powerless.

Phase 4 is where you say, "F*ck it, I'll do it anyhow". At this stage, you have identified the difference between your goal and the qualification for your goal.

And in phase 4, you are not going after the qualification. Instead, you are going for the exact thing itself. You don't care whether it is according to what society is used to.

This phase must not be confused with acting out of desperation. Desperation is very likely phase 2 or phase 3.

In phase 4, you don't care anymore. You have no one to please. You don't even want to please yourself. That is the sweet spot.

You don't care about pleasing yourself with what you want to do. You are just fired up to do it anyhow because you now know that people can accept it anyhow.

Phase 4 is where you are comfortable with making a mess. This is where people tell you that your work looks horrible, but you are fine with that because you are just glad you got it out of you.

In phase 4, you are just putting things out there. And you are completely unashamed of it whether it is a mess or not.

One of the ways to recognize someone in phase 4 is when they get news that something is breaking in what they put out. People in phase 4 are completely calm. They don't care if people see their work as a blatant mess.

Meanwhile, people in the previous phases would become completely paranoid if they heard that something they put out to the world is broken in some way. They probably won't be able to sleep well.

People in phase 4 can go to sleep soundly without solving the problem. They have seen it all and don't care anymore.

And in most cases, the success envisioned in phase 1 becomes a reality in phase 4. But in some rare cases, they can show up in the previous phases. But that doesn't mean they should stop or stay there. If they stop or stay there, their success will be stunted or suffer from dwarfism.

Whatever success you experience in phases 1-3 is incomplete if you never made it to phase 4. And remember, don't try the skip phases. The power of phase 4 is in the momentum from the previous three phases.

When success comes in phase 4, you don't feel like celebrating. People will love to and want to celebrate you, but you will be completely unfazed. All the parties they throw for you will feel like a rotten salad.

Celebrating doesn't feel good in phase 4, even though you might have to participate in it. This is why you must celebrate when you feel like it in phase 1.

In phase 4, when you remember the celebration you did in phase 1, it feels like the best memory ever. From phase 2 or 3, that phase 1 celebration looks like foolishness. But from phase 4, it looks very cool and legendary.

After phase 4, you get plunged into phase 1 of something new. If you don't allow yourself to plunge into a new phase 1, you will grow old quickly and may actually die fast.

Many people often block that new phase 1, because they saw how painful the journey was. They don't want to go through it again. But if they don't want to go through that again, then there is no point going on living. This is why people reach a certain age and grow old very fast.

But if you want another run, your body will keep up (regardless of how badly beaten it is). The end of phase 4 is a new beginning. You start getting curiously excited about an idea again.


This is the journey of life summarized. I hope this gives you comfort in accepting where you are in the journey of life towards success.

Don't force yourself into any phase. Go with the flow. Remember, it is the momentum that really counts for success. You can break through anything if you hit it with enough momentum.

Here are the 4 phases again:

1. The idea phase

2. The seeking help phase

3. The imposter (or seeking validation) phase

4. The f*ck it phase

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