Sharpening Your Edge for Renewed Success in School or the Workplace

Renewed Success“Hmmmm, I think I’ll stop in there and see what’s happening.” Driving by that same retail store on the way back and forth to work, I began noticing something fresh. New activity and new life was erupting. The building was painted with a new attractive color scheme, the landscape was upgraded, signs promising special sales were now waving and flopping for everyone’s attention, and the parking lot had more and more cars every day. But, two months ago that store seemed to be dying. What happened?

I’ve noticed this same phenomenon on an individual level as well.

It happened to Joe. One day Joe zipped by our office door humming, obviously in a hurry. Emails to him were being answered more promptly, assignments were more on time with fewer errors, and he was not rushing out the door at 4 p.m. anymore. What happened to Joe? Somehow Joe was on fire again, reignited and motivated.

Passionate people have a lot of energy. They love what they’re doing and do what they love. They go for the daily journey, step-by-step, just as much as they go for attaining each goal and its rewards. They have discovered that success is doing what they love and making it a career. Everyone can see it. They’re far more successful on a daily basis.

Both at the retail store, and with Joe, vision, purpose and imagination were reignited.


Five powerful habits for success

Let’s take this to the next level and look at adult development and career development research. Researchers say that fired up passion and inner vision is the first step.

Sharpening our edge for personal best happens by embracing five powerful habits.


Saying yes

First on the list is continually saying to ourselves, “Yes! I can do this!”

An old adage tells us, “He that believes he can is right. He that believes he can’t is also right!” A believer is his own best friend; an unbeliever is his own worst enemy. Befriend yourself.


Seeking an uplift

Second, is seeking things that uplift us on the job and at home.

Seek out those who appreciate you and what you do. Seek out those who like to do the same things. Stay away from those who consistently criticize. Post your own wall of successes and pictures to remind you and your family of positive things. Find a way to give something extra to someone, perhaps a non-profit group, both with time and gifts if possible. The blessings that come back from seeking the “UP-lifting” are enormous.

Here’s a special up-lifter.  “God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, prompt to do it) giver whose heart is in his giving” (2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP). Givers win God’s special attention.


Facing the challenge

Third is, a willingness to face the next step…the challenge. Do what you are afraid to do. Stretch yourself. Take the next step. Go for it! Get out of the box…the comfort zone. Challenge yourself to do what you haven’t done yet.

This isn’t the same as the “I can do it” attitude. This is the “I will do it now” attitude. Active doers outperform talkers at least 10 to 1. Professors can only give grades to those who do it.


Sticking with it

The fourth adult success habit is…doing it again, and again, and again. One or two excellent attempts will never cross the finish line. Go for the long haul and embrace the journey. It’s so true that “Quitters never win and winners never quit.”  If at first you don’t succeed, order some pizza then try again.

We’ve seen some of the brightest, most capable students quit and never make it. In stark contrast many “extra-challenged” students have won just because they refused to quit. They refused to let the challenge beat them. Their skills were weaker, but their heart was bigger. They won.


Being thankful

Fifth is thankfulness. We all appreciate someone who recognizes what we have done and thanks us. That motivates us to want to do even more for them. That’s the secret habit to embrace. Be so thankful to everyone who reaches out and does something positive for you. Tell others how much you appreciate what this person has done.

There’s one more powerful aspect to thankfulness not found in the academic research. The most powerful thankfulness that returns immeasurable benefits to our inner and outer being is to thank God in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18). If our thankfulness brings help, favor and benefit from our relationships, just think how that response will give us new life from our Heavenly Father.


Companies don’t pay for passion alone, and they don’t pay for average. They pay for exceptional. Passion identifies and helps motivate us to do our best. Then take the next step.

Research shows that keeping the edge for exceptional performance happens with those who tightly embrace these five life habits. These include developing an “I can do it” attitude, and surrounding yourself with uplifting things.  Adding an “I will do it now” action approach and an “I won’t quit until it’s done” attitude.  Finally embracing a habit of heartfelt thankfulness to all who come alongside you.

Right now, you can razor sharpen your edge for renewed success by setting your passion on fire and embracing the five conscious habits above.  Just imagine what can happen to you now.


Steve Davis, Ed.S is an adjunct professor (adult development, research & writing), advisor to the Master of Arts in Theological Studies and International Student Representative at Trinity International University, Davie, Fl. He is a frequent speaker and writer.

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