What is an Unqualified Success?

What is an Unqualified Success?

As you know, my first book, Unqualified Success, was published a month ago.  Since then, I have had lots of questions about the name I chose for the book. What exactly is an Unqualified Success?

Many of you may not know my background, but I started my career as an underqualified bookkeeper and office manager.  The recession hit in 2009 and my husband lost his job with a national insurance company. He decided that this was the perfect opportunity to become an independent insurance broker and start his own company.

For many years I had been a stay-at-home mom, with a few graphic design projects on the side.  My kids were still little, but with my husband just building his new business, it made sense for me to try to get a job outside of the home.

By chance, I was offered a job managing the office of a small, but mighty, local restoration company, Titan Restoration.  The books were a disorganized mess when I began and I was in way over my head—in both experience and knowledge.  But, what I lacked in capacity, I made up for in determination and perseverance.

Over the years I worked and studied and tried and failed and worked and tried some more.  I am now a partner in the company, the general manager, and we have built our small business from $1M a year to $22M a year.

In the meantime I also started a software company to meet the technology needs of other contractors in my industry.  I have had the incredible opportunity to expand my influence in my industry and share our strategies for success with other companies.

I have achieved success in my life but I never finished my college degree.  I never took a formal accounting or business class.  I didn’t ever get my MBA.  I was simply willing to work and learn and keep showing up, which makes me the epitome of an Unqualified Success.

Regardless of our resumes or our accomplishments or our certifications or our degrees, each of us harbors personal doubts about our ability to succeed and reach our goals. This means that on some level, every person feels unqualified—maybe for the job you have, probably for the job you want, and undoubtedly for the life you dream of.

An Unqualified Successis someone who despite those doubts and fear, believes whole-heartedly in themselves and their ability to accomplish their dreams.  An Unqualified Success is someone who figures out the only real limitations they have to success are in their own mind.  And they are categorically willing to ignore those.

That means that each of us has the power to be an Unqualified Success if we are willing to step out of our comfort zone, question our assumptions about qualification and worthiness, and doggedly pursue our ambitions regardless of the nagging voice inside that suggests we can’t.

What I love most about the book is that it is full of examples of real people who have done just that—real people who suspect they might not be good enough or their idea might not work—but they have applied the tools I discuss in the book to achieve massive success anyway.

I wrote this book for the millions of people out there just like me, who want more from their life and more from themselves, but don’t know how to put that desire into action.  I wrote it so they could not only learn the tools but practice their application, allowing them to bridge the gap between where they are now and where they want to be.

The key is to understand that your feelings of inadequacy and fear and insufficiency are holding you back unnecessarily.  It turns out that “unqualified” is only a state of mind.  As I wrote in the book, “[The feeling of unqualified] is not an accurate reflection of your actual abilities nor your capacity to succeed. For each of us, both of these factors are categorically unlimited. It is only the universal feeling of being unqualified that is holding us back.”

As a case in point, I was recently at a conference for an organization made up of successful entrepreneurs. In order to apply to be a part of the group, you have to meet certain thresholds in revenue and growth, meaning that everyone in the organization is highly qualified.

One distinguished colleague shared an experience he had giving a 10-minute talk for the organization. After his well-received speech, another person gave a presentation on consumer behavior, which happens to be my colleague’s area of expertise. My colleague said the presentation that followed his was so good that he went into the lobby afterwards and cried. He was overwhelmed by his own inadequacy and lack.  Comparing himself to the other presenter, he felt wholly unqualified in every way.

At the conference I attended, he told the group that no matter where you are in your career or in the path of your life, you will always feelunqualified. This does not mean you are unqualified.

That is the point.  The aim of my book to help each of us gain awareness of this important differentiation between how we feel and the reality of our qualifications so that we can manage any feelings of insufficiency and do our work in the world anyway.  When we can do this, over and over and over again, then we can each become an Unqualified Success.