The Fine Line Between Success and Failure: Creating What You Want Most in 2012

By on February 1, 2012

By Kathy Caprino –

We can gain great insight by reviewing our past behaviors and actions, examining what brought us the most success and fulfillment, and what led to misery or disappointment. 2011 was a year that presented many tremendous challenges in life and work, and most of us can’t wait to turn the page to 2012. But as we do, it’s vitally important to go back to basics – to purify, shift what isn’t working, re-focus, and commit 3000% to what you care about achieving and creating.

In running my career and executive consultancy through these extreme times of economic hardship, and helping others get what they want in their careers, I’ve returned to basics myself, and reconnected with the three essential ingredients that I believe lead to success. They’re powerful and they work.

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Without these, you might arrive at a successful outcome, but it’ll be a far bumpier ride with some agonizing detours.

Here’s what’s needed to recharge your life and career, and also to launch your new professional endeavors with energy, positivity and success:

Intensive Focus

Someone recently asked me, “What are you – a career coach, writer, blogger, speaker, marketer, leadership trainer …what?!” The question helped remind me of my need to focus more intently on the top two or three areas that I most want to expand most this year. For me, that’s growing my executive and leadership training programs for corporate women around the country, and bringing the topic of women’s professional and leadership growth to a national conversation and national imperative. While I will continue to engage in the numerous endeavors I love, 2012 will have a focus for me – I want to be able to say that I’ve personally contributed to helping emerging women leaders grow, and to advancing women in senior corporate leadership to a level higher than the current 16%.

Sure, we can do many important things all at the same time. But spreading ourselves too thin too often creates a dilution effect in our strength and time, and limits our ability to build what we care about most. The best strategy I can offer to help you achieve your goals in 2012 is to figure out what you want most – what makes life worth living for you and what you’ll give up everything for – then focus on this area intensively with passion and power, and don’t take no for an answer. (Take my free Career Path Self-Assessment survey if you need more clarity on what you want).

Something from Nothing

In challenging times, all around us we see despair, confusion and a lack of hope and energy. It’s contagious. We also see businesses drying up before our eyes. It’s scary indeed. But success comes from being your own source of positive energy, from finding a way to internally generate your own authentic enthusiasm, energy, and excitement about what you do, even when outside forces are pushing against you.

Several years ago, my son came home after school and told me that his teacher asked the students this year to “be the change you want to see” (Gandhi’s beautiful invitation to the world). There’s such a keen nugget of truth in that for all of us. If we want success, joy, meaning and purpose to come to us, we must first be that — embody and live the principles and experiences of the success and fulfillment before they’ve been manifested. That is how doors open to new success. Energy attracts like energy.

Undying Commitment

To be successful in both life and work, it takes commitment that doesn’t wane. It takes believing that you can create movement in your life and business, even when the waters are still and the 3D world is giving you evidence that you’re not going to make it to your destination. You need to commit yourself full throttle to what you care about.

But that doesn’t mean we should continue blindly, crashing into the rocks breaking ourselves against what is without modifying our course. It means that you need to understand where you need help, and when you need to change course, and ask for the right kind of help before it’s too late. It means that when you experience “failure” you pause, open yourself up, and seek to understand the bigger picture – what your less-than-successful outcomes are trying to teach you.

The key is to commit yourself without doubt, without reservation, to do what’s required, yet to be flexible and not overly attach to what “success” has to look like. Realize that you have vulnerabilities and gaps in knowledge, ability and vision, and continually work to fill them. Believe in yourself, get the outside help you need as soon as you need it to keep growing and learning.

What’s the fine line between success and failure? It’s simply this – find a way to BE success precisely when outside success is eluding you.

As you embark on a great new year in your life, ask yourself:

Have I figured out exactly what I want MOST to achieve and create this year? And do I know how to generate my own internal energy, passion, and focus to bring that goal into being?

2012 will be a different kind of year, one that allows for more expansion than constriction, more possibility than limitation. I’m convinced of it. Why? Because we’ve overcome so much, and finally learned to jump in the cage with our fears and wrestle them down.

As the saying goes, “You can’t unring a bell.”


Kathy Caprino, M.A., is a nationally-recognized women’s work-life expert, career coach, marketing consultant, and author of Breakdown, Breakthrough: The Professional Woman’s Guide to Claiming a Life of Passion, Power, and Purpose. Founder/President of Ellia Communications, Inc.a career coaching and marketing consulting firm dedicated to helping women achieve breakthrough to greater success and fulfillment in life and work, Caprino is a former corporate marketing executive, trained psychotherapist, seasoned coach, and sought-after writer and speaker. As a top media source on women’s career issues and trends, she has appeared in more than 100 leading newspapers and magazines and on national radio and television. For more information, visit or write to [email protected]. Connect with Kathy on: Twitter, FB, LinkedIn

About Kathy Caprino

Kathy Caprino, M.A. is a nationally-recognized women’s career coach and work-life expert, executive trainer, Forbes contributor, writer and speaker dedicated to the advancement of women in business. Author of Breakdown, Breakthrough, and Founder of The Amazing Career Project, Kathy is President of Ellia Communications, Inc. -- a leading career and executive coaching and training firm helping professional women build successful and fulfilling careers of significance, and reach their highest potential. For more information, visit or write to [email protected] Connect with Kathy on: Twitter, FB, LinkedIn.

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The Fine Line Between Success and Failure: Creating What You Want Most in 2012