The Four Elements of Self-Management for Success

We all have dreams of personal and professional success. The dream may not be specific about what success will look like, but we know how we want to think about ourselves or how we want to feel when we get there.

The process of getting there, however, is often disturbingly unclear. Or worse, we think we know what will make us feel successful but when we accomplish those goals, we realize that we were wrong.

What Does it Take to Most Effectively Move Towards Success?

• You must have a vision of what you want and a process for assessing whether you are moving in that direction.
• You must have the ability to course correct when necessary.
• You must have or learn specific skills along the way.
• You must be able to collaborate with and influence others to help or support you.

All of these pose self-management challenges.

Creating a vision requires self-reflection.

What do I really want? What really makes me feel successful? How do I want to deal with wanting things that other people don’t appreciate, want, or respect?

Course correcting requires recovering from making mistakes.

You must be able to accept that you made a mistake without being derailed by shame. Pivoting in response to change requires you to let go of time, money, and other resources that have already been spent without regret. You must have the hope and courage to try again and the willingness to learn something new.

Embrace life-long learning.

Learning is always a process of working at the edge or our competence, so you must be willing to spend a lot of time not-knowing, being bad at something, and still trying.

You must be able to collaborate and influence others.

In order to collaborate and influence others, you must have good communications skills and be trustworthy, persuasive, and compelling.

All of these present internal psychological challenges that must be met with good self-management.

Self-Management Has Four Key Elements

Good self-management requires:

• Self-awareness

• Awareness of your impact on others

• Self-compassion

• Resilience

Each of these is a skill set that can be developed and practiced.


You should have some kind of process for increasing your self-awareness over time (and keeping up with how you change over time). It could be an annual goal setting habit, a weekly check-in with a friend, meetings with a therapist or coach, journaling, or any other habit of self-observation.

Awareness of Impact

It is easy for us to lose sight of our impact on others, especially if we are in positions where we have authority over others. Processes for getting feedback about your impact on others can be formal or informal, but whichever you choose, knowing what impact you are having is crucial if you want to maintain some control over how your life unfolds.


We all fail. It is inevitable that we will make mistakes as we go through life. But more than that, we are all imperfect on every scale that we could imagine other than “are we as we are right now?” Learning to be gentle with ourselves when we fail or when we are not as we wish we were allows us to love ourselves even as we strive to become more like our ideal vision of ourselves.


The ability to shake ourselves off and begin again after setbacks or in the face of disruption is vital.

If you struggle with bouncing back after a setback, you might benefit from working through the Extreme Resilience Workbook, which is a self-coaching program specifically designed to increase your resilience and help you not just bounce back after a set-back but train you to be able to use adversity as the springboard to greater well-being and accomplishment.