How Do You Design Your Success Story: According to Francis Kong (Part 3)

In the conclusion of this exclusive three-part interview, Francis Kong tells us how to design your success plan, the benefits and pitfalls of success and gives us a glimpse into his own journey to success.

(Did you miss the first and second part of this interview? Read How Do You Climb The Mountain Called Success and How To Recognize Your Potential For Success?)

How do you design a success plan?

You design a success plan the same way you would design a business plan.

You start your plan by taking care of your daily habits first. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you go to bed late and then you wake up late — well, that’s something you have to change.
  • Do you exercise? What about your health?
  • What about your money management skills? Do you track all of your expenses?
  • What about your work? Are you still driven in your work? Do you chip in and offer your services? Do you study more, and then don’t just wait to be promoted, but present yourself to be promotable?

So these are some of the things you have to do. Start with the small things that add up to be big things.

Next, you have to be honest in making your SWOT Analysis.

  • What are your areas of strengths?
  • What are the areas of weaknesses: What are your bad habits? Am I critical of other people? Do I envy other people? Do I react violently when somebody criticizes me, especially those closest to me?’
  • What are the threats: I’m not getting any younger. What are the new technologies challenging my areas of competence?
  • What are your opportunities? Well, if you don’t have much to write here, then you’re in trouble.

Last, and very important, who are the people in my circle of friends? Are they losers, too? This is what I say in my seminars: ‘Birds of the same feather poo-poo together.’ If you find yourself in a circle of winners and achievers then mahihiya ka eh. And you’ll be driven to be like them.

So these are the things that you have to do and consider to come up with a good personal life plan.  

What are the benefits and pitfalls of being successful?

The benefits of achieving progress and being successful are:

  1. Your life now carries meaning. You have reason now why you want to wake up in the morning.
  2. Your network of friends and associates continue to expand.
  3. You continue to grow because of the expansion of your network.
  4. You now know and accept that you don’t know. So you begin to put yourself in a mode of wanting to learn more.
  5. Money becomes an afterthought. Money now becomes second to yourself because of your competence.
  6. You now have the moral right to encourage or cheer, even rebuke and correct other people who are in a rut and pull them up. Somebody said, ‘if you want to pull me up based on your moral high grounds, then you have to make sure that you’re standing somewhere higher than me.’
  7. Your family respects you. You have a very holistic, healthy family life. Your children respects you, your spouse loves you, and your relationships continue to grow.
  8. And for me the biggest, biggest benefit, you see that what you are enjoying now is beginning to take place in your own children as well.

Meanwhile, the pitfalls are:

  1. Hubris, or an unrealistic expectation of one’s ability to be successful in anything you do. This begets recklessness, arrogance and you begin to overestimate of your capacity.
  2. Because of success, you think you’re invincible and beyond failure.  
  3. You close your mind to ideas and suggestions of others whom you deem as inferior to you.
  4. The higher and more successful you are, the more difficult reality and truth reaches your level. The higher you are the more the information is filtered before it reaches you. And nobody is courageous enough to tell you ‘Sir you’re wrong.’
  5. You begin to believe your press releases. Suddenly you are being interviewed and then you go ‘yeah, I’m really that good.’ Pride leads to arrogance, arrogance leads to isolation, isolation leads to being left in a rut, and then being detached from reality.  
  6. And the biggest, biggest pitfall of success, it distances you from your loved ones who were with you in your initial journey. I think the most painful thing to happen is for couples who went through difficult times together, but upon achieves success, separate because they cannot enjoy the success because of disagreements and conflicts.

There are many pitfalls, but I think the benefits far surpass the pitfalls. Why? Because the benefits are continuous. You become a good citizen, you build your community, you become an asset to the country, you become an inspiration to the younger generation…

So are you saying, rather than an endpoint, success is a new beginning of sorts?

Oh, yes. Success is just a platform to bigger and better things. Cliché, but it is a cliché because it has a semblance of truth. Success is never a destination, it is a journey.

You never arrive at success. You spar and you wrestle with success. Sometimes you get hit, sometimes you hit back. But it must be a forward momentum of continuous progress.

Do you know how I check: my resume. At the start of seminars or lectures, people would always introduce their speaker. So they read my bio. And when they do, I challenge myself: What new things can I add to my resume this year? So I want to make sure every year I add something. It is ongoing.

In my workshops I ask people, ‘if I were to ask you to put up a piece of paper right now and write your resume, what new things can you add? If you can’t think of anything, that means you have not grown.

Have you found your success?

No, I still feel like I’ve such a long way to go. I’m no longer searching for success, but more adventure as I strive to progress over the years.

I’m looking forward to newer things to learn, newer seminars to attend, newer information that I can share with my clientele, newer technology which I can share to people and warn them that this might take over their job unless they brush up or use it to propel them to the next level.

I’m so excited with what is happening in the world. I do almost 330 talks a year, and have been doing it for years. The latest that I gave a couple of days ago was my 177th this year.

And during these talks, I get to learn from my clients as well. I learn what’s happening in pharmaceutical, in oil, telecom. And then I see the general pattern. And then how to write principles and then teach and share them with people.

The crowd listen attentively as Francis Kong delivers one of his talks.

The crowd listen attentively as Francis Kong delivers one of his talks.

How did you start with public speaking?

It started with something simple as a bible study consisting of six people. I got so scared with just six people there.

The funny thing is after that talk, they all encouraged me — maybe they saw how bad I was haha. But I felt the joy of researching, studying then sharing.

Research, study, put your personal experiences in it, make it more relevant and practical, then share.

Ang sarap pala ng process na yan.

It’s the main thing that pushed me to public speaking. Soon the six became 12, the 12 became 25. Then someone from the group said, ‘hey, why don’t you speak in Rotary?’ So I spoke at Rotary. I spoke for 12 years, averaging 120 talks, all for free.

I just kept on sharing ideas: marketing, advertising, even fashion, because my business used to be in garments.

I love it — research, study, apply, share. And people appreciate that.

Do you think the same principle of research-study-apply-share can be applied to other aspects?

Absolutely. This should have been the foundation for the word passion.

Have you heard people say ‘I want to follow my passion.’ Hey, that isn’t your passion, it’s your hobby. How can you pursue your hobby but totally neglect your responsibility?

Passion comes when you follow the process.

Any message for your readers?

There’s instant ramen, instant milk, and instant coffee, but there’s no such thing as instant success.

Success entails a process. And process requires intentionality, and discipline. You do that and you’re sure to arrive there.

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