breaking news
Healthy Food Factory Commissary Commercial Kitchen in Boca Raton, OUR KITCHENS ARE AVAILABLE 24/7/365 - Call (561) 394-7466 - Healthy Food Factory Commissary Commercial Kitchen in Boca Raton, OUR KITCHENS ARE AVAILABLE 24/7/365 - Call (561) 394-7466
Sign up for Newsletter







Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  The Secret of Success is Knowing There is None
. . . . . . .
Friday, January 4,2019

The Secret of Success is Knowing There is None

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  
I spoke to a group of undergraduates at my alma mater, the State University of New York at Geneseo, for their GOLD program’s “Pearls of Wisdom” series. The program prepares students for leadership roles in college and beyond through workshops and lectures. The theme was “The Secret to Success.” Preparing for this forced me to take a candid look at my own leadership style to garner what “pearls” I could from my 26-year career that would speak to a young, hopeful audience at the beginning of theirs.


This was challenging considering I haven’t done anything that I would consider speechworthy. I haven’t started a charity or volunteered for the Peace Corps; I’m not a CEO of a high-tech company; I haven’t run for office or published a book (at least I hadn’t at that time). I teach. I parent. I continue to learn and grow. I chase my dreams. I work hard and play hard and try to “be the change I wish to see in the world.” But those sound more like refrigerator magnets than secrets to success. So, what’s my secret? Success, to me, means living a life that feels rewarding and carries us through to an end where we are not full of regret or yearning when it is over. There is no single secret to success, though I completely empathize with the desire to learn one.

We all want answers. I’ll never forget calling home during my sophomore year in college, distraught because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had received a notice that it was time to declare a major. More inclined to hand out relationship advice than career advice, my mom handed the phone to my dad, who said in a voice so calm it made me crazy, “I can’t tell you what to major in. Only you can decide what is right for you.” We went back and forth , my whining that , “I know you can’t tell me, but I have no idea, so just tell my what you think... please!” He wouldn’t budge. He asked pointed questions like, “What do you enjoy?” and “What classes have you found the most interesting?” But I wanted the secret recipe that was going to guarantee me 100 percent success toward an amazing job that would pay me tons of money, so I could fulfill my dreams of living in a big city, where I would walk to work in my suit and sneakers carrying a briefcase full of very important work. What that work would look like, however, was anyone’s guess at that point. I remember feeling so pressured to make the right decision. Following my heart didn’t seem like enough at the time. I needed to know the secret to success, to which my wise father replied, “There is no secret. What is right for one person is not right for another. The only one who can make these decisions is you.”

What?! No secret? No answers?

My dad forced me to take a leap of faith with his confident reassurance that I could always change my mind. I’ve learned it’s not the microdecisions that matter. If, on a macro level, your life is headed in a direction that feels fulfilling, you’re on the right path. The bestkept secret to getting “there” is realizing that there is no secret other than faith in the process.


  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5