• Sarah E. Brown

Defining Your Own Success Story with Paola Knecht


Success doesn’t have a specific shape, size, or form. We all have our own definition of success, but oftentimes, we get swayed by what we see on social media. It can unconsciously influence us.


So how can you avoid this hazard, and really commit to the life you’ve always envisioned for yourself?


Paola Knecht is a certified leadership, transformational, and self-development coach. She is the founder of My Mindpower Coaching & Consulting and author of the new book, The Success Mindset: Take Back the Leadership of your Mind.


In this episode, Paola talks about what success is and how we can shift our definition of success to something that we are passionate about instead of what we see from others.



What you will learn from this episode:

  • Find out how you can define your own success story instead of letting others define it

  • Learn powerful questions you can reflect on that can help you know more about what you really want

  • Understand the importance of having a vision in defining your own success



To really reach something you want, it is not enough to just recognize you're good at something, you have to work at it.
- Paola Knecht


Valuable Free Resource:



Topics Covered:


01:45 - To discover the meaning of your life, and your vision and something that goes beyond the race of accumulating things: Paola’s definition of what success really is


02:40 - Discovering the meaning of life and avoid losing the essence of yourself by looking inward instead of outward


03:44 - Paola explains why and how social media and other’s lifestyle contributes greatly to our own definition and understanding of success


06:49 - What are the things you love about yourself, your life and what do you love doing: Questions you can reflect on to define a vision of your life


08:13 - Not believing that you can make it: The biggest obstacle that gets in our way when making our goals a reality


09:26 - Paola shares the eighth pillar from her book and why talent alone won’t get you far, hard work will


11:11 - Take a break and some time offline: What you can do to start your journey to self-discovery and make your vision a reality


12:32 - Connect with Paola and see what she has to offer: my-mindpower.com


13:13 - One valuable free resource to help you on the road to self-discovery and take back the leadership of your mind: https://paolaknecht.lpages.co/the-success-mindset/


14:06 - A sprinkle of love and great advice from Paola and her book: You can and have the power to define your success story. And to not let other people tell you what these should look like. You can write your own story and find transcendence in doing it.



Key Takeaways:


“Success, when I come back to the essence of it, it's really to discover the meaning of your life, to discover your vision, something that goes beyond the race of accumulating things, or following a path that you did not consciously choose for yourself.” - Paola Knecht


“You have to look inward, instead of outward. We are distracted.” - Paola Knecht


“I believe, over time-- all these have a root cause. And I believe one of those is that we spend way too much time comparing ourselves to other lives and not paying enough attention to ourselves first.” - Paola Knecht


“It all starts with really going back to the basics and asking yourself, "What do I really love about my life, about me?” - Paola Knecht


“If I have an awareness about the things I love doing, and they are meaningful for me, then how can I connect that passion with some activity that I enjoy? Or how can I connect that to bring service to others?” - Paola Knecht


“We all have talents and bizarre gifts that come inherited and they are wonderful. And it's also great when we discover them and they can really bring us great surprises.” - Paola Knecht


“It's really about not underrating the value of hard work because that's what really brings you far.” - Paola Knecht


“To take the conscious decision to basically lockout, to take some time offline, and really take more time to discover who you really are, and what you're after.” - Paola Knecht


“If we really want to know ourselves better, we also have to invest time to know ourselves better.” - Paola Knecht


“You have the power to take back your own life. And for this is really to make the conscious decision to go on that journey of self-discovery. You can and have the power to define your success story. And do not let other people tell you what these should look like. You can write your own story and find transcendence in doing it.” - Paola Knecht



Ways to Connect with Paola Knecht



Ways to Connect with Sarah E. Brown



Full Episode Transcript:


Paola Knecht 0:00

You can and have the power to define your success story and do not let other people tell you what it should look like.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 0:09

Hello, everyone, welcome to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women, where we talk about challenges senior female leaders face in being happy and successful at work. I'm your host, Dr. Sarah E. Brown.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 0:36

My guest today is Paola Knecht. She is a certified leadership, transformational, and self-development coach. Offering insights from 15 years of work in leading-edge global corporations, including Viastris and Syngenta, Knecht is dedicated to helping people transform their professional and personal lives. She is the founder of My Mindpower Coaching & Consulting, and the author of the new book, The Success Mindset: Take Back the Leadership of Your Mind, which we're going to be talking about today. And she joined us today from Zurich, Switzerland. Welcome!


Paola Knecht 1:20

Thank you, Sarah. It's very lovely to be here with you today.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 1:25

So I love the way you start off your book by saying, "I propose that we take back the leadership of our own minds, to start consciously designing our own meaning of success." What a great way to kick things off! So let me just ask you, how do you define success?


Paola Knecht 1:45

Yeah, this is the central question of the book, of course. The result of many years of studying what success means, in general terms. And, for me, success, when I come back to the essence of it, it's really to discover the meaning of your life, to discover your vision, something that goes beyond the race of accumulating things, or following a path that you did not consciously choose for yourself. So the moment that you recognize that, and you say, "Wait a minute, this is not me," but instead, "This is me. This is what I like to do. This is what I want to reach. And this is my vision. I feel that I trust and sensed that my life has finally meaning"-- that's when I believe you have reached the real success.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 2:37

And so, for you, what is it that provides that meaning?


Paola Knecht 2:40

To me, it's very simple. you have to look inward, instead of outward. We are distracted. And, I think, since very early in our life, since we are little kids, maybe those times you have some glimpses about who you really are because you're not so worried about the world and about what other people think, or you're not following, really, social etiquette. You're just being yourself-- enjoying, playing, exploring, being curious. But then we grow up and then we start to follow norms, society, people, and then it goes to our job, etc. And I believe that essence gets lost on the way.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 3:28

And you talk a lot about a lot of our sense of success has come historically from what we see from Hollywood stars, famous athletes, and the like, but you think this is kind of harmful? Can you say more about that?


Paola Knecht 3:44

Sure. So if you look at the world today and what social media has brought us in general with the so-called "influencers" and the politicians that have a huge following. I mean, when you really look at what they're offering, it's a life that is not really realistic for, let's say, an average person. To showcase the latest trips to, I don't know, the Bahamas or the latest car or, you know, it's such a luxury life and then you- we have that in our nature to tend to compare our lives with others. And so, when you are so exposed, it's not just that you're exposed to the Hollywood stars or politicians or you're not influential people by just clicking images, but also many other people. So you spend so much time reviewing other lives and how they are doing that there is no time left for really analyzing yours and understanding, "Okay, what can I improve in my life?" And comparison tends to throw you a nice parallel of negativity and you start to think, "Oh, my life is not good enough. I don't have what they have," or "My life is not so exciting because I'm sitting at home while somebody else is having a great holiday in the Maldives." But what does this bring to you? What is valuable to get from this comparison? And so it's not by chance, I believe, that there are so many depression and mental health issues going on at the moment, because it's just people cannot handle such a way of constantly comparing, constantly being under pressure to impress others. And so that's why I believe that this is throwing off in a negative spiral where just consumption and not only of material things, also the increased intake of abusive substances, or intolerance towards others who have grown significantly, I believe, over time-- all these have a root cause. And I believe one of those is that we spend way too much time comparing ourselves to other lives and not paying enough attention to ourselves first.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 6:17

Well, I'm going to say that that's probably the biggest mistake that a lot of us make in trying to get clear about why we're here and what our purpose is. So what you do in that- what Paola does in this book is to define this overall process in terms of pillars. And the first pillar that she lists in her book is called "Discover Your Vision". So how can we go about defining a vision for our life? Give us a bit of a snapshot of that.


Paola Knecht 6:49

Sure, the first step is, really, to think about what are the things you love? It all starts with really going back to the basics and asking yourself, "What do I really love about my life, about me? And what do I really enjoy doing?" This is the central question. And then that triggers other questions that help you basically build that path. The second will be, well, if I have an awareness about the things I love doing, and they are meaningful for me, then how can I connect that passion with some activity that I enjoy? Or how can I connect that to bring service to others? And then that's how you can connect with a vocation. And when you do a step further, you say, "Okay, if I can connect what I love doing, and bring it at the service of others-" A question that goes more profound than that will be, "How can this profession and this passion, this love for what I do and what I can bring to others, how can I use this to contribute to making a better world?"


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 8:05

I get it. So what would you see as the biggest obstacle that gets in the way of making our goals a reality?


Paola Knecht 8:13

It's not believing that you can make it. I think this is really what tops most people that maybe you do have a vision. You discover what you really would love to do. For example, maybe your normal job is simply an administrative job in an office but you really would love to be an interior designer. And what is separating you from quitting your job and not getting into the designing world and really believing that is simply that-- that you don't believe yourself. You can do it.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 8:52

So it's like a self-limiting belief?


Paola Knecht 8:55

Exactly! And those are very, very hidden, but they're there, and the only way to find them is if I am aware.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 9:04

And is that what the pillars are designed to do? Is it to bring all of this to awareness?


Paola Knecht 9:10

Yes.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 9:10

So you've defined the book in terms of 11 pillars, and the eighth pillar was one that just struck my attention. It's entitled "Talent Alone Is Not Success." Say more about that. What does that mean?


Paola Knecht 9:26

Yeah. Sarah, I believe that you know, we all have talents and bizarre gifts that come inherited and they are wonderful. And it's also great when we discovered them and they can really bring us great surprises. But, unfortunately, to really reach something you want is not enough to just recognize you're good at something, you have to work at it.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 9:54

It is recognizing your talents, but it is then taking action and then doing something with it. Did I get that correctly?


Paola Knecht 10:03

Yes, correct. And there is a famous phrase that you might have heard already, that says, "Success is 1% perspiration and 99% is really the hard work." So 1% inspiration, 99% is perspiration.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 10:22

Right! That's the hard work part.


Paola Knecht 10:24

Yeah, it's really about not underrating the value of hard work because that's what really brings you far.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 10:34

Okay, got it! And that's what that pillar is designed to help us really get clear about. I get that now. So one of the things that you- just on the side, one of the things that you talk about is that a lot of what we see out there as success, and by out there, I mean, and just in the world, in general, is what we see on social media. And one of your pieces of advice is to tune it out and begin to shift more of our attention- these are my words, not yours- to who we are. How can you do that?


Paola Knecht 11:11

Well, simply, to make the conscious decision to basically lockout, to take some time offline, and really take more time to discover who you really are, and what you're after. It's a difficult thing to do nowadays because we are all connected 24/7 to social media. But if we really want to know ourselves better, we also have to invest time to know ourselves better. And this is not by just watching TV, or when I say reserve time for yourself, it's not that you can stay at home and just read some books, watch TV or get distracted, but it's really about sitting in silence. Take a piece of paper and write about yourself. Write what are your dreams? How do you see yourself in some years? What would you like to reach in this life? Even make yourself difficult questions, and the quality of the questions you make to yourself will bring you the same level of quality in your answers.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 12:21

Very good. Thank you for explaining that! Where could our listeners go to learn more about you and your book and maybe get some more good tips like this?


Paola Knecht 12:32

Sure, well, you can find me if you just basically Google me as "Paola Knecht", you will find the Amazon page where you can get the book or if you wish to get in contact with me, you can go to my-mindpower.com. And there, I will be very happy to get your message or hear from you. And I'm, of course, on the social media channels. If you just search for my name, Paola Kencht, you will find me there.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 13:03

And I believe that you're going to give me a landing page where people could download some of your tips and a portion of your book to get an idea of it?


Paola Knecht 13:13

Yeah, that's right! So for all your listeners, I have this free resource available. I will share it with you. And you can populate it, it's a landing page where they can download a free booklet. And this has many tips and exercises, also, that reinforce the idea of the pillars of the book, but also it has other source material that you can console from the different pillars. For example, how to get the balance of body, mind, and spirit, or how can you develop a winning self-image among other feats and exercises.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 13:55

And I will put that URL in the show notes. Paola, one final thing, what would be one piece of advice you would hope your readers take away from reading your book?


Paola Knecht 14:06

If I could just take away one single sentence is that you have the power to take back your own life. And for this is really to make the conscious decision to go on that journey of self-discovery. You can and have the power to define your success story. And to not let other people tell you what these should look like. You can write your own story and find transcendence in doing it.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 14:39

Very good advice! And to all of you listening, I commend the book, The Success Mindset: Take Back the Leadership of Your Mind, which as Paola has expressed today, actually helps you take back control of your life, as well. Thank you so much for being with me today!


Paola Knecht 14:58

Thank you, Sarah! It was a pleasure and was very fun talking to you.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 15:03

Thanks for listening to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women. If you like what you're hearing, please go to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave a review. And if you would like more information on how we can help women in your organization to thrive, then go to www.sarahebrown.com. You can sign up for our newsletter, read show notes and learn more about our podcast guests, read my blog, browse through the books or contact us for a chat. Goodbye for now!

 

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