Why is it that some people thrive in their professional lives and others don't?

I asked myself this question 11 years ago when I had a major career crisis while working at Google. I felt lost in my ability to navigate decisions and had little understanding of what really mattered when it came to success. I thought the people who were getting ahead were just lucky. Or smarter.

Fast forward to today, and I've built my business around this very question--and its answer. After spending years researching and trying out everything I learned, I created my own methodology that makes success nearly foolproof.

Throughout my research, and from working with hundreds of entrepreneurs and executives, it was liberating to learn that success isn't something for the few, nor is it reserved for the luckiest or smartest. In fact, real success has very little to do with any of those things. The critical component to achieving true success is something we weren't taught in school. It starts with knowing who you are, building confidence, and persevering through failures.

Start by seeking to understand these three things about yourself:

1. What challenges you intellectually?

You must understand what drives you intellectually and know the type of thinking or problem-solving that you're best at. I call this your genius. It's your mental superpower, and, believe it or not, everyone has one.

When you're aware of what you're great at (versus bad at or even just good at), success becomes easy to navigate. You just have to make sure you're tapping into what you're great at, over and over again, then focus on the types of work and opportunities that let you use it most frequently. Here's a process that will help you identify your genius, so you can ensure you're using it in your daily life. 

2. What gives you meaning?

I call this your purpose, which is the impact on others or the world that's most meaningful to you. In order to have endless energy for work, especially when persevering through failures, you must be intrinsically motivated. The most successful people never run out of energy for their work, because they feel they've found their calling. Discovering your purpose will help you figure out what your calling is. In order to figure out your purpose, you have to be willing to dig into your own background and psychological baggage. It's not necessarily fun, but doing this will help you discover how to get something we all want: fulfillment at work. These two tactics will help you get started.

3. What causes lack of confidence and how to address it?

Struggles with confidence are incredibly common. In fact, everyone--and I mean everyone--struggles with a lack of confidence in some way. However, successful individuals learn how to manage their insecurities and build confidence. That's the only difference between those who succeed and those who don't.

Start by noticing what typically causes your confidence to dive. What's at the root of it? Figure out what negative messages you're telling yourself in those moments that are fueling your lack of confidence. Then, see if you can actively reverse them or reframe your perspective by telling yourself the opposite. 

For example, if you realize you often tell yourself, "I'm not smart enough to be leading this team," see if you can reframe that to: "I'm the leader of this team, and I'm here for a reason. I have important strengths I bring to the table." 

Building confidence is like going to the gym for the brain--you have to practice it over and over before it sticks. This three-month plan will help you get there.

If you're struggling to feel like you have the kind of success you want, start with the three steps above and dive in wholeheartedly. Once you get clear on what challenges you intellectually, understand what type of impact makes you feel fulfilled, and build a foundation fierce with confidence, the possibilities for success truly are endless.