How do you define success? Or wait, back up. Forget the “how” – the question is Do you define success?
That’s where Melissa Burrow wants us to start in her book, Chasing Bentleys: The Power of Accountability in Achieving Your Goals. Because no matter how hard we grind, Burrow says only after we define success for ourselves can we actually achieve it.
There are a lot of people out there who want to define (or who we’re just letting define) success for us … our parents, other relatives, our boss, other coworkers, advertisers, the Kardashians, Instagrammers – in fact, pretty much anyone these days, due to social media.
It can leave anyone feeling a bit overwhelmed. How do we keep up with all those Joneses? Make all those people happy?
We can’t, and we’ll be exhausted if we try.
According to Burrow – a 20-year leader in automotive – we can’t even hold ourselves fully accountable, because the vague notions of success laid out for us don’t necessarily ring true for us. We haven’t agreed to them. We don’t have any stake in the game. We end up … chasing Bentleys: big houses, flashy partners, power, or just about anything else.
“Everyone is chasing something. Whatever your ‘Bentley’ is, make sure it’s something you truly want, and then take accountability and create actionable steps to get the result you desire,” Burrow says.
To define success for ourselves, Burrow says that first we must know what makes us happy and what we’re good at, and then take steps to implement it into our daily lives. Another way of putting it is that we can only be held accountable for our actions (i.e., taking steps – not some vague notion), and for action, we need to know and resonate with our goal.
Throughout Chasing Bentleys, Burrow shares examples from her own life to illustrate important steps in becoming accountable. She isn’t ashamed of her mistakes (learning experiences!), nor does she shy away from showing vulnerability. Both lend authenticity and power to her words.
For example, despite the automotive industry’s reputation as being male-dominated, Burrow found exceptional success by society’s measure in her first job: selling cars. She pushed herself to succeed, reading every book she could on selling cars, working six days a week, and being the first person to arrive at the dealership and the last to leave.
She was slamming Starbucks and skimping on sleep. She was also selling more cars than her peers.
When an “opportunity” popped up to work several Sundays (her seventh workday of the week), Burrow jumped at it, seeing it as a chance to further prove her value.
She was 25, and that first Sunday she had a health scare that “changed the course of [her] life.” Through it, she learned how to create work-life balance by setting boundaries and making her health a priority. Perhaps most importantly, she learned how to define success herself.
In 161 concise pages, Burrow offers clear steps to success through accountability. She tackles familiar obstacles head on, like people pleasing, living/working in structured chaos, holding onto the past, and letting ego issues run our daily decisions. She teaches us how to surround ourselves with the right people, how to give ourselves the approval we seek from others, how to dream big, and of course how to reach our goals.
Peppered in are actionable “Accountability Steps” for the reader to take, giving us perhaps our first steps toward realizing the power we have over our own journey.
This is a book I’ll be picking up again and again for gentle yet potent reminders that only I can define success for myself and take actions to reach it.
More About Burrow
Burrow started selling cars at age 20 while attending college. It wasn’t long before she was leading in sales at the dealership. At 21, she moved into finance, spent a year learning F&I, attended finance school, and soon replaced the F&I director. She spent the next 12 years working in F&I departments for different dealer groups representing different OEMs.
Shortly after having her daughter, she was offered a platform executive corporate director role managing the F&I departments of a 30-store group. Later, as the GM of National Park CDJR FIAT-ORR Auto Group, she increased gross profit by 383 percent while doubling unit sales within one year. She is now VP of Sales at EFG Companies.
Burrow is passionate about changing the culture of business both inside and outside the automotive industry to create leaders who embrace accountability and foster positive, productive work environments. She’s also an accountability coach, helping people live their best life by creating strategic action plans to achieve their goals.