EP #2 – The secret of success



Executive coach Terez Rijkenberg is an MBA graduate, author, speaker, and facilitator who blends productivity and mindset strategies to give busy executives simple ways to overcome procrastination and self-doubt. Terez is passionate about helping people achieve more success without all the stress so that they can create the ultimate life-work balance.

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In this episode, we will be discussing the secret of success.

And no, it’s not any of these:

  • Having a lot of money to invest in your goals
  • Having a lot of time to invest in your goals
  • Having support from the people around you
  • Having everyone always say “yes” to help or buy from you

It’s something we all have access to and something we all can do and do well with practice.


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Hello and welcome to episode 2 of Less Stress and more success. 

So if you’re listening or watching either live or on replay, share with me in the comments, what success do you most want right now? If you’re listening on podcast, then head on over to my website terezrijkenberg.com/2 to comment on the podcast page.

So in this episode, I’ll be chatting about the secret of success – and what I’m about to share with you is probably not what you’re thinking.

For many of us, we’ve been taught that success means you need to be disciplined; and you need to be organised; you need to be dynamic and confident; you need to work hard. Or having lots of money and support and time.

And yes – to any extent those things do come into play. But there is something underlying all of those. And if you are able to focus on just this one thing that I’m about to share with you then discipline; confidence; productivity; hard work etc will be easy and a natural by-product.

The secret of success has everything to do with feelings. Yes – feelings.

How often do you take notice of your feelings? How often do you think about using your feelings for your success?

For such a long time I never considered feelings at all – in fact, I used to try and avoid them altogether. I used to think that they were fluffy and inconsequential – and quite frankly they were just going to get in the way of my success. So I would resist them, avoid them and try and fix negative feelings as quickly as I could.

If you’re like I was and probably like most people you maybe haven’t considered your feelings in the equation of success.

But here’s why feelings are important and the key to our success in life. 

There are actually two reasons:

Firstly because of everything you want in your life. The success you want. The goals you want to achieve. The money you want to have. Maybe you want fame. Or That nice car – Tesla would be great. Maybe it’s the travel you want to do. Whatever it is that you want to be, do and have in your life is because of the feeling you believe it will generate for you.

Everything we want in our lives is because of a feeling.

We think those things will bring us happiness. We anticipate that it will make us feel good about ourselves. Maybe You believe that becoming the CEO or the doctor or lawyer will make you feel more in control of your life, or maybe it will make you feel proud; or powerful or motivated

Everything we want for ourselves – all of the success we want for ourselves is because of a feeling we want to feel.

When I realised this it was like “mind… blown”!

So the first step on your journey to success is to ask yourself: “What do I most desire to achieve?” And then to ask: “What will it make me feel?

Let’s say, your desire right now is to be able to run a marathon – and the core feeling that it will bring to you is “energised”. Now you may have a number of feelings that you will feel in the achievement of this goal, but for simplicity, we will just focus on one.

Now the funny thing is this – in order to train for your marathon, in order to get up early and run every day; make sure you’re eating well and taking the time for stretching – you will also need to feel energised

So actually the attainment of your goal is just practising the feeling that you want to get from the attainment of your goal! – Let me repeat that.

In order to achieve your goal – you just need to practice the feeling that you want to get from the achievement of your goal!

Let me give you another example – let’s say you want to do Ted Talk – because it will make you feel proud of yourself. What you need to be practising every day to prepare for that talk is pride in yourself; pride in your skills and capabilities – pride to sell yourself in order to get chosen and then pride in yourself to present your talk confidently to an audience of people. 

If we can get better at practising and deliberately generating the feelings we want to have through the achievement of our success – we can then achieve our success faster. It’s just about the daily practice of those feelings.

The second reason why feelings are so important for the success we want in our lives is because everything that we look to avoid happening in our lives is also a feeling.

Feelings like fear of failure; rejection; stress; shame; pain; overwhelm; worry; discomfort.

And yet – in order to experience the success we want, we have to be willing to feel those feelings too.

For most people creating success requires you to do something you’ve never done before. And when you have never done something before you have to open yourself up to failure and all of those other feelings – what we sometimes call negative feelings.

Actually, I prefer to call some of those negative feelings “growth feelings” because they remind me that these feelings and emotions are normal – they’re just part of my growth process.

Now, something else to consider is… the worst thing that can happen on your road to success is actually just a feeling.

For instance, think about doing that Ted Talk to hundreds of people. And maybe at the end, the audience ends up booing you off the stage. That’s a pretty worst-case scenario and most likely won’t happen. But the worst thing about even that scenario is possibly the shame or embarrassment that you feel. That’s it. That’s the worst thing. A feeling.

Shame; embarrassment; bruised ego; rejection – all just feelings. Just a feeling in the body – like a hollow sensation in your tummy or a lump in your throat.

That’s the worst thing that can happen.

So then you can ask yourself: “are you willing to feel those uncomfortable growth feelings?”

And when I say willing to feel them, I mean, not trying to avoid them or cover them up – but rather to notice them and then label them “ok this is disappointment – it’s a growth feeling – it’s ok”.

And also not to try and make them go away – for instance very often when we are feeling these growth feelings we look for comforts to make us feel better – like Netflix; or sugary foods or alcohol etc.

Let’s go back to our TedX goal example – the goal where you want to feel pride in yourself – and before you even get on stage you have to pitch your talk to the TedX foundation and they come back to you, and maybe you get a rejection letter. At that moment you may feel rejected.

Our brain’s normal reaction would be to try and make that feeling go away. We start to look for a way to comfort ourselves out of that feeling. And so we might stop working on our talk; we might stop working on our goal altogether and maybe even stop working on other goals and opportunities in other areas of our life – so that we don’t have to feel rejection anymore.

We might also, at that moment, want to eat something sugary that temporarily tastes and feels good; or spend more time watching Netflix; scrolling social media or drink a bit too much alcohol – to “drown our sorrows” so to speak.

But by covering up that feeling of rejection you are essentially covering up any opportunity to feel pride in yourself. Because stopping going after your goals; eating sugary foods; spending too much time on Netflix and social media and drinking too much alcohol for most if not all people won’t add to the PRIDE we want in ourselves.

But by allowing yourself to feel rejection – owning it – knowing you can feel it and move forward anyway – that’s what will generate even more pride in yourself.

Now far be it from me to take away some of your comforts – but I’d like you to notice if you’re using these to cover up a growth feeling – and to rather let yourself to be able to feel it – because if you can get better at feeling growth feelings then nothing stands in your way of success. You’d be willing to do and feel anything – success will be inevitable.

In fact, what this means is that we can also start intentionally practising these growth feelings too. Think about going to the gym – we willingly go to the gym knowing that for a time we are going to feel out of breath or physically in pain – we do this because we know it will help our muscles grow and our fitness to get better. And it does.

And experiencing that temporary pain actually gets easier after a while. In the same way, we can intentionally practise feeling failure or deprivation or rejection or embarrassment but taking risks – by showing up. By going after your goals. By doing the things that will push you out of your comfort zone. Are you willing to deliberately feel those feelings?

The thing about feelings that I want to mention is that we don’t need to react from them – we are also able to feel them without allowing them to show up. For instance, we all think that to feel rejection we need to close ourselves off to the world not speak to anyone, or maybe we start to complain about the people who rejected us. And yet this isn’t true.

We can feel rejection without showcasing it. We can just observe it and label it to ourselves and be ok. In the same way in the gym when you’re in pain from doing 100 squats in a row – you don’t throw yourself on the floor screaming about the pain. You just breathe into it.

We can breathe into our growth feelings too. Identify them and breathe into them.

So if you intentionally practice feeling failure; rejection; deprivation; shame; sadness; disappointment; discomfort in the context of your goal then you can get success faster and also with a lot less struggle. 

So if we look at these two secrets of success:

  1. That success is just a feeling, and
  2. The worst thing that can happen is also just a feeling

Then all we need to do is start practising feelings – both the positive and the growth feelings intentionally. Get better at generating those feelings and feeling those feelings and then success is yours.  

The great thing about this process of practising feelings is that it will feel like success right now – you won’t need to wait for the achievement of your goal.

Ok – I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. Share with me in the comments below, and if you need more help with success, productivity, mindset and innovation for yourself or your team then reach out to me via email: that’s hello @ terezrijkenberg.com

You can also email me to request a free 30min mini-strategy session to get less stress and more success in your business and for your life.

Bye for now!

Your coach,


Want to know more about how this can apply to YOU?

Why not sign up for a FREE 30-min consultation with me. We will explore your goals, the obstacles that are currently getting in the way and how you can overcome them. It's easy once you have a strategy.

Want to know more about how this can apply to YOU?

Why not sign up for a FREE 30-min consultation with me. We will explore your goals, the obstacles that are currently getting in the way and how you can overcome them. It's easy once you have a strategy.