Fact: Success is something of which we all want more.
Fact: Most people believe that success is difficult.
Fact: They’re wrong – it’s not!
Success isn’t really that difficult. There is a significant portion of the population here in North America, that actually want and need success to be hard! Why? So they then have a built-in excuse when things don’t go their way! Pretty sad situation, to say the least.
For those of you who are serious about having more, doing more, giving more and being more, success is achievable with some understanding of what to do, some discipline around planning and execution of those plans and belief that you can achieve your desires.
The Truth About Success
The first thing to remember about success is that it is a process – nothing more, nothing less. There is really no magic to it and it’s not reserved only for a select few people. As such, success really has nothing to do with luck, coincidence or fate. It really comes down to understanding the steps in the process and then executing on those steps.
There are basically six key areas to higher achievement. Some people will tell you there are four while others may tell you there are eight. One thing for certain though, is that irrespective of the number of steps the experts talk about, they all originate from the same roots.
From my perspective then, here are the six key steps:
1. Making the decision
2. Clarity – developing the Vision
3. Focus – having a plan
4. Commitment – understanding the price and having the willingness to pay that price
5. Belief – believing in yourself and those around you
6. Taking action – practice Ready, Fire, Aim…
Making the Decision
If success is a process with a number of defined steps, then it is just like any other process. So, what is the first step in any process?
Making a decision to do something – this is the first step. We all know that nothing moves until someone makes a decision. The first action is always in making the decision to proceed. This is a fundamental step, which most people overlook.
So, make the decision to move forward. Commit your decision to paper, just to bring it into focus. Then, go for it!
Having clarity of purpose and a clear picture of what you desire, is probably the single most important factor in achievement. Why is Clarity so important?
Without clarity, you send a very garbled message out to the Universe. We know that the Law of Attraction says that we will attract what we focus on, so if we don’t have clarity, we will attract confusion.
Consider the following analogy:
You are going on a cruise, but when the ship sets sail, you discover it has no rudder. What happens? One of 3 things will occur:
1. You will sail along until you collide with an immovable object, after which you will sink to the bottom
2. You will run aground and become hopelessly stuck in the mud
3. You will drift aimlessly until you arrive back at the original dock
Trying to go through life without clarity is similar to sailing a rudder-less ship – no good thing can or will happen!
The sad thing is the majority of people have no clue about what they truly want. They have no clarity. When asked the question, responses will be superficial at best, and at worst, will be what someone else wants for them.
So how do we get clarity? Simply by asking ourselves lots of questions: What do I really want? What does success look like to me? Why do I want a particular thing? How will this achievement change my life? How can I use this success to make a difference for others?
Introspection is the trick. Understand what you want, why you want it and what it will do for you. This is a critical factor, and as such, is probably the most difficult step. For this reason, most people never complete this aspect – then wonder why life is so difficult!
Once you have a clear understanding of what you want, it is critical that you engage in goal setting – specifically setting SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Sensitive – S-M-A-R-T. Knowing what you want and setting SMART goals as mileposts on your quest cannot help but give you clarity!
Focus is having the unwavering attention to complete what you set out to do. There are a million distractions in every facet of our lives. Telephones and e-mail, clients and managers, spouses and kids, TV, newspapers and radio – the distractions are everywhere and endless. Everyone wants a piece of us and the result can be totally overwhelming.
So, how can we stay on course with all the distractions in our lives? Willpower is a good start, but it’s very difficult to stay on track simply through willpower.
The best way is to develop and follow a plan. Start with your goals in mind and then work backwards to develop the plan. What steps are required to get you to the goals? Make the plan as detailed as possible. Try to visualize and then plan for, every possible setback. Commit the plan to paper and then keep it with you at all times. Review it regularly and ensure that every step takes you closer to your Vision and Goals. If the plan doesn’t support the vision then change it!
Along with your plans, you should consider developing an action orientation that will keep you motivated to move forward at all times. This requires a little self-discipline, but is a crucial component to achievement of any kind. Before starting any new activity, ask yourself if that activity will move you closer to your goals. If the answer is no, you may want to reconsider doing it at that time.
I coach my clients to practice the 3 D’s – Defer, Delegate or Delete. Can the particular activity be done later? Defer it! Can it be done by someone else? Delegate it! Does it need to be done at all? If not, consider deleting it! Posing these questions will help to keep you focused on what is truly important!
Commitment is something that comes from understanding that everything has its price and then having the willingness to pay that price. This is important because nobody wants to put significant effort into something, only to find out after the fact that the price was too high.
The price is something not necessarily defined as financial. It could be time, effort, sacrifice, money or perhaps, something else. The point is that we must be fully aware of the price and be willing to pay it, if we want to have success.
This is perhaps the single biggest obstacle that all of us must overcome in order to be successful.
We all carry a lot of baggage, thanks to our upbringing. The majority of people carry with them, an entire series of self-limiting beliefs that will absolutely stop, and hold them back from, success. Things like “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not smart enough”, “I’m not lucky enough”, and the worst, “I’m not worthy” are but a few of the self-limiting beliefs I have encountered. We carry them with us like rocks in a knapsack, and then use them to sabotage our success. So, how twisted is that?!?!
The old expression is absolutely true – whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right!
One of the main areas that I work on with my clients is shedding these non-supportive beliefs and replacing them with beliefs that will help them to accomplish their desires.
It is truly amazing the damage that we, as parents, can inflict on our children. So why do we do it? For the most part, we don’t do it intentionally or with malice. In the majority of cases, the cause is a well-meaning but unskilled or un-thinking parent, who says the wrong thing at the wrong time, and the message sticks – as simple as that!
And it’s not just parents that are the cause – teachers, friends, clergy members or anyone else that has influence in a child’s life can be a contributor to these self-limiting beliefs!
The bottom line is that we must shed the bad and replace with good beliefs.
“Nothing changes until something moves” – this is the battle cry of author and journalist Robert Ringer. And he is absolutely correct. Not all of the decision-making, clarity, planning, focus and belief in the world, will get you to where you want to be, without taking action!
Action – putting your plans into play – that is what will get you to the destination. Don’t get caught in the paralysis of analysis, or in the conundrum of Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim…
Get the oars in the water and start rowing. Execution is the single biggest factor in achievement, so the faster and better your execution, the quicker you will get to the goals!
So, there you have it; the six steps that will help you to the fabled land of achievement and success! You now have the opportunity to push ahead and reach your potential. No more excuses – make the commitment to take action TODAY!
Figure out what you want, put a plan together to achieve it, understand the cost, believe in yourself then go and get it!