Success is an interesting thing. It can seem so elusive at times. Perhaps you've had the experience of pursuing success only to find it slipping away. Is there an answer to this problem? Is there a way of increasing your chances for success? I believe there is, which is good news. The even better news is that it's not complicated! I don't know about you, but given the choice between simple and complicated, I'll usually go for simple, especially if simple works. This simple list works. It's the process I teach my coaching clients and the one I use for my own life.
Step 1: Know your values
You simply must know what's important to you. If not, you're very likely to pursue something that really doesn't fit with your values. If you do that, one of two things will happen. You'll either fail to achieve it because your heart isn't in it and your subconscious will sabotage your efforts, or you'll get it and be unhappy with the results. There are a lot of tools out there that will help you determine your values. Many of them can be found on the internet. Others can be provided to you by a coach. Whichever method you choose make sure you know what matters to you so you can get what you really want. Also, remember that dream lists, mission statements and vision statements come at this stage.
Step 2: Know that you're responsible
You are where you are because of the decisions you've made up till now. Don't despair! That's true for all of us and it's really good news! Think about it. Regardless of how my life has turned out so far, if it's that way because of my decisions then all I have to do to change my life is change the kinds of decisions I make. I don't have to fret and worry about all the many things I can't control, I only have to accept the responsibility for making better decisions. If responsibility isn't already on your values list, you should put it on there now.
Know what you believe
The things you know (and the way you let them affect you) have a powerful influence on what you are able to do. So, take inventory of what you know and what you believe about it. This is important because you can't do or act on everything you know. You have to pick what's important...what's most in keeping with your values. Then, you can act on those things.
Know how you feel
In spite of what some people might think, being aware of your feelings is not “fluff.” Being aware of your feelings or attitude toward other people, events and institutions is vital because of the the way they affect your interaction with them. I frequently tell the story of an independent contractor I met who would like to own his own clinic. The problem is, he is quite clear that he hates money. While he doesn't have to love money in order to be a successful business owner, his hatred of the thing he needs to start or buy his own clinic stands in the way of getting what he says he wants.
Know what to do
This is when you set your goals. I recommend SMART goals because they include the elements you need to make sure your goals are well designed to take you where you want to go. In addition to the elements of SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and with a time element) your goals should include the specific steps you'll take to achieve them and barriers to achieving them. In addition, you should list solutions to each barrier. Make sure you include your “why” for each goal. “It just seems like a good idea” is seldom sufficient to motivate you to achieve a goal. Make it something that matters to you. Finally, make sure you track the actions you said you'll take to reach the goal. After all, if you don't track it, how will you know if you're actually doing it? It's not enough to say “I'm tracking it in my head.” That seldom works. Put it on paper.
Know your results
More tracking. You absolutely must track your results. That's the only way to know if your actions are producing what you want. Are you doing the right actions? Are you doing enough of them? The answers to these questions are found in tracking your results. It answers the question “What am I getting from what I'm doing?”
Live your lifestyle
This is why we do all the “stuff” in steps 1-6! Lifestyle is the pay off. It's the realization of the vision statement. It's doing the things on the dream list. Lifestyle is not primarily about money. Lifestyle is about time. How will you spend your time? What will you do? With whom will you share your time? These are lifestyle questions. If the lifestyle you want is owning and operating an organic farm in Oregon, that's why you've done 1-6. Likewise, if your desired lifestyle involves a Park Avenue apartment. The nice thing about lifestyle, though, is that you can begin to experience it now. Perhaps not fully and certainly not at the expense of living it long term, but in some smaller way. So, schedule and budget in some lifestyle thing that does it for you. Life can be enjoyed and appreciated for what you have while you work toward what you want.
Contrary to what some people might have you believe, success is not a secret. Nor is it something that “just happens.” It's something for which you plan and toward which you work. Napoleon Hill's definition of success encompasses all that. He said “success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” Every step you take on the way to what you want is success. There aren't an endless number of steps, just 7. Why not start today by taking the first one?