Seeking out success secrets
Have you sought out the secrets of success and abundance in books, seminars or audio programs? I know I have. Since my late teen years I’ve been fascinated with any material intended for personal and professional development. A large part of the credit for who I am today is due to the many authors, teachers and mentors that I have studied over the years.
Success is not a secret.
The beautiful thing about the times in which we live is that many of the ultra-successful high achievers are more than willing to share what they know, what they have learned and how they came to be where they are today. You are in a position, if you so choose, to benefit from their experiences and be mentored by them, through a book, a magazine, a blog, a seminar or an audio interview.
We like to think we are learning someone’s secrets, but we are simply benefiting from the open book of knowledge they are making available to us.
You already know what you need to do
If you have been a student of personal and professional development then you already know what you should do, right here, right now. You have been given insight and understanding, both from your past experiences and personal study, to know what to do to overcome the challenges you face. Sometimes it just requires that you take a step back, take a deep breath and attempt to view your situation from a more objective standpoint.
Life and business is a succession of challenges to overcome; problems to solve. There are highs and lows, joys and sorrows. I believe part of the purpose of life is to become better and stronger today than we were yesterday. Of course, this is more easily said than done.
Sometimes you may just want to quit.
Why quitting is often harder than winning
One of the problems with quitting is all of the explaining, rationalizing and justifying that has to go along with it.
- If you quit your job you will need to go through the painful process of either finding another one or figuring out a different way to provide for yourself and those who rely upon you. What about all the time, energy and sacrifice required to get this far? Is it worth turning your back on it all just because you are having a bad day…or week…or month? No, in most cases it is not worth it.
- If you quit exercising you quickly lose the gains that you had made and will likely lose much of your vim and vigor as a result, too.
- If you quit your relationship you may suffer emotionally and might struggle to find someone better than the one you left behind.
The grass is not always greener on the other side and more often than not, you will be better off by blooming where you were planted, so to speak. Quitting takes a lot of work and often creates more problems than it solves.
When you are feeling down and ready to throw in the towel, remember the 11th Hour Principle, which is that the night is darkest just before dawn. Sometimes you are so close to breaking through to the other side and achieving extraordinary results; you just have to persist and stay the course.
Disclaimer: You may want to consider quitting anything that is clearly going to have long-term negative effects on your body, mind or spirit. You have to take care of yourself first and foremost before you can effectively serve others.
4 simple steps to winning
Winning is easier than quitting. Keep in mind that what is easy to do is also easy not to do, and therein lies the subtle difference between success and mediocrity. To win you focus in on what you want, ask what needs to be done to achieve it and then set about doing just that. You may not always like the actions that need to be taken, but deep down you already know what you need to do to win. It is just a matter of doing it.
1. Set SMART goals.
Set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound goals. Review them frequently as part of your daily and weekly planning sessions. Create a focused task list based on what you can do next to progress towards achieving the goals you have set. Make a list of the top five or six things that need to get done tomorrow then order them according to their importance.
2. Schedule your time blocks.
In conjunction with reviewing your goals and creating your priorities, plan out your days, weeks and months ahead of time, as much as you possibly can. Schedule in personal time, rest time, family/date time and vacation time first. Next, schedule in your time blocks. Ideally, these should be three to four hour blocks of time, each working day, where distractions are eliminated and you are able to focus on your priority task list, one item at a time, until the time block is over.
3. Honor your time blocks.
You live in the age of distraction, but it doesn’t mean you have to allow distractions to run your life. The forces of the universe may very well conspire against you in your efforts to block three to four hours of time for your most important priorities, but the good news is that you are strong enough to deflect most, if not all, of the distractions that come your way. It’s time to take your power back.
You can share with your family and colleagues what it is that you are doing. You can turn off your notifications or turn off your phone and computer entirely. You can disconnect from the Internet if you need to focus on tasks that do not require a connection. You can work from a different location than normal to ensure you can do your best work without unwanted distractions. Get creative and protect your time block at all costs.
4. Say no to everything else.
In order to successfully implement Steps 1-3 you will need to become a No Ninja. Your default answer should be, you guessed it, “No”. This one has been hard for me, but it is a sure-fire way to instill and restore confidence and power in your life. You own your life and you own your schedule. Period. It may not come easily and requires some real creativity, but figure out a way to say no to as many things as you possibly can. Doing so makes the select things you choose to say yes to that much more meaningful.
These concepts can be found in various books and magazines. I have most recently read about them in The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. Refer to the book for further insights and inspiration for getting your one thing done without interruption.
What matters at the end of the day is getting the results you want, personally, professionally, mentally and emotionally. You get what you want by doing things in a certain way; by thinking, planning and executing based on the goals you have set for yourself.
Now is the time to go and do it.