Success is something we all strive for in today’s society. In defining success, the financial area of our lives tends to get the most attention. Nearly everyone has a desire to achieve some type of financial independence during his or her lifetime. Achieving success in our personal lives, including our relationships with family, friends and within the community, is also an important priority.
“How can I create success for myself in my individual circumstances?” is a question many people ask. The answer is more simple than you might guess. If we follow the same principles and concepts as others in similar circumstances who have achieved success, the chances are excellent that we will attain similar, positive results.
If we do not do something we know we should to help move us toward our goals, we are taking possibility out of the equation. We may be capable, but the possibility is slim to none that we will accomplish what we desire if we don’t actively pursue our goals.
What follows is a list of five master keys to achieving professional and personal success. If you have a strong enough desire to change your life, you can achieve your goals through hard work and persistence. These guidelines will help you focus your efforts.
1. Have mentors and role models.
When learning what you desire to know, you will need to build your network of both role models and mentors. Role models are people you respect for setting worthy examples. Mentors are people who take role-modeling to the next level by teaching you the details of who they are, how they think, what they have done, and why something is worth pursuing. You need both to achieve true, lasting success.
Mentors are teachers of life’s experiences. Effective mentors will:
- Help you pursue what is true. Mentoring provides a means of shortening your learning curve and accelerating growth on the job, in the community and within your family.
- Show you how to turn creeds into deeds. Mentoring shows you the way and helps you deal more effectively with the struggle to “walk your talk.”
- Teach you to use congruence to influence. Without congruency between creeds and deeds, thee is hypocrisy and no credibility. Mentors can be most influential by providing consistency between words and ways.
- Earn your deep respect. Mentors must practice what they preach. Mentors teach at a personal level and foster admiration and emulation.
2. Have goals.
A vision conveys the big picture of your life, not the details. It’s a general view of where you want to go. Goals, on the other hand, are specific, realistic lists of what you intend “to do” on your life’s journey. Goals provide short-term and long-term motivation. Don’t concentrate on business goals only. Be balanced and set goals within each of your primary interests in your professional and personal life.
Use the 7 Rs of goal-setting to help you focus your efforts:
- Respectable: Align your goals with high standards related to the vision of your life, or do not pursue them.
- Realistic: Don’t set yourself up to fail by creating a large, unrealistic wish list. Succeed at first by setting smaller, more realistic goals. As you gain confidence, pursue loftier ambitions.
- Record: Goals in writing provide a better system of accountability.
- Reduce to a Deadline: The difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline and a sense of urgency.
- Reflect Often: Subconsciously, you either see yourself succeeding or failing. Which will it be? Use visualization as a positive reinforcer.
- Relentlessly Pursue: Nothing happens without effort, so go for your goals with gusto.
- Responsibility: Unforeseeable hardships can attack even the boldest plans. Deal with unexpected challenges such as the death of loved ones, health problems or financial hardships, then resume the quest of your goals or reassess what you want out of life.
3. Get motivated.
Inspiration is about thinking. Motivation is about doing. It’s up to you to turn inspiration into motivation. To gain a greater quality of self-motivation:
- Read from a good book at least 15-30 minutes a day.
- Listen to educational, upbeat tapes each week.
- Attend at least one worthwhile seminar every three months.
- Network with a group of colleagues that meets at least semi-annually.
4. Abolish procrastination from your life.
Perhaps the greatest gap in life is the one between knowing and doing. It’s the procrastination gap. Procrastination is the subtle art of sabotaging your potential.
The procrastinator spends half a lifetime in limbo between thinking and doing. The result is overanalyzing and underachieving. Procrastination is the thief of life’s accomplishments. Procrastination prevents more people from creating the life they desire than any other single action.
5. Master change.
Will you master change or will it master you? You need to realize: no change is impossible; some change is impractical; most things do change; and with every change, there is an outcome to bear.
In order to really make change a reality, me must examine how we perceive what lies before us. It is not the actual change that most of us tend to resist. It is the perception of the change. People are essentially motivated by two things: pain and pleasure. If a person is convinced there is pain in staying the same or pleasure in changing, creating a desire to change that person’s life takes little effort. By learning to develop positive perceptions, you will learn to accept change more easily.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you are doing something? So many people continue to do something simply because they have done it that way for so long or because it worked that way in the past. Too many people concentrate on completing a task rather than evaluating why it is being done in the first place.
To continue the ongoing process of change, you need to step back and ask yourself, “Why?” Asking why promotes deeper thinking, thereby challenging us to question assumptions that can limit our potential. We then uncover waste and discover opportunities for improvement.
Without change, we limit ourselves in all areas of our lives. We must determine whether we are standing still or moving forward.
Think of the places you would like to go and changes in your life that you would like to make. Think of where you want to be in one year, five years, 10 years or 25 years from now. Write down those goals and place them in a conspicuous place where you will see them often. Then follow these positive rules of accomplishment:
Read the list three times a day.
Change the list as often as necessary.
Think of what you want as often as possible.
Do not talk to anyone about your goals or plans.
Now start acting on the list! Remember, a bend in the road is not the end of the road – unless you fail to make the turn. Begin doing the things now that you have put off for years. Be a progress maker and create the life you desire.