THE SUCCESS STRATEGY
99% of the success stories we hear about often began as a goal in the mind of the individual. No matter what our aspirations are – financial security, better relationships, career growth, great health and so on, they will never be realised until our point of departure is crystal clear goal of EXACTLY what we wish to achieve.
Why do we need clear, specific goals before embarking on an objective instead of just shooting off and banging away at an objective with only a vague or fuzzy idea of what we wish to achieve? Clear and specific goals do 3 things:
- Firstly, knowing exactly what you want makes it somewhat easier to come up with precise strategies to get you there. Without clear strategies, just about any “solution” will suffice and often times, because there is no clarity, people will expend much time and effort bouncing from one solution to next – leading to exasperation and finally quitting on the goal.
- Secondly, clear goals provide focus. Focus reinforces the discipline and commitment to see the goal through. I have found from experience with our students that once they set a clear picture in their minds of exactly what they wish to achieve, it often becomes difficult to get that picture out of their minds. Even when setbacks have been experienced, people with clear and specific goals are far more resilient and are more likely to bounce back much quicker than those with vague goals; and as any successful person will tell you, success is a function of focus and resilience.
- Thirdly, having specific goals provide a feedback mechanism that allows us to identify what’s working and what’s not – therefore allowing us to take corrective action much sooner. The sooner we are able to take informed corrective action, the faster we can achieve our goal.
The simple fact is this – successfully achieving any goal requires clarity, a plan of action, focus and commitment. If these are lacking, that goal will never be achieved and will only remain a fantasy.
I often advise that the most effective way of getting a vivid sense of clarity around the goal you desire to achieve is by getting a real life experience of what it would feel like to have achieved that goal. So go test drive that dream car you always wanted; every weekend, visit the house show showcasing that multimillion rand home you’ve always dreamed of; sneak into your boss’s office, seat in that comfortable leather chair and imagine running the business or your own business someday (just don’t get caught!), get picture cut outs of the type of body you wish to have and look at it every day; get videos of where you wish to travel to and watch those videos again and again and again. It works, trust me. Once, you’ve seen it, experienced it and felt it, this kick-starts something inside of you that motivates you and propels you faster toward achieving that goal – a vague wish will never have the same compelling and motivating impact. Once you feel how it would be to have achieved the goal, you will be surprised at how it will begin to positively impact and shift your behaviour and thinking as well as how your mind will begin to open up to possibilities and opportunities that will be the keys to the goal becoming realised.
At our motivational seminars, I talk a lot about what I call the “killer of dreams” – PROCRASTINATION! Success can only be achieved where there is constant momentum. People who succeed are always doing something and constantly taking action that is thrusting them towards their goals. The minute we begin to procrastinate on taking crucial action that we know is important for our dreams to become reality, we begin to sabotage our chances of success. So get to work, and resolve to take some sort of action daily that is aligned to your goal. Resolve to never let 48 hours go by, without you having taking some sort of “goal-related action”.
Secondly, without a plan of action around the goal, a lot of energy and time will be spent producing weak results. With very rare exception, most successful people got to where they are by planning, planning, planning. If you don’t know how you’re going to get there (or at least have some idea), guess what? You’ll never get there or worse still, you won’t know when you’re there! People become successful by intention not accident. Have some strategy of how you are going to achieve your goals and if you don’t have the slightest clue of how or from where you are going to start, hope is not lost. Research vigorously. Hop onto the internet and research how other people have achieved similar dreams as yours. See and learn how they did it. How did they think, what did they do, what were their beliefs, what challenges did they face, what mistakes did thy make, and most importantly, why did they succeed.
Finally, commitment and discipline is the glue that holds it all together. You may have clarity of vision, a super plan of action, but unless you are willing to go the long haul and commit body and soul, achieving the goal will remain impossible. You must always remember one thing – whatever idea, ambition, aspirations or goals you may have, there is always someone else, somewhere else with similar ambitions. They will face similar or worse challenges than yourself however in the end they will emerge successful. You know why? Simply because success must be earned and while it sounds horribly clichéd, the fact is that success goes to the person who wants it more, has a better plan of action, and is committed to keep going until the goal is achieved.
OUR CHALLENGES DEFINE US
I have sometimes been levelled with the accusation that I focus a lot on success in my talks and that I fail to realise that not everyone was meant to succeed because life can be extremely challenging for some.
Ok, I do accept the fact that the slant toward accomplishing success is predominant in my lectures; however, I strongly disagree with thinking that not everyone is able to achieve success and that life can be so challenging that success is an impossibility for some.
I talk about success as much as I do because I know first-hand what it’s like to experience seemingly insurmountable challenges, to be told once by a close family friend when I was younger that I would never amount to much, to hold a dead-end job, to be locked in the rat-race with no end in sight, struggling monthly to make ends meet, suffer personal and tragic loss, experience debilitating health issues, experience blistering frustration at seeing others excel while my life appeared to stand still, and to experience business failures.
I also know first-hand what it’s like to go through and overcome each and every single one of these challenges to the point where we’ve now built multiple successful businesses from scratch and life now holds seemingly endless opportunities. And yes, challenges of various forms still arise each and every day but I made a decision long ago that it is better to face the challenges head on, and to be in control of my own destiny than to become a victim of circumstance. Therefore, given the past and given the present, I prefer talking about success, thank you very much.
The reason, I share these personal experiences with you is that I do concede that life can be challenging, sometimes quite. I also agree that sometimes it will appear that every possible conceivable element is working against all your attempts to elevate your life and become more. I also agree that sometimes, the effort needed to take our lives to the next level and achieve our dreams can be so great that it appears impossible. However, I also believe that despite our challenges, despite our problems, we can CHOOSE (yes, choose) if we are going to succeed or remain victims of circumstance. We can choose, if we are going to allow the setback of life to relegate us to the mediocre or if we are going to reach deep down, refuse to be defeated and live the deepest dreams that burn deep within us. I know it sounds rather melodramatic, but that’s sincerely how I feel about the issue.
One gift we all have is “Time”, and how we choose to use the time will determine if we will succeed or fail. Even if we are not successful today, over time, the chances of achieving success are very much in our favour provided we keep pressing on, applying ourselves, learning from our mistakes and keeping focused on our goals. When we refuse to be defeated by life’s challenges, success becomes a matter of time and no longer a matter of destiny. The minute we give up, throw in the towel and “can’t go on anymore”, it’s all over. When we give up and choose to become victims of circumstance, success eludes us and failure becomes a matter of destiny.
Throughout the history of mankind and to the present day, millions of men and women have faced and continue to face incredible challenges and unbelievable odds, and yet succeeded. They did not yield to the overwhelming emotion to give up (and trust me, the feeling of wanting to give up can be powerful), but they realised two things – if they give up and do not achieve success now, then when? If they do not take responsibility for themselves and turn their own lives around, who will?
Do you also know the number one reason why these people did not give up even though it would have seemed like the logical thing to do at the time? They had a burning vision and ambition for their lives that was far bigger and greater than themselves and they remained true to this dream. When we have a dream or vision for our lives that are far greater than our current status in life, it makes it somewhat easier to go through challenges. Where there is vision, there is direction and focus. When you have a vision to do something great with your life, the vision takes centre place and challenges will tend to pale in comparison. When we face setback, it is the vision and the dream we hold onto and this is what pulls us through. Where there is no vision, there is no direction and even the smallest challenges will discourage us and relegate us to a life of mediocrity.
As clichéd as it sounds, I truly believe that “there can be no David without Goliath”, and it is our challenges that define us. I also believe that true measure of an individual is not so much in what they have accomplished; but rather what they were able to accomplish in their lives despite the challenges and setbacks they had to face.
Overcoming our challenges define us; and it is the grand vision for our lives that allow us to remain undefeated as we pass through those challenges.