Do you think success is easy? Here’s the winning formula.
1. Create a compelling vision
Spend time creating a compelling vision for your future. One that inspires you, that excites you, that motivates you. Imagine it with your senses. What will it look like as you achieve your dreams? Who will be around you? What will you be doing? Where are you? What do you feel, see, taste and hear?
Take time to do this and write it down. Research has shown that writing things down engages more of the brain, including the emotional and memory centers, and helps to move you from contemplation and into action mode. You want to take action towards your dreams, don’t you?
2.Hard work and overcoming obstacles
You have to work hard and apply effort to accomplish anything in life. No handout in life gets you what you want. If it were that easy, you would have already won the lottery several times! Hard work, effort, and overcoming obstacles are the keys to weaving your dreams and vision into reality.
I chair the Capital Region Youth Justice Team and we were fortunate to have been able to have Dr. John Lyons from the University of Chicago consult with us on developing a strategic plan focusing on trauma. One of the participants asked him about his response to the fact that many youth in the juvenile justice system had no opportunities and as a result had no way to get ahead in life. He had a great response. He pointed out that the answer was the same for these youth as it was for everyone else. Work hard. He told a story about working in an institution after receiving his Ph.D. and having crap (literally) thrown at him most days. He’s now a world famous expert. His point wasn’t that many people don’t have big disadvantages in life in terms of social connections, finances, resources, etc. It was that the path out is still the same – Hard work and effort.
So, how do you get yourself to work hard and to overcome obstacles?
There are three main ways:
1. Learn to have an action orientation no matter how you feel. So, feel your feelings and move forward toward your goal.
2. Do step one repeatedly – this literally re-trains the brain and builds neural circuitry towards taking action. It’ll also make you feel better emotionally (supported by mountains of research).
3.Break your goal into small steps, so small that you have no excuse to not do it, and when you have a setback go back to step one and take action.
Oprah Winfrey reads, Bill Gates reads, Warren Buffet Reads, shouldn’t you? Develop a view of yourself as a life-long learner. Too many people stop reading and stop learning other than what is necessary for their job. Be different than that. All top leaders are readers! It comes with the territory, in fact, it’s an open secret. So, learn, study and improve your mind and skills any opportunity you can. Don’t have the time?
Do you drive to work? Do you shower? Do you exercise? Listen to an audio book.
Do you take a lunch break at work? Get up, stretch your legs and read.
Find the right strategy to use to accomplish your vision and goals. Study what has worked for other people in your situation. Study people who have overcome obstacles. Identify experts who can help coach, mentor and assist you to achieve your goals.
Get feedback. Seek out feedback from people who have accomplished what you will achieve in the future. Set aside time on a regular basis to reflect on what is working to help you move towards your goals, what needs to be discarded and what needs to be “tweaked”.
Every person defines success differently, but the process to achieve success is the same for everyone.