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What’s the ONE key to success?
It starts with clearly defining what success means to you. It’s focusing on your goals and not giving up, no matter what.
For Mother Theresa, it meant caring for the most destitute people that she could find. Athletes often define success by championships or personal objectives. A social activist might consider success a good campaign or a change of policy.
Regardless of how you define it, you must take the time to decide what that looks like. How do you define success in your life? What is your goal for that next race or for that next meeting? Make a clear definition of what success will look like in that situation. It is then that you will know if you nailed it, or if you need to refocus and go back into training.
But what will it take to get there? If you are sitting on the couch, eating chips and seeing others succeed while you watch the latest entire season of this or that show, you will NOT get there.
The number one key to success is to FOCUS.
Make a plan to get there and then take action to achieve it. Here’s how.
1) Create a plan.
This takes time. You cannot simply wing your way to success. I have seen folks who have had small victories accidentally – but real, lasting, and fulfilling accomplishment comes from achieving something that you have dreamed of for years.
Study how others have succeeded in a similar quest as yours.
Talk to others about your dream. In our modern world, we have access to multiple mediums to learn more about how to achieve success. Take advantage of those resources. Observe others who are in the same quest. Think in small bites. Every bite comes with its own feeling of accomplishment, and with that comes motivation and hope.
Work out as many details as you can think of. Study others who have aimed at the same thing and failed. What did they do wrong? Was there whole plan flawed from the beginning? Most likely, they had no plan so you are already ahead of them. Think of physical and mental components to your target. Consider how this impacts your friends and family. It would be a real bummer to achieve your success and discover that you are all alone.
Once you have the details, give yourself deadlines by setting dates. Those dates need to be reasonable but challenging. The planning process is a time to push your mind. Consider possible obstacles and what you are going to do when they appear. Trust me: they will come. Decide now that you will face these with courage and optimism. You will NOT quit.
The key to success might be focus, but don’t forget to believe in your dreams. What will you do when unexpected events take place? Again, decide before you start that nothing will stop your success; nothing will stop you from believing.
When I was in high school and had assignments, term papers, and essays to do, teachers would routinely recommend writing it and then letting it sit for a couple of days before you review it and make corrections. I would have done that – if I was not typically finishing it the day it was due. But for the blueprint of accomplishing your dream, you need to let it sit for a few days.
This is difficult, I know. You just worked up a path to success and now you are not running full speed toward it? But when you come back to it, you will find flaws that you never noticed before. You can make corrections and adjustments before you even start.
Falling down after you start can be devastating to your motivation level. Experience tells me that you will not find all of the flaws until you are in the midst of the plan and fail a few times. As you review the plan and rework it, enjoy yourself. In essence, success is fun!
Now the daring part of developing your plan: tell someone about it. Find your best friend or a family member that won’t laugh at you. They may give cautions and that is good, but no laughing. You have a written plan and now you are enlisting others to help you remain motivated as you strive to move forward.
2) Take action.
That written plan is beautiful and exciting – but if it only gathers dust, it will never come to life. The words alone will not get you to success, only YOU can do that.
If your plan includes a schedule, start living it. You may need to push away the cheesecake or you may have to wake up earlier than normal. It is possible that for a season, you will be working two or more jobs. From day one you may feel a pull to abandon the dream.
Again: the key to success is focus. As you already determined in your plan that you are going to succeed, you can overcome this pull. Take the first step. Make no excuses. Simply live the plan that you have so painstakingly developed. Each day you live the plan you will get stronger.
As you move forward, you will learn new things; but you will also encounter injuries and other distractions. Do NOT let that set you back. Go back to your plan and rework it with the new information, or adjust to take the distraction into consideration.
Every great success has a moment that you will wonder if it was all worth it. That is your moment. That is your success. Push through that pain. Don’t quit and you will soon again find that passion that you had when you began this process. The key here is to keep moving forward.
3) Achieve it.
You just finished your first marathon, or you got the job of your dreams. Now what?
Take a moment and celebrate. Enjoy the victory. Call in all of those who helped you get there and celebrate with them. Offer thanks and enjoy. The next morning though, it’s time to start working on a new plan. How much faster can you run the marathon? Could you run an ultra?
Many have had your job before. What will be your success that sets you apart from all of the others? Remember what it felt like to achieve. When you build on that victory, it will feel even greater. Repeat until you are out of life.
Envision it right now. What does it look, smell, taste, sound and feel like to achieve your success?
Live in that vision for just a moment. Maybe it’s a small accomplishment like staying calm when your boss asks a difficult question, or something bigger like facing down a bully. But when you create a plan and focus on it, the odds of you achieving your dreams are high.
Hopefully, you will get to rewrite where you are heading. Just don’t forget that the key to success is simply to focus.