What does it take to win? What key disciplines produce success? Fortunately, the answer is not a secret. As it turns out, success leaves a blueprint.
Know Your Why
At the most basic level, people are motivated to avoid pain and experience pleasure. At the highest level, people are motivated to pursue a purpose greater than self. If your why is strong enough, you will forego pleasure and endure discomfort in order to fulfill your purpose. Know your why. Tap into the power of purpose. It is the source of your passion, determination, and courage.
Clarify Your Goals
Success requires goal clarity. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it. Clarity is power. When the goal is clear, it is much easier to identify the steps necessary to achieve it. But if you are fuzzy about the goal, the steps for achieving it will be fuzzy. Also, if you lack goal clarity, then obstacles and problems will throw you off track. Keep in mind that you operate at your best when your goals align with your purpose. Clarity drives commitment.
Focus Your Action
Focused action is the critical bridge between the outcomes you want and the outcomes you get. This is true in life and at work. Focus is the ability to filter out distractions and direct your full attention to what needs to be done to achieve your goals. A single act rarely produces success. Success is the result of the cumulative impact of focused action repeated over time. Three things are required to achieve any goal in life: Work the process, invest the time, solve the problems.
Own Your Attitude
Where your mind goes, you go. A distinguishing characteristic of consistently successful people is their ability to maintain a positive and productive attitude. Their mind is not cluttered or distracted by pessimism, negativity, or cynicism. As a result, they are able to focus their mental energy on exploring solutions, solving problems, and taking action in pursuit of their goals.
Attitude is the perspective—the mindset—that you bring to the pursuit of your purpose and goals. It is one of the few things in life that is totally under your control. Attitude doesn’t come from external circumstances; it comes from how you choose to see yourself and the situations you face. You are the architect of your attitude. A bad attitude distorts what you see, disrupts how you feel, and limits what you do. A productive attitude empowers productive action and problem-solving.
Success belongs to people who embrace change and adapt to new circumstances quickly. Often it is your ability to navigate change that determines what you achieve. Resisting or resenting change will not make it go away, but it will make it more difficult to deal with. Be flexible. Learn to adjust and make mid-course corrections as you pursue your mission. It is your responsibility to make the changes necessary to get the results you want.
Change is uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Do not equate discomfort with stress. Embrace the discomfort and make the changes you need to make. A rapidly changing world deals ruthlessly with people and organizations that don’t change. If you think adapting is tough, wait and see how difficult life becomes if you do not adjust and adapt!
Adversity is an inevitable part of life. No one wants it, but at some point everyone experiences it. When adversity strikes, don’t flinch. Don’t be surprised when there are obstacles, setbacks, and challenges. Persevering through adversity requires resilience, which is the ability to harness the inner strength to respond effectively when you get knocked down by life’s inevitable difficulties.
Resilient people don’t dwell on setbacks. They acknowledge the reality of the situation, they acknowledge how they feel, and then they focus their attention and energy on taking action to move forward and make things better. They get knocked down, but they always get back up. “More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails” (Harvard Business Review).
The storms of life will test you. Storms will test your courage. Storms will test your inner strength and resilience. Storms will test your mental toughness. When the storm hits, accept the challenge, tap into what is best in you, and stand strong.
Success leaves a blueprint — do the work.