What does it take to succeed? That is the million dollar question. Different goals require different steps to success but are there some general guidelines that can be universally applied? Yes. Definitely.
Following a general plan with achievable goals can be your ticket to success, happiness, and fulfillment.
Internationally recognized author, speaker and leadership expert John C. Maxwell posits “7 Steps to Success” for any goal. Let’s take a look.
1) Make a commitment to grow daily.
If you begin each day as a new day to learn new things, to learn from your mistakes, and to be open to growth, you’d be surprised at the consequences. Too often we are stuck in the negative mindset that’s created when things don’t go our way. Being hard on ourselves can keep us on our toes but taking it too far can really hinder our ability to achieve success. If we’re still mulling over that deal that didn’t do through the other day or that overindulgence on chocolate ice cream, we won’t give ourselves the opportunity to take advantage of the potential growth for today.
2) Value the process more than events.
This is a gem. In the past, I always struggled with only focusing on the end goal and if I wasn’t able to achieve it, I saw it as a total loss. But I was so wrong. I’d even argue that sometimes the process ends up being way more valuable than actually achieving the end goal. Learning how to struggle and work your way through things is such a subtle but enormously valuable asset. Notably, when things aren’t going your way for a long time the fight-or-flight response kicks in. This can be referred to as your “breaking point.” Do you throw in the towel or keep pushing?
The answer depends on each individual situation but no matter which path you’ve chosen, the struggle is the same. The process of seeing how you react to stressful situations and what you can do to put yourself in a better situation next time is something so priceless.
3) Don’t wait for inspiration.
We meet someone new and develop a serious crush. The next day, we join a gym. That’s inspiration. Or, we hear someone speak at a leadership conference about how to make our entrepreneurial endeavors more effective. That same day, we stay up all night working on our business plan. That’s inspiration.
Of course, those are great. Sometimes the kick in the behind is exactly what we need. But if you only begin goals when you’re inspired, good luck with sticking to it when times get rough and the initial high fades. Oh, and good luck with having external circumstances determine when your goals get started. Don’t wait around for inspiration, just do!
4) Be willing to sacrifice pleasure for opportunity.
It seems like every Friday and Saturday night at least five people in my Instagram feed post their partying pictures with “#workhardplayhard.” This is a winner but do people really know what this truly means? I’m sure working a full day and busting your butt is working hard. Then after work, you have lots of fun. However, sometimes we need to be willing to sacrifice pleasure for opportunity.
If you are driven by the pleasure of things, then be careful because opportunity usually come when we least expect it and generally favor the prepared.
5) Dream big.
I’ve always believed you will achieve that which you’ve expected of yourself. I always aim for the stars. And when I have fallen short of my big goals, yeah I’m sad but the end result is always a great accomplishment in and of itself. I used to be devastated when I set a super high goal and then didn’t reach it. But that’s when I realized why people stop dreaming big. It’s because when they taste that first big failure, they never want to experience that again. Or those who’ve never dreamt big don’t even want to take that chance of big failure or just don’t believe they can do it.
Whatever the reasons for not dreaming big, they’re all nonsense. When you dream big, so many doors open up and some even lead you in a totally different direction that ends up being lucrative.
6) Plan your priorities.
You have to get your life in order. This is a must. If you don’t sit down ahead of time and plan out what tasks in your life need to receive top priority you’ll find yourself being swayed by this and that without getting anything done.
Priorities need to be few and concrete. First, take an assessment of what’s important to you in your life that needs work. If it’s your career then you need a concrete goal set as to where you want to be that you currently aren’t. Then, it’s good to write out steps you need to take in order for your desired career goal to be achieved. Making these steps a priority is a great way to jumpstart any career.
7) Give up to go up.
This one is tricky. Sometimes letting go is exactly what we need to do to move forward. For whatever the case may be, we are stuck out of fear or just overall complacency or lack of motivation or inspiration (see #4 above). Don’t do this. You have to accept the impermanence of things in order to keep moving.
You can find that many courses on Udemy offer plans for success in a variety of topics. If you’re a high school student or parent who is about to embark on the dreaded college application process, our College Admission Success course is just for you. Are you starting your own business? Then take a look at Entrepreneur Success Stories so that you can learn from those who have already achieved much success. And last but not least, our course Soundscaping for Health, Relationships, and Success touches on the fundamentals of having a well-rounded life of success in areas that matter most.