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Many books have been written about success. Some are based on studies of successful people (Naploeon Hill), and others are based on who knows what. Most people who have managed to achieve a lot in life will tell you they had plenty of failures, but they obviously learned something along the way.

In my mind, “The Secret” to success is the following:

  1. Plan, don’t just visualize
  2. Act, don’t just think
  3. Look for opportunity, don’t just wait
  4. Create, don’t just observe creation
  5. Be fearless because mistakes can be disguised opportunities
  6. Learn from your mistakes
  7. Don’t give up. Where there is a will there is a way. Continually look for “other ways”
  8. Always be willing to adjust your plan: e.g., visualizing about selling something to a non-existent market will not make it happen. If you can’t create the market, then you have to be willing to sell something the market has a need for.
  9. Don’t work alone. You can’t be successful without support from others. Build a support network of people who can benefit you in some way.
  10. Give. If you don’t give, you will never get. In this world what goes around, comes around. You must give unconditionally in order to receive.
  11. Be patient and determined. Sometimes we have to follow a long path to get to where we want to be. Everything happens for a reason. Know that there is a wisdom behind the things you must endure in life, even when that wisdom is not immediately apparent. This is just another way life disguises opportunities.
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Not getting the results you want? We all get stuck from time to time as we struggle to achieve our desired goals. This happens to all of us and there are many sources for this problem that need to be analyzed if we are going to come up with an effective solution. Sometimes we stagnate because we are more focussed on the problem than the solution. Sometimes we are too close to the problem to really see the whole picture, and sometimes we are simply distracted by things that invade our mental space and occupy our time. I like to call those misaligned priorities because they seem to demand our attention but do not actually move us toward our goals.

Getting to where you want to be means remaining committed to your goals. I am a very goal driven person, and I get extremely frustrated when things don’t happen for me. Sometimes my tenacity bugs people, because I am like a dog with a bone. I absolutely cannot let go. When the voices around me tell me to let the goal go, I will still push myself to get there. I remember reading in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich that one of the common traits of successful people is the willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. Whenever I think of that, I strengthen my resolve to keep going and try to find better ways to get there.

Doing whatever it takes means you need to ask yourself some different questions in order to find better solutions. One question I like to ask myself is, “What am I going to do today to bring me closer to my goal?” This question forces focussed action, and since nothing happens without action, it must drive you closer to achieving your goal. After that question, you have to ask yourself what your intended outcome is and examine whether or not the action will indeed bring you closer to your goal.

Another question I like to ask is, “Who can help me?” No one can be successful alone. Everyone who has ever achieved anything worthwhile had someone in their corner. Figure out which relationships you can leverage to get the kind of assistance you need. Before you do this, though, take the time to think of as many things as possible that will help you. For example, you may think all you need is a good business referral, but there may be some other things that could be even more valuable to you. Take the time to reflect on what these could be, then go out and find someone to help you.

Flexibility is really important if you want to achieve a particular goal. A goal may remain unchanged or may need to be modified slightly. Be prepared to modify both your goals and the way you think about your business or career. Ask yourself if there is something more or different that you could be doing. Does your market need to change? Does your product or service need to change? Is your approach inefficient? What do you need to do differently?

In developing questions to ask yourself, put a little pressure on yourself to come up with different questions and solutions each time. By doing the same thing day after day you will not create better results, so insist on changing it up. Only perform actions that produce something. If you can’t cultivate the results you want by repeatedly performing the same action, you must be prepared to do something else. For example, writing a blog requires you to perform the same action repeatedly and doesn’t necessarily produce immediate business results. What it does do, is cultivate opportunities. If no one is reading it, however, it is a waste of time.

Are your wheels spinning or turning? Are you stuck in a rut or are you driving on the road ahead? Try asking some different questions and if you need help, find a friend, a mentor or a coach who can push you to ask the right questions and develop great solutions.

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