The below is unedited and was written because I wanted to try out a new style of writing – I covered a few of the important ingredients of success. I’d love to get your feedback – It is also written because I set a goal and did not reach it so I raised the goal and stayed up till 4:43 am to reach the goal I set. I normally wouldn’t publish something that is still a little rough around the edges but I think you will still derive value from it if you can overlook a few typos.
I have been thinking quite a bit lately, and I could not help but conclude that it all starts with desire. If you read pretty much any book that sets out to help you improve your overall well being the first step is always intent. Napoleon Hill speaks about the burning desire; put your goal up, read it each day, obsess. Stephen R Covey will tell you to begin with the end in mind. Lewis Carroll uses a fat cat to deliver the same message. If we look at Grant Cardone or Daymond John, they all speak about desire. Tony Robbins will ask you what your goals are and help you ensure they are all in line with one another. Religions focus on the afterlife and entering the gates of heaven. Regardless it always boils down to desire or some variation of it. Of course, this all makes sense because without a defined goal there is no real reason to move in any particular direction.
Apart from all the obvious pitfalls of remaining stagnant, we can ascertain that we cannot attain success without a goal. Keep in mind that the very definition of success is the attainment of a goal or purpose. So any book about success must, of course, speak about goals. Why is desire so important? Well from what I have understood in my research of successful people and a multitude of books on the subject a goal that has no desire to fuel it will not compel an individual to take action.
I guess while we are on the subjects of desire and goals we must touch on motivation. Motivation is a simple word; it is all about our motive for action. The screaming parent comes to mind for a moment. “Why did you do that?” Not all action has a clear motive, and that is ok, but it is crucial to have at least some action that is driven by something more than whimsy.
Let’s recap real quick. You must have a goal to attain success. Your goal must be desirable to motivate you sufficiently.
So far so simple. I’d like you to do us both a favor and think a little about your goals. Start with a massive goal, imagine for a moment that you could have anything, be anything and achieve anything. I assure you that in truth almost anything is, in fact, attainable or at the very least attemptable. The pursuit of happiness is an admirable thing; a lofty goal is nothing to shy away from. I am going to go to an absolute extreme and ask you to remove your moral compass for a moment. Before you panic, this is just an exercise. I want you to free yourself mentally from all limitations and figure out what you want. Take your time with this, write down your discoveries on a piece of paper preferably by hand.
If you are prone to being a realist and the above exercise has you stumped, I suggest setting numerical goals. Once you have set your numerical goals, you should go ahead and multiply them by a factor of ten. Grant Cardone recommends this, and I think it is a sensible piece of advice. To be clear, I’m somewhat sarcastic when I allow you the title realist. The truth is you cannot be a realist until you realize what is possible. I recommend reading the biographies of great men and women that started with nothing. It has always amazed me how limiting we are to ourselves.
From all the wisdom I have found the conclusions are clear set goals that excite you! Desire is one of the best motives for action. If your goal does not stir a burning desire inside you, then you must evaluate the goal itself. Small goals are great especially when they add up to bring a bigger goal to fruition. The one thing I advise with small goals is that the time to achieve them should be short. To spend a week in search of one little berry would be a foolish way to spend a week, at the very least find a bush!
Are we on the same page yet? I’m hoping we are because I am bored with this subject and my goal is not to focus solely on desire.
I would like to introduce you to the concept of three E’s; it is a simple concept which I am about to explain verbosely. The three E’s are Effort, Efficiency, and Effectiveness.
I’d like us to plan a journey to one of your loftier goals. Let us for a moment imagine that to reach your goal we decide that traveling three thousand miles is a good idea. Our journey will require effort, for the sake of our story we will consider the effort to be our time driving the vehicle. What comes next is speed, how fast will we drive? Let us say that the speed will be a matter of efficiency. Effectiveness will determine if traveling those three thousand miles gets us closer to the actual goal or not.
Grant Cardone speaks a lot about massive action, and that success is impossible without it. Driving at one hundred miles per hour, it would take us thirty hours of driving to reach our destination. If we only drive two hours a day, it will take us fifteen days to get there. If we up our effort we could probably drive ten hours each day and get there in three days. If we rotate and one of us sleeps while the other drives we could do the drive in under two days. The effort, however, won’t just get you to your goals faster, without a massive effort on your part some goals cannot be achieved in a lifetime.
Without getting stuck too long on the subject, it is clear that Grant Cardone’s, Daymond John’s and so many other great people’s advice is sound. The effort will be required and the higher the intensity, the more likely you are to achieve some modicum of success. Effort alone, however, is folly.
Efficiency is an essential factor overlooking it reduces our chance of success. Using our current analogy if we wish to travel three thousand miles and we do so with an old car that is continuously overheating and gives us an average speed of fifty miles per hour our journey will require sixty hours of driving. We can increase our effort to make up for the lower speed, but in truth the level of effort is limited. If on the other hand, we can optimize our vehicle and bring our average speed up to three hundred miles an hour we can make the trip in ten hours. Why are we even putting mileage on that old clunker anyway? A flight to the nearest airport and a rental car will get us there in under eight hours; efficiency is your friend.
We have talked a lot about our trip but we never really asked much about its importance in getting us closer to our goal. Ignoring effectiveness often happens in startups and is the cause of many failed attempts at success. Startups are full of excitement, and sometimes every opportunity seems like a worthy activity; the truth is that we have many options to consider. The first thing we must evaluate is the benefit of going to this place that is three thousand miles away. The next thing we must determine is what other options are there? Would it be more effective to send one of our sales representatives or hire a local person to visit? What we must ascertain for sure is what effect will this action have on our overall mission. Will our efforts no matter how efficiently we carry them out have the desired effect?
It is clear that we must take into account effort, efficiency, and effectiveness with any endeavor we undertake to reach our goals.
I use a simple method for evaluating these three factors.
1. Effectiveness. What will the effect of doing X be on my overall mission?
2. Efficiency. How can I improve the speed of execution?
3. Effort. What is the maximum amount of effort I can allocate to this endeavor?
A lot of people speak about intensity, and that is all well and good but in truth efficiency and effort increase the intensity.
Now that we have gone through some of my more basic methods of achieving success in any given endeavor there is one more piece of the foundation puzzle, the plan.
“Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan in which we must fervently believe and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” ¬ Pablo Picasso
You have to hand it to Picasso in one smooth sentence he says all I just said, or at the very least alluded to it. Notice the words fervent, vigorously, act, goals, and success. I won’t dwell on his quote too long, but I do suggest you let it sink in a little.
Before we go any further, please revisit your goal, does it create a burning desire deep within your mind? Is your goal big enough? If for any reason you do not find your goal appealing enough do not bother reading further just yet. Let me phrase this a little differently, do you desire the attainment of your goal more than the things you are going to have to sacrifice to attain it? I hope you weren’t expecting to succeed with little to no sacrifice. Here is a simple truth the right goal is worth the sacrifice; if the sacrifice is always too steep, you may want to ask yourself if that which you must sacrifice is, in fact, the goal. Let me explain.
Often when I work with friends and clients to discover the person’s real goals, we find that there are many goals placed in there by parents, friends, media and other influencers. If for example you set a goal of earning a million dollars because it sounds nice, but you just can’t get motivated by it there is probably a reason. To make that million dollars and have it in a savings account you may have to sacrifice time with your child, for some people this is an entirely acceptable trade-off. To me, this was never a satisfactory trade-off, especially in her younger years.
I won’t go into much detail here but growing up my parents featured in a somewhat part-time fashion in my life, I promised myself that I would be there for my child so everytime I tried making a financial goal my priority I couldn’t resolve the conflict, I was not willing to pay the price. I eventually realized that my bigger goal was time to spend with my daughter, I still built a business and grew it from no clients to one thousand clients, but my goals were clear. I achieved success by being present with my daughter. My daughter is now getting older and has many activities, she attends school and does sports this frees me up to focus on financial goals as a priority. To be clear being an excellent father is still a higher priority than my financial goals but I have more time to allocate to my secondary goals.
What I am trying to say is that if your goal does not generate a burning desire, you need to evaluate why. Being lazy or staying comfortable is not an option but clarity of purpose is extremely important.
I was lucky regarding finances growing up, so I value time given to my daughter on a much higher scale. Someone that may have suffered poverty may be more concerned with never needing to worry were to get their next meal. There is no right or wrong answer.
I am going to assume that you have done some deeper analysis on your goals and are ready to move forward onto the next stage with me!
Plans are awesome, but you have to decide what type of plan you want to use. Let’s be frank there are hundreds of types of plans out there. First and foremost is your goal business related or personal? Finding the right plan is extremely important and before you go searching for the best business plan book or some other type of plan think a bit about your needs. Some people will tell you that you need a single page while others will recommend a voluminous option that requires a team to compile and no one will ever read.
I’d say Albert Einstein was pretty smart so I’m going to quote him to sound more intelligent than I am. “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein. I will add to this that a plan should be one that you will be able to follow, there is no point in making a plan that you will not follow. Knowing yourself is very important in this case, do you like to improvise or do you prefer a set structure to guide you? The other important consideration is what you need as opposed to what you want.
As stated above you need to find what works for you but here is what works for me. I usually start by splitting my goal down into smaller more manageable goals. I call the result of this first step my masterplan, and it is normally the plan I share with my mastermind group. The pieces make for great talking points, and I like to use my mastermind group to improve my effectiveness as opposed to efficiency and effort. Once I have my masterplan I usually turn to each of the goals that are large enough to deserve a plan and make a plan that doesn’t exceed three A4 pages. I write my plans on paper mainly because I am easily distracted when working on a computer. The reason I set the three-page limit is that I like leaving myself some flexibility and also because I often delegate to others what they are more competent at than me; the pros usually have their way of planning, and it is better than any plan I make. My subgoals are also more fluid, and therefore I don’t want to pour massive amounts of time into them while they are still fluid and bound to change.
I’m a marketer by trade, so any marketing plans are ridiculously detailed and written in a way that allows others to use them for reference should they be involved in helping me reach my goals.
Get help; if you are building a plan a little bit of good advice will go a long way. I read a lot, and that is where I get most of my help, that’s me. Your plan will determine your success; if your plan is all wrong and you follow it, I’m sure you can guess what happens.
I believe a quick recap is a sensible thing at this point. Make sure you have a burning desire. Set big goals and remember your opinion of what is a realistic goal is probably wrong. If your goal fails to create a burning desire consider that you may have a conflicting goal that is of more importance to you. Effort, efficiency, and effectiveness will play a significant role in your success. Create a plan, get someone to help you with it and be sure to follow it.
The ingredients of success that we have gone over above are not too complex, they are intended to be practical and are certainly not exhaustive. The entire cake which is success includes many other ingredients, and I would love to share a little more of what I have learned so far.
Alliances are critical in reaching business goals and can often be the one thing that enables you to succeed. Alliances are also crucial in personal goals, and you should seek them out as much as possible. I have yet to find a situation in which aligning myself with the right people has not proved beneficial.
Of course alliances with direct competitors are ill-advised, but I have found that if the goal is big enough for two to share this kind of alliance can be pretty powerful. These potential allies are often the easiest to spot; you should have already come across their names in your competitor analysis. You did do a competitor analysis right? Think long and hard before taking on this kind of ally but remember if your goals are the same you may be able to help each other get to your goals faster.
My favorite type of ally is the non-competing same goal ally. These potential allies are also considerably easy to find they are great for personal goals such as weight loss or the accumulation of wealth if the path to riches is different. You can often find these kinds of allies in support groups, networking events and places of higher education. I have found some of my longest lasting friendships to be with non-competing same goal allies.
Targeting the same client but you are offering a different product or service. A typical example of this may be an electrician and a plumber or a lawyer and an accountant. Of all the alliances you can find these are the most fruitful as you can safely cross-promote, if the client requires both services/products at the same time then it is even more valuable.
Supply chain alliances, these aren’t alliances most of the time, but they can be in some circumstances and can be extremely valuable. Take your time in selecting the right suppliers and service providers sometimes the biggest isn’t always the best, and it is worth investing some time into getting to know more about the company you keep.
There are of course many other kinds of alliances that you may seek out such as geographical, political, and social alliances. You may ally with neighboring businesses for security purposes or for improving the neighborhood if you have a storefront, you may organize local events with other business the important thing is that you keep the importance of alliances in mind.
So having covered a considerable amount of ingredients to success, I think it is imperative that we also mention continuous improvement.
Stephen R Covey makes an important point about production and production capability. The general gist is that it is crucial that you ensure your production capability does not diminish because you are too focused on creation. Let me elaborate a little if you make shoes, and this is your main line of income you could focus all your resources on operating your production plant. You could work sixteen hours a day producing shoes eventually your equipment will get old, you will be worn down, and production will cease entirely. Over time your equipment will become outdated, and your competitor will gain an unfair advantage over you. If however, you allocate time and resources to improving your production capability by for example buying better equipment every three years your production ability would increase.
The example I gave above is great if you are in production, but it applies even more to you as a person. Learning or improving your existing skill set increases your production capability, resting when necessary and eating healthy all contribute to keeping your production capability high. It is essential that you invest in yourself and continuously find ways to grow. The unfortunate truth is that if you don’t, and your competitors do you will quickly find yourself at an unfair disadvantage. As your production capability increases, it also becomes easier to reach your goals.
We have covered a lot of subjects but one thing we have not yet covered that is crucial to success is exponential growth. You can either plan for exponential growth or leverage it when it happens. Exponential growth is likely the least talked about of all the ingredients of success. Let’s assume you start with nothing, in the first month you are entirely alone in your business and doing everything yourself; you acquired ten clients and based on this success you are confident that a salesperson would be successful in selling your product. You hire a salesperson, and in the next month you acquire ten new clients and so does the salesperson, you now have thirty clients, and you need back office staff.
You realize there is further room for growth and you are sure another salesperson would also have success, so you take the plunge and hire another salesperson to join your team. All of a sudden you are acquiring fifty new clients a month and retaining your previous clients. With money coming in you decide to upgrade your equipment. The new machine is more efficient producing nearly twice as much per hour. You hire more staff and operate your equipment around the clock. The market is loving your product, so you expand by opening an online outlet, you even hire a webmaster and a digital marketer like me.
You are growing and the growth compounds, your brand loyalty is high, and you have raving fans that trust your brand. You leverage that brand loyalty and expand your product line. The banks that wouldn’t touch you when you were just starting are begging to fund that new factory you want to move into.
I know I paint a pretty picture, you probably think I am overly optimistic, and to some extent yes it is, but this is how people like Daymond John turn $40 into a multimillion-dollar empire. Exponential growth is how Henry Ford went from son of a farmer to an engineer at the Edison light company to producing hundreds and later thousands of vehicles per day. It is this kind of growth that allowed Sam Walton to go from military service to working in retail and then opening a five and dime store which he closed down before opening the first Walmart.
The sooner you accept that the potential for success is greater than your wildest realistic expectation the sooner you will put your head down and start grinding fervently.
We have covered so much, but I forgot to tell you about the essential ingredient. You of course! I know you have your doubts, we all do, but the indisputable truth is that your success requires you. There are some that will speak of the universe and the law of attraction and all sorts of things! Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying they’re wrong, but I like to focus on the more how do I put it … visible factors.
All great success requires an idea, a dream, a goal or some such intent. Without you there can be no such idea, you must be a willing participant in your journey to success. Yes, you’ll have to modify your plans from time to time, heck you may even change your goals if you must, but the one thing you cannot deny is that without you there to work at your success nothing is going to happen.
A lot of people get stuck on the idea stage; they start to worry that their idea is not significant enough or that they don’t have the know-how to make their plan come to life. Fear stands in the way of many people’s success, but I say your success is inevitable if you apply yourself consistently to the attainment of your goal. You will need to learn new things, accept new challenges and most importantly of all you will most definitely have to have a burning desire to succeed.
I’m rooting for you, and I hope my friendly advice helps you realize your full potential.