It would be a relatively safe assumption that most everyone has been envious of the achievements of others. At the very least, it would be very likely that you have wished that you could perform better, earn more money, or achieve a higher level of success. Bottom line, you have to believe you are capable of all of the above. Why not believe? Everyone has the potential to do whatever it is they dream of or want to achieve.

Although success is relative to each individual, the key to achieving success is the manner in which we take advantage of every situation and treat them as opportunities.

Some studies suggest that only a small number of people actually achieve the success they want in life. This is not due to capability but reflects that most do not have a defined model as a guide. Remember that success is something that is more individualistic but there are common characteristics in how success is achieved. Along with the principles mentioned last month and those discussed below, create your own model for your journey.

  1. Create a clear vision. One of the great secrets all successful people possess is that they have a clear vision of what they want to achieve. Jim Carrey grew up poor but he believed in his own future and created a vision of things he wanted to accomplish. Early in his career he wrote himself a personal check for $10 million for acting services rendered and stuck it in his wallet. Carrey rocketed himself to worldwide fame and success. You need to want to achieve success. The emphasis is on what YOU want, not what others want. Make sure the vision is based on something you want because if it’s not, chances are you will not be fully committed. Without being committed you’ll not be able to sustain the effort to keep moving forward toward your vision.
  2. Develop a strategy.  You must have an overall game plan to execute, and you have to know what strategies you need to take in order to achieve your vision. Every vision needs a proper strategy and plan for it to come to fruition. Creating a vision and not following through with proper planning is like getting into your car to drive to your destination without knowing how to get there or even having a driver’s license. Most people fail to achieve success because there is no strategic plan or they fail to follow through with the plan. The greater the goal, the more important it is that you invest proper time in building your plan.
  3. Expand your paradigms. Each of us has a certain pattern of thought gained from observations or experiences which can serve as limiters. You must challenge your paradigms to expand boundaries and meet greater opportunities. Don’t be afraid to try every single thing that might take you to your vision or goal. In fact, you should be more concerned about the potential missed opportunities when you don’t try something. Expanding paradigms exposes you to possibilities that will enable learning from things which could be fundamental to your success.
  4. Work hard. Nothing of substance comes easy. With every success comes hard work. Without hard work, you can’t achieve meaningful success. People who try to find the easy path to success are just kidding themselves if they think they can achieve it without putting forth significant effort! Hard work is the universal quality that will pay off in the long-term. Once you invest the time and effort, the results will flow inward. George Lucas of Star Wars and Indiana Jones fame said, “Working hard is very important. You’re not going to get anywhere without working extremely hard.”
  5. Don’t give up. Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never give up!” Remember that defeat never occurs unless you accept it as a defeat. Certainly you will encounter problems too big to handle. When this happens break it down into smaller pieces so it’s easier to overcome. As long as you keep trying, you will eventually achieve success. Elbert Hubbard, an American writer who died along with about 1,200 persons when the Lusitania sank in 1915, said, “There is no failure except in no longer trying.”

Success is no accident. It is always the result of our best efforts. Success doesn’t necessarily come from being the best; it comes from always doing your best. It is the result of investing your time and energy. It’s the result of knowing where and what you want to be, taking action, making mistakes, learning from them and trying again. I’m reminded of something Thomas Jefferson said, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” Can we do less?