What is it that sends us searching for success?
We grasp at the latest fads and the newest techniques hoping to capture the magic we see highly successful people. We emulate strong role models, we study, we strive – all to find the secret of success.
This secret is not necessarily a matter of talent, intelligence, creativity or strategy. In fact, as the winds of change continue to stir our world, the question of what it takes to achieve success remains as important today as ever. Interestingly, the answer to that question is also the same as it was 100 years ago.
Success on any level requires grit – the ability to follow through, to execute a plan, to persevere … to stick to it.
In fact, Martin E. P. Seligman, a noted researcher in personal attributes, asserts, “Unless you’re a genius, I don’t think you can ever out-achieve your competitors without a quality like perseverance.”
A good plan gets you into the game, but sticking to it propels you into the winner’s circle.
In our original book, Sticking to It: The Art of Adherence, we introduced the Adherence Equation. It is based on research and real-life experiences of the absolute highest-achieving people.
In this equation, there are three success factors that high achievers practice. They continually:
- Sharpen Focus
- Build Competence
- Ignite Passion
Below is a sampling of practial tips from our follow-up book titled 107 Ways to Sitck with It.
- Keep your goal visible at all times … literally! Keep your goal on your desk, in your wallet or purse, on your bathroom mirror, on your refrigerator. This plants the seeds of success in your mind and focuses your attention on things that will help you achieve your goal.
- Worry wrecks your focus. We all worry … the trick is to minimize the time between your first worried thought and your first action to attack it. Remember, much of our worry is based on concerns in our minds, not reality. Mark Twain once said, “I’ve suffered a great many catastrophes in my life. Most of them never happened.”
- Tame your technology … or it will become your master. In today’s highly connected world, you have to define boundaries around your time. Just because your cell phone or laptop notifies you of a new message doesn’t mean you have to shift your focus to attend to it. Constant accessibility can blur your focus. Block out time to respond to voice and e-mail messages.
- Prepare for two steps ahead. Balance your focus on the task at hand with preparation for the next step. This prevents complacency. Ask yourself, “What knowledge, skills, relationships, experiences do I need to develop to be prepared to succeed?”
- Create it once, use it many times. If you know you will perform a task more than once, create a checklist, form or template to save time and improve your consistency over the long haul. No need to reinvent the wheel every time you conduct or coordinate an off-site meeting, prepare a proposal, send out a mailing, plan a new project timeline, etc.
- Ask the right questions. The fastest way to change the answers you receive – from yourself and others – is to change the questions you ask. Asking the right questions will get you better answers whether you are asking it of yourself or of others. The questions you ask will either limit or expand the possible responses.
- Ask yourself before leaving the office each day, “Did I do something today that leaves a positive, lasting impact?” If the answer is no, stay until you do.
- Listen to Yoda. In the immortal words of the Star Wars Jedi Master, “Do or do not. There is no ‘try.’” If you are nervous that your plan won’t work, you might find yourself saying, “Okay, I’ll try to do it.” You are laying the foundation for being unsuccessful from the beginning, giving yourself a way out. Yoda’s adage is a passionate reminder that life rewards those who let their actions rise above their excuses.
- We get what we expect. Expect the very best of yourself and of others. Great success is always rooted in great expectations.
Best of luck Sticking to It!
Check out this practical guide to help you achieve the success you deserve.