The Secret to Success

What is the secret to success?  What are the things that can help you reach goals?  How can someone develop and grow successfully?  In my years of advising college students, counseling friends, and coaching executives, a few common themes have emerged in how to be successful.

1. Baby Steps

Always work on your own development, even if it means taking “baby steps”.  We all get busy and have many obligations.  School, kids, work, volunteer activities to just name a few.  It is very important to always find time to focus on reaching your own development goals, even if it’s only a very small amount of time.  One of my co-workers wanted to become a corporate coach.  She had two small children and a part time job.  On the surface it seemed impossible to add anything to her plate.  She found a program that offered virtual courses three days a week at 8:00am eastern time which was 5:00am her time.  She took one class each session completing the 18 month program in 3 years.  It took her a while, but she took “baby steps” towards reaching her goal and succeeded!!  Rather than getting overwhelmed and not moving towards your goals, break it down to something that will fit into your current circumstance and, eventually, you be will reaching your goals.


2. Balance 

It is critical to always keep things in balance.  I have coached many individuals who have dove too quickly and too deeply into their development and burned out before they actually accomplished anything.  It is critical to always keep things in balance in order to achieve overall success.  You can’t lose sight of any of your obligations.  If you focus too  much on one goal only to completely fail on another one, you are not reaching overall success.  It’s important to keep your focus and behavior balanced, even if it means you will take longer to reach a goal.  It’s better to achieve overall success rather than success in only one part of your life.  I learned this early on in my career.  It took me a while to find the right balance between achieving my career goals, family goals, health goals, volunteer goals, etc.  Even today I am constantly making adjustments to maintain the balance I need in order to succeed.


3. Attitude

Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude!  One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Jefferson, it states “Nothing can stop the person with the right mental attitude from reaching their goals, nothing on earth can help the person with the wrong mental attitude.”  I have referred to this many times in my coaching career.  It is very frustrating to give your all to supporting someone thru the coaching process and for them to fail and not reach their goals.  When reviewing why a coaching engagement wasn’t successful, most of the time it was because of attitude!!  I remind myself “nothing on earth can help the person with the wrong mental attitude.”


There are many things that lead to success. A few of the essential ingredients include taking baby steps towards your goals, maintaining balance in your approach, and having a positive attitude.  In your experience, what are some of the things that you believe lead to success?

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