By October 11, 2011 12 Comments Read More →

The Way of Success

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“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.”— George Burns

Do you have a proven system that gets you the results you want, each and every time? Better yet, do you have a way to speed up your results and jump to the end in mind? Do you have a success formula you can count on?  Read on to learn about a success system you can use for the rest of your life to produce outstanding results in all areas of your life.

If we look across the stories and studies of success, we find some common themes. By looking to the patterns of success, we can identify a repeatable system. Let’s call this system, The Way of Success. The Way of Success is basically a method for improving your success in a systematic way. By making the approach explicit, you can improve it, and fine tune it, to achieve better, faster, and simpler results.

To bottom line it, The Way of Success is a method for rapid results.

One of the most useful things in life is to have an approach for achieving what you want in life. That’s where”The Way of Success” comes in. You can use The Way of Success as your personal recipe for success.

Why The Way of Success?

The beauty of The Way of Success is that we can enjoy both the journey and the destination toward achieving our success.

If we have a trusted system, then we can explore and experiment with speed and skill in a more reliable way. We can learn at a faster pace. We can enjoy a higher level of success. We can reduce the pain along the way. We also learn how to more effectively avoid the dead ends and fruitless paths.

The Way of Success

Here are the key steps to The Way of Success:

  • Step 1. Envision the Future
  • Step 2. Map Out the Goals
  • Step 3. Model the Best
  • Step 4. Map Out the Possible Paths
  • Step 5. Identify Your Tests for Success
  • Step 6. Test Your Results
  • Step 7. Change Your Approach Based on Feedback

Step 1. Envision the Future

In this step, imagine how the world will be different when you accomplish your goals. Ask yourself, “What will success look like?”

This is the most important step. This is about painting a picture of the future with enough clarity and conviction that it creates a burning desire. Imagine the possibilities and make it vivid. Step into this future and feel what it would be like if you were to make this happen.

The key outcome of this step is a vivid mental model of the future. Your mental model will guide your actions, thoughts, and feelings. The richer your mental model, the easier it will be to get resourceful. Your mind will get creative in finding ways to make your vision a reality.

Perhaps the most important reason for getting clarity in your mental model is to reduce conflict. If your mind, heart, body, and spirit want the same things, then you have all of you working on your side. The last thing you want to be fighting against is yourself. A fractured or conflicting vision will fork your focus, fork your energy, fork your priorities, and basically make anything you do, ten times more difficult. The opposite is also true. When all of you is fully aligned to the end in mind, you fire on all cylinders and your mojo helps you make things happen. Almost like magic.

Step 2. Map Out the Goals

In this step, you map out the goals that will inspire you. Your goals turn your vision into achievable steps and results along the way.

State your goals as clear and simple wins. Keep them simple and to the point. As a suggestion, write down the wins you want as simple one-liner statements. By keeping your goals lightweight, you can easily evolve them as you get a better picture of what success will actually look like. It’s like a picture slowly coming into focus.

Step 3. Model the Best

In this step, you find the find the best stories, people, and examples to model from.

You can start from scratch or you can start from examples. By starting from examples, you can “Stand on the shoulders of giants” and leapfrog ahead. More importantly, you can use the examples to model from and inspire and guide yourself with skill. They will help you avoid dead ends and glass ceilings.

You can always choose to ignore what other people have done. But that should be an explicit decision. One of the best ways to speed up success is to build on the patterns and practices that work. Success always leaves clues. You can learn from the success of others to tune and prune your own success path.

Another key reason to have models, examples, and case studies to draw from is so that you can see whether you really want what you think you do. There is an old saying to the effect, “be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.” This is true. The grass is not always greener, on the other side of the hill. What might look great at first blush, might not be so great when you take a closer look. For example, you might find that the life style just isn’t worth it because it conflicts with your values or how you want to live.

Step 4. Map out the Possible Paths

In this step, you map out the various paths you can take.

The key is to identify, figure out, and explore possible strategies. Aside from inspiration, the models you found help show you the different potential paths you can take to reach your goals.

The key here is to cast a wide net before locking down on one particular path. By mapping out the different paths, you can compare and contrast the time and effort that the different paths take. You might find that one path takes a week, while another takes a year. You may also find that one particular path requires some extraordinary sacrifice that you just aren’t willing to make.

The key here is to find the path that will most likely succeed based on your goals and constraints, while looking for the most effective results. At the end of the day, it’s all about effectiveness. You want a path that works.

Step 5. Identify the Tests for Success

In this step, you identify tests that help you know when you are on track, and to know when you are done.

Having goals is one thing. The key here is to figure out how you will test them. Having a short set of test cases helps you make your success criteria even more explicit. This helps give you clarity, but it also helps provide a way to evaluate your results, and to help keeping shaping your actions towards your final result.

Step 6. Test Your Results

In this step, you take action. You break your big goals and big wins into little goals and little wins. The most important thing is to take action. Taking action will produce results, and as you produce the results, you’ll get feedback.

The point behind testing your results is also to find the best paths forward. As you take action, you may get surprised as new opportunities, new doorways, and new possibilities unfold. Success is often serendipity. As my friend’s father put it, “Luck is when skill and opportunity come together.” By taking action and testing your results, you’re increasing your “luck.”

Step 7. Change Your Approach Based on Feedback

In this step, you change your approach based on the feedback you are getting from taking action. This is where your tests for success help you see whether you are getting closer or further from what you want to accomplish.

A very simple cutting question here is, “Is it effective?” If the actions you are taking are not being effective, then you go back to your models, find the insight, and change your approach.

When you take action, you produce results. Those results are either going to be getting you closer or further to your goals. They will also be leaving clues and insights. You can use these clues and insights to do more of what’s working and less of what’s working, or to decide and change the approach all together. As obvious as it sounds, sometimes the best approach is to do the opposite of what’s not working. You can at least test this as a strategy.

This is also a key stage to leverage your mentors. You can share the approaches you tried and the results you got, and an experienced mentor will help you evaluate your results and perhaps identify alternative strategies or tactics. One of the best things you can do here is start asking better questions to help reveal more insightful answers. If you’re not getting the results you want, it can be helpful to ask “how” questions over “why.” When you ask “how” questions your engage your brain in a more resourceful way and it starts helping you find a way.

An Example of The Way of Success

One of my key achievements was creating a book that was downloaded 800,000 times within the first six months. This was an extraordinary result at the time, and I used The Way of Success to achieve it.

I started by having a compelling vision for how the book would change the lives of many practitioners in the field. I identified the goals in terms of challenges that the book would solve and awards that it would win. I didn’t care about the awards, other than to create some aspirational benchmarks to shoot for.

I then rounded up the best of the best books that I could find within that space. I also met with several authors to find out their approach to explore possible paths. By taking a look from the balcony, I noticed that the most successful books were more action-oriented, were more task-based, and made it easy to “execute” the guidance. I also noticed that the best books had very simple way to organize and share complex information in a sticky way. A common pattern of the best books was to have simple headings that made it easy to skim and take away key insights from the book.

By using all of these patterns, I was able to design a more effective way for building knowledge platforms and writing guides to help change the world.

A Simple Way to Think About The Way of Success

A simple way to think of The Way of Success is — dream it, plan it, do it. The most important point here is to actually figure out what you truly want to make happen, and create a vivid model of that in your mind. When you can see it in your mind’s eye, you’ll have an easier time focusing on the thoughts, feelings, and actions that bring you closer to your goal.

Mapping out your success plan is a great way to see the journey before you start. While you don’t need to know every point along the path from A to B, you do need to have a frame of reference, and a way to keep getting back on track. Your map will be your guide.

Making it happen means taking action and testing your results. The trick is to keep taking action, and testing your results. If you are moving closer to your goals, then great. If you are moving further away from your goal, then change your approach, and keep changing your approach until you start getting the results you want. Use your model and your maps to guide you. Use your failures and setbacks as feedback. Keep finding the lessons and use them to propel you forward. If your approach is not working, then change it.

The fastest thing you can change in any situation is yourself. If you keep changing your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions, you’ll keep producing different results. Use this insight to keep making progress and finding your way forward.

May The Way of Success serve you well and help you achieve the results you want in a more effective way.

12 Comments on "The Way of Success"

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  1. Thanks for sharing this. I have more or less used a similar system although I had never formalized it like you did here. Also, testing for success is a key step that I notice many people tend to over look, including myself sometimes. The testing and tweaking can make a huge difference in the overall success of a project.

  2. Hey Eric,

    Great article!
    Succeeding is a lot about the numbers.
    You make a plan, test it, then go back to the drawing board and do it again.
    Rinse wash and repeat as they say.

    Finally you will find your path, your way, your solution.

  3. JD says:

    @ Eric — Testing for success is powerful because it forces us to figure out our criteria. I think the part that really helps me get exponential results is choosing the right models. I take extra time to find good reference examples to model from, and that helps me find the short-cuts and the 10X factor.

    @ Daniel — It’s something I wish I shared long ago. It’s been with me a long time, but I had never thought to share it as a simple system. Now that it’s down on paper, I’m hoping more people can tune and prune the system to get their best results. It’s made to be tailored.

  4. John Sherry says:

    It’s very true that you have to know that your success already exists – it’s no mental mirage it’s a living, existing happening reality you are moving towards that’s merely awaiting you. Hold it in mind and vision, stay flexible, but keep that intention alive and pulsating in your whole mind and body, and soon it will magnetise into life. World record holders will testify to this.

  5. JD says:

    @ John — Vision is a powerful thing. Our mental movies transform us. With a snapshot in our mind, and flipping from Have-Do-Be to Be-Do-Have, we set ourselves up for success. If we think of success as a verb, then we can enjoy the journey and the destination. It’s success in action.

  6. Sibyl says:

    Hey J.D. Really great article with such helpful information. I really appreciated what you said about loving the journey and loving reaching your destination. That is really what it is all about and how we can make the most progress. Great post.

  7. JD says:

    @ Sibyl — Thank you. I think success is like martial arts in that we can all have very different styles. We each have to find our own style, or “way.” When we find the “way” that connects with our values, and brings out our best, we create better journeys and better results.

  8. Hilary says:

    Hi JD .. through my life I’ve envisioned things happening and as you say they do – don’t think I’ve been a big enough thinker, have taken risks, have failed .. but now I need to get the big thinker that’s waiting to appear to make its presence felt … the way of success is to put one foot forward along the journey path of those results that await.

    Thanks – finding the way as you mention to Sibyl above .. cheers Hilary

  9. kinsol says:

    It is good to share people’s idea about such thing which needs practice rather than theory, so it is great; I get basic information from the idea that you write that how people’s get success by following the steps listed above; it is first chapter of my life to take actions such like away.
    THANK YOU!!

  10. lalshmi says:

    I really a good one which helps me alot….

  11. jean Anel charles says:

    The best things you have to know success is a goal .as someone as already said taking action will produce results and as you produce the results ,you’ll get feedback.

  12. osaro vincent says:

    you are all bless

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