The Essential Ingredient to Success – Taking Action!

Nancy B. Alston

The way that I define success for myself is different than the way that you will for yourself. Indeed if you ask 10 people to define their idea of what success is for them, you will almost certainly get 10 quite different answers. That’s not a bad thing, it’s simply an expression of our individuality. Furthermore, if you can define what success looks like to you, then you’re ahead of the curve! There are those who never ask themselves that question. The one and only prerequisite to a good definition of success is you must create a picture of what you do want – not a picture of what you don’t want (or what you want to change to improve your circumstances). That one small thing will keep you stuck. But I digress. The point I’m making at the moment is that there is no specific template for success – it can be as different as night and day from person to person.

There is however, a common thread that runs through those who consistently achieve their goals and attain what they perceive and feel as a successful outcome. It is the one step that nobody can skip and hope to succeed. It matters not your talent, your ambition, your skills…even your belief if you do not master this step of the ladder. It’s called action.

This is precisely where many well intentioned goal setters get bogged down. Maybe some of these thoughts sound familiar to you: “Where do I start?” “Maybe I should do some more research first.” “I’ll get started tomorrow.” “I’ll plan some more so that I’m not jumping in too hastily.” “I’m too busy with day to day stuff right now.” And just so you know…those were not pulled out of a hat – they are exactly the sort of thoughts that once kept me from taking the action necessary to move in the direction of my goals. When I discovered that simple planning and action reaped amazing rewards all of the time, I soon left those days behind me.

What can you do? Plan and take action. Once you have committed your vision of success to an action plan and then followed through on the actions you planned, you are well on your way. The beauty is in the feeling of personal satisfaction you experience as you work through the action plans and see yourself moving toward your goals. There is no feeling quite like it in the world.

It’s important to realize and accept that the action road is not always a smooth one – it has its bumps and potholes. Perseverance and determination are equal partners to action insofar as the one can’t happen without the other. I will leave it to one of my most influential teachers Jack Canfield to describe this: “As you begin to take action toward the fulfillment of your goals and dreams, you must realize that not every action will be perfect. Not every action will produce the desired result. Not every action will work. Making mistakes, getting it almost right, and experimenting to see what happens are all part of the process of eventually getting it right.”

People often need some guidance or an extra push to get them started with their action plans. I know that I did, and I’m grateful for the many teachers and resources that helped me to develop success habits. A success coach or life coach is often a very wise investment to make in yourself. Another great habit to acquire is reading books and listening to what successful people have to say. A book I recommend is Jack Canfield’s “The Success Principles.” My first exposure to it was the audio book version, and it impacted me greatly. It reveals very specific methodology about goal setting and organizing action steps. When Jack speaks, I listen. There’s many though, and I’m always on the lookout for more insight!

Whether you use a software program to help you organize your goals and action steps, or read books, or retain a coach or develop your own planning and action process – take the first step and get started today!

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