It is so much easier for us to believe that success is a work of art, not a science. It makes successful people feel special for being born with a certain “magic” to them, and it makes those who are unsuccessful sleep a little easier at night knowing that it isn’t their fault that they don’t have that certain “it” factor. The way toward success isn’t some mystic game of chance. Success is obtained through a cycle of clarity, action and reflection.
The most important step is clarity: in regards to your current standings, goals and how you achieve those goals. Without a solid foundation, you’ll find yourself haphazardly placing pieces with no clear goal in mind. Without a plan, the road to success is little more than stumbling forward blindly, hoping for the best. With a clear view of the future you want to manifest, you can confidently move forward without relying on luck.
Once you have a clear view of your current situation and where you want to ultimately end up, you then must execute. The second step is often the one that trips most people up. They get so involved in planning and trying to know every possible outcome that they become unable to move forward. We avoid this “paralysis by analysis” by returning to issues in the reflection phase.
After acting, it is important to have time for reflection. How closely did we come to achieving our goals? How could we do better next time? If we did meet our goals, what did we learn along the way? The adage of hindsight being 20/20 rings true and the reflection stage allows us to take those lessons learned and apply them in our next cycle as we start to gain clarity on our current situation and create new goals and heights for us to reach.
It is this cycle of clarity, action and reflection that makes us more appreciative of where we are versus where we started, more confident in the actions we take and more thoughtful of the outcomes of those actions. It allows us to calibrate our goals to smaller micro-goals if we continuously have trouble reaching our performance points, or become bolder with our gambles if we find ourselves easily obtaining our goals without any failures. Success can be broken down into principles, processes and analytics; which means it can be studied, replicated and improved on by absolutely anyone, regardless of the level of natural born talent.
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