What is the real secret to success?
...and how can you really sustain success over time?
Each morning we jump online to post content, grow an audience, and hopefully sell services or offers. Every hour we spend on our business is time that we're investing into our results tomorrow.
To be successful in this grueling world, we need habits that automatically help us take action to get there...and not only that, we need those habits to last.
We often see get-rich-quick schemes in the digital world that play into new or struggling entrepreneurs' instant gratification cravings.
But if you've been in the business world for more than a couple of years, you know that success comes from consistent daily action over a long period of time. There is no shortcut.
John C. Maxwell, my direct mentor, talks about daily habits in his article here:
"How would you describe your life? Are you achieving what you desire? Are you accomplishing the things that are important to you? Do you consider yourself a success? How do your prospects look for the future?
If I could come to your house and spend just one day with you, I would be able to tell you whether or not you will be successful. You could pick the day. If I got up with you in the morning and went through the day with you, watching you for 24 hours, I could tell in what direction your life is headed.
When I tell this to people at conferences, there’s always a strong reaction. Some people are surprised. Some get defensive because they think I would be making a snap judgment about them. A few get ticked off because they think my claim sounds arrogant. Others are intrigued and desire to know why I make such a statement.
Here is why: I believe that the secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. If you make a few key decisions and then manage them well in your daily agenda, you will succeed. You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.
You see, success doesn’t just suddenly occur one day in someone’s life. For that matter, neither does failure. Each is a process. Every day of your life is merely preparation for the next. What you become is the result of what you do today. In other words… You are preparing for something."
It all comes down to our daily habits.
When I was first told that my daily actions built long-term success, I thought I could create a new schedule starting tomorrow and easily keep it.
I was in the Army after all.
The reality set in early the next morning when my alarm went off 2 hours earlier than my previous wake-up calls and my body YELLED at me.
"What the hell do you think you're doing? We are NOT -I repeat- NOT waking up at this time! 7:00 am has suited us just fine the last year and I will not mess up every other pattern we need to survive the rest of the day! Now, GO BACK TO SLEEP."
-Sincerely, My Brain
What I failed to factor in was that my body already had daily habits. These habits would need to be broken with a Pattern Interrupt method before I could focus on learning a new one in its place.
So this gave me a few questions -which may be the same ones you're thinking as well:
Where are you now?
First, you need to be honest with yourself that there is a gap. If you're healthy, there will always be some gap because healthy people are always trying to become better. One of the most basic human laws is; if we aren't growing, we're dying.
I know you're growth-oriented or you wouldn't be reading this.
So, take a moment with a pen and paper, and write down where you are now in your business, relationships, health, life, etc. (you can also take the Wheel of Life assessment free in this demo). We all want more if we're healthy.
One of the biggest reasons I cannot work as an employee for longer than 1.5 years, is that I become massively depressed. This is directly due to my inability to grow. In each job I've had, I've quickly become limited to how fast and how far I could go. This was in my daily work tasks and my financial growth. I just couldn't be content staying where I was for years at a time.
Where do you want to be?
Next, you need to determine where you want to grow toward. I encourage you to use this as an exercise and continue writing down your answers.
When you've written down where you want to be, then ask yourself why. What feelings, emotions, and rational reasons do you want to be there? What's the feeling you're looking for if you put yourself into that future?
When I was 3-10 years old, I wanted to be a ballet dancer...and I was pre-professional until 16. But, I wanted to go Pro and dance my entire life (no one mentioned that a dancer's career typically ends in their early 30s).
The feeling -the reason why- was because I wanted to express my passion for creativity. It also was such a technical skill and art, that I could easily pacify my need for growth/learning. On top of that, I gained significance from everyone watching me on stage, the contribution from knowing how the art made others feel, certainty in my abilities and who I was, and connection to the people and world of dance that I'd known since I was 3 years old.
Lastly, I loved teaching and guiding younger dancers through the exact experiences that I loved so much. Seeing their eyes light up when they landed a double pirouette for the first time or getting their first solo. I loved being part of that growth and passion in others.
But you know what's incredible?
I'm able to do all of this today as a coach, international speaker, and consultant. Those same feelings that I wanted as a kid, I am still able to do today in a new way.
You can figure this out too.
Determining Your Gap Exercise
How do we create habits that last?
Tony Robbins, another mentor of mine, talks about this in detail. Let's look at a quick overview first:
"Ever wonder why it’s easy to make some things stick and seemingly impossible to achieve other goals? Maybe you always resolve to lose those 20 pounds that are bothering you. You start working out and eating better, only to go back to your usual habits in a few weeks.
Or, perhaps you can never keep money under control and your debt continues to climb. Others might feel like they’re always a step behind, or are lacking in organization and not getting enough done because of it. What’s getting between you and building habits that nurture your best life?...
...What we call “habits” are really just reward-motivation responses in the brain. A habit follows a three-step process where you
This is where The 3 Pillars of Progress come in:
"Think of them as the foundation, or support, that holds up your goals. Using these three pillars will allow you to focus and commit to what you really want.
With these pillars you’ll be able to track your progress, hold yourself accountable and experience real, lasting improvement in your personal and professional life.
Goodbye repeated failures, hello success and better habits."
If you're anything like me, you probably get stressed out, feel helpless, and eventually give up when you experience repeated failure too often. In entrepreneurship, this can happen a lot easier than in "the normal world" because we're exposing ourselves to massive growth, new opportunities, taking chances stepping into the unknown, and testing. We do this daily!
The problem occurs when these experiences don't move us forward for too long. However, if you focus on adapting your habits over the next 3 months and including the 3 Pillars of Progress, you can ensure that these experiences take you another step toward a future on your terms.
Let's dive into the 3 Pillars so you can start to build new habits for tomorrow and close the gap to your future.
Pillar 1: Focus
This pillar creates a clear, compelling focus on your new future. You need to gain clarity and have a massive emotional reason to keep moving. If we focus on too many things or problems, what do you think happens?
We get pulled in too many directions, or suddenly create more problems - or the problems get BIGGER.
If instead, we focus on our priority, or the solutions to those problems what do you think happens?
That's right, we move toward our goal with speed! And resolve those problems with exceptional solutions.
Pillar 2: Strategy
No matter how much you want something and are willing to work toward it, you still need to know what steps to take. You need the best strategies to get you from point A to point B. We'll start bringing in efficient and effective strategies that create routines for our new habits.
The best strategies always have these 3 things in common:
To speed up the process find a mentor and use their map. Someone who's already accomplished what you want to do. Read their books, follow their content, or actively earn their direct mentorship. Thanks to the internet, there are many ways to be mentored by someone today. So, don't let their lack of direct mentorship in your life, keep you from learning from them.
As many experts say, "Be stubborn with your goal, but flexible with the way you achieve that goal". Don't get emotionally caught up with how you're supposed to do something. Test, review, and adjust your strategies until you find what works.
Coaches are extremely useful to speed up the process of success.
They can help you gain clarity on experiences and situations you're in, shed light on habits that you can't see, and help with strategic interventions to interrupt your limiting belief patterns.
Pillar 3: Alignment
You or someone you may know probably have gone through both Pillar 1 and 2, but still, fail to take action.
I've seen this in myself, in family and friends, and in many clients.
It can look something like this:
Sally knew deep down that she was meant for more than sitting at a desk and taking insurance cards all day. She woke up at the same time every morning, ate 1 of 3 different lunches (because the restaurants were close by, or meals quick enough to make), made the same boring jokes with clients at work, suffered from the same egotistical boss, then came home with 2-3 hours to live her life, see her family, and take care of a house full of chores before going to bed and starting all over again.
That wasn't living.
She felt like a dairy cow, forced to stay in the same building her entire life, with the only two valuable purposes being giving her milk in a line of machines each day, and birthing new baby cows to do the same.
Something had to change.
One day, she got online during lunch and saw an ad:
Build a life on your terms!
Take control of your future lifestyle and income
Build your own business
This was what Sally had been craving her entire life! The ad went on to promise her freedom, unlimited income-earning potential, and a simple step-by-step strategy to get from $0 to $1 million.
Sally quickly went through emotions of hope, excitement, concern, fear, and then determination and focus...She scrounged up her savings, quickly borrowed from her kiddos' savings, and bought the Offer.
(I know what you're thinking...SCAM!!)
Luckily, this offer was from a reputable and experienced business coach. Each strategy and method provided were simple, proven, and relevant.
However as the weeks went by, Sally barely made progress. She started to get stressed out, and depressed and wanted to give up.
Her inner conflict was a story she kept telling herself:
I'm not good enough to own my own business.
I have no idea what I'm doing.
My value has only come from being milked and producing future milk kids.
I can't even get my husband to think I'm worth anything.
My parents were on food stamps when I was a child. So my family isn't worth anything.
I was only valuable to my parents when I was quiet, didn't have a voice, and only did what I was told.
My father only paid attention to me when I graduated from school, got married, or got the job I'm in now.
My mother relied on me to make her feel loved and valued because she didn't get it from dad.
My worth has nothing to do with the value of just. being. me. so why should I think that I can be the magic in my own business?
If you've been in business for a few years, you know that Sally's experiences may have been true...But the story she told herself that she wasn't worth it, is false.
It was keeping her from taking the passion, focus, and strategies she had and turning them into an amazing business where she could serve others while creating life on her terms.
The 3rd Pillar is crucial to giving you the ability to take action on what you know and the tools or maps you have to succeed.
So, let me wrap up with this recap:
Focused, Clear, Compelling = 1st Pillar
Best Strategies = 2nd Pillar
Inner Conflicts - You must get aligned = 3rd Pillar
Clarity, Strategy, Action = Progress Map
What actions will you take to implement the 3 Pillars of Progress into your life today?
Author: Sherice Kral
Sherice Kral is a Certified Maxwell Leadership Coach, Robbins-Madanes Strategic Intervention Coach, and small business strategist with certifications through Harvard Business School.
Sherice is also a Veteran; having served in the U.S. Army for 10 years as a UH-60 helicopter crewchief and mechanic.
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