The keys to your success are the stepping stones on your journey. These things are usually the same for anyone pursuing the kind of success you are. For example, a fiction writer’s keys to success includes writing short stories and submitting regularly. A freelance writer’s list might include researching a variety of topics and querying a variety of markets about different articles. While each individual’s goals will be more specific than this because everyone’s exact definition of success is different, the keys to success will be almost identical for people aiming to reach the same career or financial/emotional place in their lives.
Today I’d like you to consider what the keys to your success might be. While the most important thing is to look inward and ask yourself how you will reach your definition of success, it’s also helpful to look at people who have reached the kind of success you want. Learning about people who have walked the path before you and analyzing what steps were most important in their journey to success gives you a good idea of how to set your own goals.
For today’s exercise, though the focus is not on goals. Goals should always be specific, whereas the keys to your success are broader strokes. These are what you will base your goals on, but they are not your actual goals. They are guidelines for your life.
In order to find the keys to success, first ask yourself what the most important steps towards your definition of success would be. Chances are, you already have an idea: get out of debt, start your own business, go back to school, write a novel or a book proposal, etc. Most of the things on the list will be things you’ve been considering doing for a long time, but for one reason or another have been putting off. Circle the ones you think are most important–these are what you’re going to base your list of 2013 goals on–and underline anything you’ve already started doing.
Sometimes the keys to success are not so clear. You might not be sure exactly what you’re going to need to start your dream business. You might have no idea about what really goes into moving up in the corporate world. You might want to be a politician but be unsure how to start your first campaign. That’s perfectly fine–nobody knows everything, and some paths are easier to understand than others.
If you have no idea what you’ll need in order to reach your definition of success, research people who have walked the path before you. As you study people who have reached a definition of success very close to your own–though it will not be exactly the same–the keys to your own success will become clear to you. Pay particular attention to how they got to their most successful, but also to which actions hurt them along the way. Often it’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do.
Once you have a solid list of keys to your success, attach it to the paper with your definition of success. While these exercises are still helpful on the computer, I find that having the physical manifestation helps keep me on the right track. So staple these things together and put them somewhere not only memorable but plainly obvious–on a wall, on top of your computer, wherever you’re sure to see it regularly. This way, success will never be far from your mind–and the closer it is to your mind, the closer you will be to that success.