3 Short Steps to Success
Some years ago, a small number of our organisations global executives, myself included, met in Buenos Aires to engage in an intimate three day intensive workshop with a “management guru” who was at that time considered to be one of the world’s greatest “thinkers”.
This was my second session with this guy in 18 months and I knew he would drive us hard and along unconventional routes. On the second day and without warning he asked “Neil take a pad and paper into the interview room and over the next 30 minutes prepare in as few words as you can, a presentation on – what you need to be a success – you have to be fully prepared to discuss and defend your theory on your return”……WOW!
Shaken and nervous I found myself 45 minutes later presenting for the first time my “3 Short Steps to Success”.
I hear you ask: “Can it really be so easy as to define a path to Success in 3 Short Steps?”
Yes. I believe it can. I believe I later used this 3 Short Steps to Success method to achieve my first real “non-corporate business success” and I believe you can use it too. The lesson I was taught in Buenos Aires is that often the simple path is best.
Note I used the word believe three times in the previous sentence. It’s not bad writing or bad editing its positive discrimination, more on belief later.
There are three core common factors in achieving anything of significance be it in sporting, academic, professional or business arenas.
“Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. –Gloria Steinem”
If you know what you want to achieve, if you can close your eyes and envisage it, taste it, feel it then you are already well along the first step to success. You don’t have to know the detail but you need to understand on a subconscious level where you are going.
I am sure Ray Kroc didn’t wake up one morning and say “hey I am going to build the world’s largest burger chain today”. But I am sure that as an American of Czech origin he knew he wanted his part of the American dream and that dream was something, a vision or dream, he carried with him every moment of every day.
The Success Vision you develop is about your destination rather than the journey. To a large extent your destination will determine the journey.
The first important step is to envisage that destination because if you don’t know where you are going you will probably never arrive!
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there. –Theodore Roosevelt”
Once you have developed the vision you have to develop the belief in your ability to complete the journey, to follow that vision through to journeys end.
Part of building belief is to break the journey down in your mind into manageable chunks, to start to fill out your vision, understand it and believe in it implicitly.
Essentially you have determined where you are going and you have to train yourself, body, mind and soul to reach that end point.
We each train our bodies and minds in different ways. In this example we are reinforcing our belief in a vision of our making. Quite a task but by imagining scenarios, dreaming, thinking through our vision that vision starts to become reality and when that happens you develop a belief in your vision and your vision starts to become reality.
“Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart. – Ancient Indian Proverb”
Once you have locked in Vision and Belief the journey begins and the specifics of how success is going to be achieved come into play.
When I first started speaking on the 3 Steps to Success I used the phrase “Keeping Your Periscope Up” to describe a subconscious search that would be constantly scanning the horizon to highlight the occasional “blips” of potential opportunity.
Imagine as you go about your day to day business carrying your vision and belief whilst the “Periscope” of your mind is scanning the horizon and filtering the signals to uncover opportunity. Over a number of years this “Periscope & Filter” approach has thrown up for me many more quality opportunities than I have found or devised brainstorming in the office or any other method.
Let’s return to Ray Kroc once again. Do you think when in 1954 as a kitchen equipment salesman he wandered into the MacDonald brothers store in San Bernardino, California thinking of buying it? No. But he had his Vision and he had self-belief and his periscope radar “pinged” loudly..
His had been a long, tough, journey, he was 52 years old and yet his periscope was up and operating. The fact that this small burger store was so popular as to need 8 new “multi-mixers” started him thinking, the fact that the store was so efficient fed that thought process and his Vision saw a chain of burger outlets.
Never lose sight of the fact that success is many things to many people. A good friend of mine was an acclaimed AFL player for a major team yet he never played in a Grand Final. I asked one day how he felt about that and he said “every time I walked onto the ground and heard our supporters roar, I couldn’t believe I was so lucky or so proud. Win lose or draw I was doing what I had dreamt of”.
This is success. My friend later enjoyed a successful off field business career and now he throws his still considerable energy into chairing a not for profit organisation. A successful life lived well.
Two favourite quotes of mine which have relevance here are:
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity”. –Amelia Earhart
“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.” –Jamie Paolinetti
By, Neil Steggall
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