Step 1: Find your Lane
Have you ever noticed that successful people seem to exude confidence? A lot of that confidence comes from knowing the correct “lane” for your life. Successful people understand who they are and who they are not. They know their strengths, gifts and passions and have decided to invest and build on those attributes. For them it is ‘majoring’ on the “majors.” They are intentional about being in their lane and that includes doing what they love doing and do well at the same time.
Unfortunately, not everyone understands this concept of being in their “lane.” Too many are trying to be something they are not or to live out a script that is not their own. So, the melody is dissonant. It seems to be a bit like forcing a square peg into a round hole. The thought is maybe this will work or maybe that will work, or better yet, maybe we will just get lucky! Thus, life becomes one grand experiment! When we experiment with life like this, we get confused and find our life taking all kinds of detours. No wonder so many do not look forward to Monday and can’t wait for Friday.
In reality, success has got little to do with luck or experimenting. Successful people have taken inventory and done their homework. They have taken the time to discover who they are, what they are good at and passionate about at the same. They know their unique gift or gifts that they offer to the world and are not shy about investing in and developing those gifts. They are intentional about their choices and living life from their lane.
Sadly, even though most of us come into this world as complete originals, too many really do end up as copies. Too few have taken the time to put life on pause and ask the important questions. Who am I, what am I passionate about, what are my strengths and gifts? How can I be a better steward of what God has given me?
The truth is you are as original and as unique as your fingerprint. No one has your particular set of gifts, passions or dreams. The question is what will you do with these gifts? How will you develop them, invest in them and use them? Or as someone wisely put it, “your talent is your gift from God-what you do with it your gift to God.” When you use your gifts and talents you are getting in the correct lane for your life.
Steven Covey once asked a great question about finding our right place or lane in life. “Are you good at, do you love it and does the world need it”? What a great formula for life and more importantly success. When you discover the intersection between your gifts and your passions, you are living in your lane.
Step 2: Change your perspective
It has been said that if you change your perspective you can change your life. James Rohn once said,” Unless we change how we are, we will always have what we’ve got.” Amen to that and I would add, unless we change how we view ourselves, we will always have what we’ve got. You are what you think, plain and simple! If you think you can go beyond your basic beliefs, think again. If you do not believe at the core of your being that you have what it takes to be successful, you will live out that conclusion. We are what we think and believe!
Successful people, at their core, have a fundamental belief system that they can be successful. It goes something like this- if I apply myself, work hard at it, then why wouldn’t success visit me like anyone else? Therefore, what they believe gets carried out in action and behavior.
Some may argue that some people are simply more positive than other people. Maybe they were born that way. While it may be true that there are more sunny personality types than others, our attitudes and beliefs always revolve around choice. Getting a change of perspective involves a choice we make and it is a choice we make every day. When we do not believe we have a choice, we have made a choice not to decide. It is a choice to be a victim in our way of thinking.
Successful people consciously choose not to become victims or become the king or queen of excuse. They choose to view problems and difficulties as “challenges” to overcome and grow through rather than seeing them as dead ends. They choose to see possibilities and potential. In fact successful people are always looking to become stronger and wiser people through their difficulties,- How can I grow? What I have learned? What can I improve? Successful people don’t run from life or make excuses. They take ownership of their decisions as well as mistakes.
Well, if it is true that you can change your perspective and change your life, then changing your own mind about You lies in your court. It’s a decision, a choice that you make each and every day; and an imperative choice or step on the road to greater success.
Step 3: Get a Plan
It may sound simple but it is really true-successful people are people of action. They step out, move on their ideas and take action! They are not passive or random about their life or choices. They are intentional people and make room in their life for success. It’s not just a wish, nice idea or a dream with them. They have a plan and they work the plan. They put blinders on, focus and work their plan.
Successful people do something every day to move their life or business forward. They have written goals that they follow. These goals become their road map or compass for their life and business. Each and every day they think about where they want to be, what goals they need to refine and how they can move forward or accomplish those goals.
Why do I need a plan? If you don’t have a plan, you may be simply planning to fail. When you get in a car you usually have a destination in mind. While it’s okay to ride around from time to time, you seldom just get in the car and do that. You have a purpose for getting in that car and a destination in mind. If you don’t have a destination in mind or a sense of where you are headed, you are going to do a lot of wandering around and may even get lost.
You can always change your goals or revise them, but get your ideas out of your head and onto paper. Believe it or not your mind will start working on how to get there. Our brains are designed to think deeply and to run and look for solutions. The problem is we often give our brains so little to do!
Still not convinced that a written plan with goals is important? In 1953 researchers polled the graduating class of Yale University and found that the 3% of the graduates who had clearly written goals amassed fortunes worth more than the other 97% combined!
Where do you want to be 30 days from now, 60 days from now, a year from now? Get proactive with your life. Get a plan and start working the plan. I believe that if you will do something every day on that plan, in 30 days you will not only have started a new habit, but you will be moving closer to your goal. Time is ticking!
Step 4: Think Big but Start Small
It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step or first mile. We often think that that it is only the big things, or big decisions in life that are the most important. When we think about the big steps or big decisions we can easily go into overwhelm. So, we procrastinate and don’t take any steps forward. While no one would argue that big decisions are important, we tend to forget that the little choices and decisions over time really do add up and are quite a big deal. In fact, every choice matters!
If a pilot flying from N.Y. to L.A. goes one degree off his course, he is certainly not going to end up in L.A. One degree over 3,000 miles will take the plane way off course. What is true of the plane is also true in our lives. One degree changes in the wrong direction over time can sure get us lost. However, on the positive side of things, one degree changes in the right direction will eventually take you closer to your goal!
I coached a young lady who had a lot of clutter that simply overwhelmed her. She did not know where to begin and so she didn’t. What would happen if she did a little bit each day like 30 minutes and stayed with it? She began to work on it 30 minutes each day. She liked it so much that she added more time to the project. She stayed at it and eventually de-cluttered her space. She gave herself permission to do a little at a time, but to be consistent with it each day. She got so excited about this that she applied the same principle to her weight and lost 30 lbs.
What do you need in your life-more money, less clutter, better health? It’s okay to think about the big picture, but then work backwards and break it down into small bite size pieces. What is one small step I can take today and then the next day and the next? Just think what would happen if you gave up that latte each week and put that money aside? In a year’s time you would save several hundred dollars. What about in your health? If you walk down the street today, then add a block, and another block, you will eventually be able to run those blocks. Before you know it, you are entering a marathon. I think you get the point. The possibilities are endless. When it comes to success at anything, the small things really do matter and add up to something big! So, go ahead and think big, but start small. Remember, small changes + time=big results!
Step 5: Finding the Right Team
The people who go the distance and become successful understand the concept of being on the right team. They not only understand that two heads are better than one, but they also understand the importance of right associations, affiliations and partnerships.
One of life’s great principles is that you and I will become like the company we keep. We are also known by the company we keep as well. Associate with positive people and eventually you will become more positive. On the other hand associate with negative people and watch your mindset go south! So, if you want to be successful in life, it is important to find successful people and to begin to associate with them and to learn from them. All of the success guru’s will tell you that one of the main keys to their success was who they associated with and learned from. They read every success book they could their hands on, attended success workshops, were mentored by successful people and on and on the list goes.
The truth is, as smart as you and I may think we are, we can always become wiser and smarter. So, who is on your team? Who will you begin to invite into your inner circle? Who can you learn from? Who will you associate with? Who will mentor you or coach you? Who is doing what you want to do? From authors, to mentors to coaches, to financial and business advisors who will you include on your team?
Not only is it important to have people that we can learn from, but it is also important to have people who will cheer you on and hold you accountable. Who are the people who believe in you, and will celebrate your gifts, and encourage you along the way? We all need cheerleaders especially when we encounter bumps in the road. These associations could be friends, colleagues, pastors, spiritual advisors or coaches. These are the people who give us the cup of water or an encouraging word when the race gets long. They are our support base.
There can be many different kinds of people on our team, but rest assured you were not meant to do life alone. Successful people have learned the secret of forming alliances and partnerships. They realize that their greatest strength and success lies in the company they keep. It does for you as well. Who is on your team?