Who doesn’t want to be more successful, achieve goals, be a winner? Three words sum up the message, Structure Equals Results. Setting and achieving goals is formulaic — the details change but the way it works is the same. Business, sports, and entertainment celebrities branch out into apparel, furniture design, and housewares. People who learn how to understand and apply their formula to new projects create empires. How you frame a goal often determines if, or to what degree, you attain it. 10 Steps introduces you to the formula.

Whether your passion is interior decorating, body building, singing, riding horses, or writing books, the path to enhanced performance is the same. Success doesn’t dangle from backpacks, ripe for the picking by whoever is next in line. No one wins first prize by tagging along.

I earned it!

Participation awards are ridiculously popular, but are only as meaningful as the accomplishment they represent. Warm memories of seemingly small achievements often remain front of mind and evergreen. A former figure skater and sports nut, I’d been side-lined from most athletics after multiple orthopedic surgeries. Extending my 2-mile evening walk-jog to a Diet Pepsi sponsored 5K (6.2 miles) was daunting but I needed to prove something to myself. I showed up and finished behind the middle of the pack but felt like a winner! I challenged myself and accomplished my goal. As soon as the race t-shirt was in my sweaty hands I had a shop print “I earned it” on the back. The t-shirt has been gone for decades but I still have a picture and the memory. I’ve received numerous awards over the years for far bigger things than finishing a 5K, but that’s one that still makes me smile. To me it was a biggie.

HINT: Never assume that Julio and Jasmine care two-cents for what Phillip and Petula consider most important. Nothing is more personal than what triggers emotion. Unless you play solitaire, success is connected to a market of individuals with unique feelings, fears, needs, and dreams. Observe people. Learn about people. Value people. Love people. You can’t do it without them.

Going Viral – From Participation Awards to Personal Branding

If all folks want is the opportunity to participate then getting a t-shirt, ribbon, or gold star for showing up isn’t bad. Whether your bottle coozie or Mardi Gras necklace is worthless or hidden treasure depends on perspective. If you’ve already got a closet full of the silly things here’s an idea that could be your ticket to success. (You still have to follow the Steps.)

HINT: What follows isn’t just an illustration, it could be a ticket to the big league. The more you read the more opportunities you’ll find.

Dig out your “win” photos from the company picnic or community fun run and start a catalog of events and awards. If your “I was there” trophy didn’t come with a picture, stage one with the button, pennant, coffee mug, or medal you kept in honor of your accomplishment. Put you in the photo. Dress like the creative character you are. Or put the t-shirt on your dog – or your horse or rabbit. If you really want to ratchet up response use your 6-month old grandchild as the model. Caption the photo appropriately and say cha-ching. Create an image and a short blurb about each experience and memento.

Now create a website. You can do it for free. You are creating a personal brand. Your goal is to become the source of witty pics and descriptions of where and how you won all your junk. You are going to do what everyone who follows you will wish they thought of first. You are going to turn waste into treasure. Once the website is up you start a Facebook community so others can enjoy your photos and snippets and share their own. Every one of the millions of people who have a participation award tucked in a drawer somewhere is a potential fan. Then add Instagram (whatever that is). Tweet your photos, one every day. Then you can monetize your blog and social media pages. You will be an Internet success!

The next guy in line who tries to grab success from your backpack by copying what you did will come up empty-handed.

Success never comes to those who just show up. Even lottery winners had to get their butts up off the sofa, pick a retailer, and pull cash out of their pocket. For 99.9999% of lottery participants the only prize is litter and the opportunity lost by not using cash more wisely. (Don’t litter, please recycle your worthless ticket.)

Create an Investment Strategy for Success

Successful people don’t waste resources. They purposefully invest time, energy, passion, and cash. To invest more wisely in yourself you need a good investment strategy. If you don’t have an investment strategy you’re in the right place. The 10 Steps help you identify what you want, what you need, and how to begin building a plan and working it. Time is your most precious commodity. Social media and cats are major time wasters if they’re not part of your goal. But for the creative and passionate, they offer lucrative possibility when packaged for millions of folks who surf the internet for information or entertaining videos of bulldog puppies or calico kittens. Whoever creates the best performance award community may expand the brand into crazy quotes or epic costume failures.

Once you know the formula you can re-create success in any area. The 10 Steps introduces you to the formula. This is an article not a complete course on the details of each step. If all you take away after reading it is a better idea of how the success game is played you’ve got your money’s worth. Most folks won’t spend an hour trying to customize the steps to their goals. They’ll have wasted their time. Start thinking about it now, before you’ve even read the 10 Steps.

Like love, accomplishment comes from how smart and purposeful you are in the pursuit of your goal. Actually, it’s a lot like love. Remember the first time you saw the goofy smile of a friend in love? Then it happened to you. If you don’t remember what that’s like, put a pencil crossways between your teeth and gently bite down. Now raise your eyebrows. Think about the cutest puppy you’ve ever seen — okay, not quite the same but it’s a start.

I’ve been successful many times. I’ve also screwed up and failed many times. Sound familiar? Success comes more often to engaged and passionate people. Infused with vitality, the serially-successful spend the vast majority of their energy looking forward. Hindsight is a great tool but it’s not a destination.  Visionaries don’t rest on what is already accomplished, but what is possible. Even winners have bad days and Olympic medalists have coaches.

Let’s be real — most of us wouldn’t dream of calling ourselves visionaries. I can barely remember yesterday and my crystal ball broke the day I got it. An absolute requirement of goal achievement is to correctly IDENTIFY them.

Identifying your goal is the first step in the pursuit of success, even if it’s winning someone’s affection. This shouldn’t be news to anyone but is the roadblock that keeps most permanently tied to the dock. Your ship will never come in if it never gets to sea in the first place. Don’t roll your eyes and think, “Again? Do all these stupid articles have to begin with goal setting?”

YES. If that’s a deal-breaker there’s no reason to read any further unless your passion is reading stuff but never doing stuff. Good goals have commonality. No matter what you hope to achieve, good goals have these attributes:

The Right Goals are:

  • Attainable.
  • Specific. Anyone should be able to read your goal and know if you got it done.
  • Dependent on what you do, not what someone else does or doesn’t do.
  • Structured for hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly completion.
  • Incremental. One accomplishment opens the door to the next.
  • Promises you make to yourself.
  • Cause for celebration.
  • Purposeful. No value, no purpose.
  • Self-affirming.
  • Structured. They have to lead somewhere.

The 10 Stages of Pursuing Love

The road to love is pretty much the same as the one to success. Everyone knows something about the highs and lows of love so I’m including the 10 Stages of Love to prepare you for the 10 steps to success which may not be as familiar.

HINT: You’ll get far more value out of the 10 Steps to Success if you consider your own experience in each of the following 10 stages of love. You can just skip them or scan them, but the odds of you making any significant progress will get longer. Remember, success is a return on smart investment. Don’t begin taking short cut this early in the game.

  1. First you have to know who you’re pursuing. (Think of a name and a face.)
  2. Then you have to wrangle an introduction. (How did you get it or how do you plan to?)
  3. Then you have to meet somewhere safe and get acquainted. (Eliminate fear. Think good thoughts.)
  4. Still interested? Then you do what it takes to get a real date. (This takes guts and effort.)
  5. Then you learn about the other person and see if there’s any common ground. (It’s also called market research.)
  6. Still interested? Get another date.
  7. Then the issue of compatibility arises. You may feel there’s chemistry but the other one might not.
  8. So you pursue a little more. Either the chemistry becomes mutual or you chalk it up to experience and move on.
  9. You can always be friends.
  10. If there’s chemistry, repeat until you seal the deal or give it up.

This is where you either get serious or click over to something more interesting, like this dachshund video. 

For those of you who clicked over to the video, which doxie is most like you, Finn or Miss Kitty? One is working out the steps to success, the other is tagging along. This is a blatant ploy to tempt you away from the business at hand – your success. Can you NOT watch the video?

HINT: Successful people make huge investments in education. Everything you read or study won’t give you exactly what you were looking for, but you’ll never find any answers if you’re not looking. And reading. And studying. And applying. One critical component of how structure equals results is the element of focus. How well do you stay on track?

Finn the dachshund puppy has focus down pat. If you made it this far without watching the video, accept my congratulations then go for it with my blessing. It’s instructional.

The 10 Steps of Success

Success is a habit. Successful people accomplish goals on a daily basis. Failure is also a habit…

  1. First you have to know what you’re pursuing. Specifically. Not just “I want to be rich” or “I want to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.” Those are the results of success, not the definition of it, and certainly not the vehicle. This is where you identify your BIG goal, but not a ridiculous goal. Humungous successes are never planned. Remember, goals must be attainable. Then you have to figure out who is already a success in your area of interest. Research their history, track record, and schedule.
  2. Then you have to get your feet wet. Try it and see how it goes — in a group if possible so you can see how others approach body-building, sculpting, or writing poetry. Is YouTube fame on your dream list? Try making a video. Doing it well isn’t as easy as it looks. Good goals always presume excellence. If you’re going to dream, dream right.
  3. Still interested? Try it again. Observe. Practice. Schedule another appointment with the personal trainer or beat another lump of clay into submission. Write a poem and give it to someone you care about. If your loved ones don’t appreciate your verse…  If your first video was inside make an action video outside. Short is good.
  4. Learn more about the stories of others who achieved success. Do you share common talents, attributes, access to instruction? Would you be happy doing what they do and not getting your share of the rewards?
  5. Still interested? Do it again. Observe. Ask questions. Practice.
  6. Time for market research. What’s the future of body-building? Sculpting? Poetry? Videography? Does the process and practice make you more eager to do it again or do sore muscles, sharp objects, or technology troubles create stumbling blocks?
  7. Consider issues of compatibility. You may feel there’s chemistry but the results aren’t as promising as you hoped. You may be intrigued, but maybe your interest isn’t all that interested in you.
  8. So you pursue a little more.
  9. Some folks make a living as body-builders, competing and training others. Michaelangelo made quite a name for himself as a sculptor but didn’t make much money. Do you love poetry or expressing yourself in video? Does it love you back? Sometimes the best goal is to simply enjoy doing what you love to do. That’s success. Making a passion a business or competition isn’t always the right goal. For many it’s the absolute wrong goal.
  10. If the chemistry is still working, set an attainable and progressive series of goals. Create an investment plan to get the most return from your time, energy, and cash.

CHALLENGE: Set a time to invest 60 minutes applying these 10 steps to your BIG goal. This is homework. That means you write out your thoughts. Do you want to write a book? Open a bakery? Be a teacher? Learn to ride a horse or a Harley? If you have questions about how to frame your goal into the steps I’m happy to help. But first you’re going to have to email me what you’ve done so far.

HINT: Never invest more in someone else’s problem or opportunity than they invest themselves.

Success include Character

One characteristic of successful people is conscious concern for others. They create delighted customers or clients, readers or students. Be outward directed. Seek whom you can serve. The more you have in common with your market the better you’ll know what they want and need. Provide it and you’ll be a success.

Successful people deliver on every promise made. No exceptions. They keep promises to themselves and to others. Few successful people have a history of breaking their word. If you can think of any they might be rich, but I’d debate whether or not they are successful.

Finishing this article was my goal for today. Once I click “publish” I’m going to spend a little quality time with my horses. There may even be a cookie and a cup of coffee in my near future. It’s not quite the same as the Diet Pepsi t-shirt, but every achievement adds to our habit and history of success.

If you determined to make it to the end of this article, bravo! You achieved your goal. Go ahead and celebrate. That’s what I’m going to do.

For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.Matthew 7
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