Finding success by any measure can be difficult.
How do we become successful? For the purposes of this three-step process, let’s say we define success as “an arrival at a particular outcome”.
Seeing Iguazu Falls in Argentina with your own eyes, learning to speak fluent Mandarin, sitting in on a studio recording session with Jay-Z. The more specific your outcome, the better your chances are of achieving that outcome.
This example leads us to our first step.
STEP ONE: Decide.
Simple, right? Here are some guidelines.
1.) Specificity wins
Reread my examples above, right after I defined success as we are using it here. Those are very specific outcomes, and the more honest and specific you can be about what you want, the easier it is to get those things.
Solidify your vague outcome. You don’t want an abstract idea, you want one that you can vividly picture in your imagination, something you can play out scene by scene in your own mind.
Here’s my personal example: I want to live in Waikiki from January to March of 2012, and while I’m there, I want to explore the island, eat a lot of tuna poke and kalua pork, learn to be comfortable on a surfboard, and disconnect as much as possible to focus on writing, creating, and building our brand. I want a small apartment with a lanai where K and I can eat our meals, brainstorm ideas, people watch, and listen to the ocean.
Not vague at all, right? When you have a specific outcome, the more achievable it becomes.
2.) Be limitless yet realistic
If success, to you, means growing 12″ taller in one month, you could (technically) do it, but it comes at the expense of plenty of things (an empty bank account, lower quality of life, surgical complications, appearing batshit crazy).
Keep your goals within the parameters of what’s considered natural, but don’t limit yourself to easily achievable outcomes. Be bold and daring when defining your personal success.
No, traveling to every country in the world isn’t out of the question. Neither is learning multiple languages, letting your appetite (and freedom from a 9-5) dictate your next destination, or making simplicity a priority in your everyday life.
3.) Stand up to yourself
The voices of doubt and reasoning like to creep in during this exercise. They mask themselves under the guise of reality. They tell you “That’s not realistic,” or “That can never happen,” or “Are you crazy? You have bills to pay.”
Tell those voices to fuck off.
Standing up to yourself and the notion of uncertainty simply means reprogramming your thought processes, recognizing when doubt creeps in, and telling it to go away.
4.) Dream proactively
Recognize that our first human inclination is to accept defeat before we start, to tell ourselves that it really can’t be done, or that it’s irresponsible to dream.
It’s your responsibility to listen intently, and to do everything in your power to block all that crap out.
How? By allowing yourself to continue the process of deciding what your idea of success is. It takes a conscious effort to block out the negativity and self-doubt during this step. It may be difficult at first, but you can do it. Just practice.
STEP TWO: Internalize.
Internalizing an idea means an idea becoming a part of you. Essentially, the thing you want already IS, it just hasn’t happened yet.
You know how you can say with complete certainty that something is the color green just by glancing at it? Or how you know your height measurement by heart? Or that, in darkness, light will illuminate a room?
These are facts we accept as truth. They just are, and our subconscious never questions it. We expect these things to just be.
If we internalize our goals and ideas of success the same way we know light illuminates a dark room, how can we NOT be successful? If someone approaches you and says a plugged-in, fully-functioning lamp with a brand new light bulb does not illuminate a room… would you immediately dismiss them? Or would your internal doubt creep in and start questioning what you already internalized as fact? I can guarantee you’d consider that person completely delusional, because you know for a FACT that light illuminates a dark room.
Internalize your goals and your desires; that way, there will be no doubt as to whether or not they’re achievable. They just… are.
The benefits of internalization are two-fold. Not only do they become unquestionable (because they are simply truth), they also alleviate the question of how.
When there is no doubt in your mind something will happen, you stop bugging yourself about the details. You just make shit happen. You blindly go after it because you know of no other outcome but success. It already IS, you just need to follow through.
And that’s step three.
STEP THREE: Act.
This is the step that success hinges upon. There is no success without action, right?
Easier said than done, sure. We all understand analysis paralysis and the overwhelming feeling of being unsure where to start.
The beauty of uncertainty when starting is that you’re free to carve your own path. Most likely, there’s no one true way to get to your destination. As long as you start somewhere, you can figure out the next logical step in the process.
Afraid you won’t figure out that second step? Stop jumping ahead. Just take that initial step, and I guarantee you’re resourceful enough to figure out what to do next.
In my personal example, my first step was in planning how a two-month extended stay in paradise could work logistically. We’d have to ditch our 9-5s and sustain a side income and growing business, not to mention find an apartment that allows subletting (we’re currently in the process of moving). Then we have to devise a plan to continue the operations of our business while we’re away.
I have a plethora of first steps to take in this situation. I could leave my job, I could line up a couple freelance gigs for extra income, I could start searching online for long-term rentals on Waikiki beach.
You can dig down further to find even simpler initial steps within those. What comes before leaving a job? Maybe assessing my current finances, making sure I have enough to survive for at least a couple months. How about before lining up some freelance work? Maybe talking to prospective clients and seeing what they need help with. Finding long term rentals? How about deciding where on the beach I want to live, so I can narrow down my search?
You get the idea. Drill down your initial first step, until all that’s left is one simple, straight-forward action. Doesn’t matter if it’s small, all that matters is that you act.
OTHER NOTABLE SUBSTEPS
Make your goal a priority. Keep it in the very front of your mind.
Base all your decisions around your success, and question whether or not each action you take will help you get one step closer. I do this all the time, asking myself, “Will buying this thing for $200 get me closer to what I truly want, or would stashing the money away make more sense?” It’s a no-brainer.
Be resilient, and practice delayed gratification. It’s tough denying yourself short-term happiness for something more grand (and most likely, further away). It’s also very difficult staying committed to your goal, but then again, if it’s a specific outcome you desire with your whole heart, soul, and being, and you’ve already internalized that outcome as fact, being resilient really isn’t that tough.
Shoot for perfection, but don’t kill yourself if you fall short. Don’t use this as an escape or a cop-out; truly give it your all. It’s about striving for what you desire deep down, and going at it full-speed.
For example, I know our company’s philosophy of traveling and unplugging to focus on creation and idea generation is monumentally important, and that our yearly Inspirational Getaways will happen. Then again, this is our first year, and we’re still ironing out the details. Am I certain it will happen from January to March? Not necessarily. Do I question whether or not it will happen at all? Hell no. It may happen from February to April, or maybe May to July, but no matter what, it will happen, year after year.
You already knew this would happen. After deciding and internalizing, you knew this would be your outcome. Take a moment to pause and reflect on where you are and what you’ve achieved. Relish in that moment and be happy you’re there. It wasn’t easy but you made it happen.
That moment is yours.Tweet Follow @barroncuadro