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Key To Success: 10 Success Tips For Maximum Achievement

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First, I would echo the voice of 18th-century French philosopher Voltaire, made famous and relevant in today’s leadership lexicon by "Good to Great" author Jim Collins, who said, "Good is the Enemy of Great."

1. "Good is the Enemy of Great." Get rid of the good to make room for the great in your life. Instead of keeping the main thing the main thing, we major in too many minor things. In other words, many people do a few good things, many mediocre things, but nothing GREAT.

Find the ONE thing you can be the best in the world at and focus unrelentingly on improving that one thing, polishing it to perfection.

Choose great over good in ALL areas of your life! Having a few great things is far better than many excellent or mediocre things.

Instead of having six cheap shirts you don’t feel so great in, have one fine quality shirt that you can feel proud to wear, making you feel like a million bucks! Instead of having five or six ho-hum paintings to decorate your walls, invest in ONE magnificent masterpiece that leaves you breathless and enriches your soul every time you look at it! Instead of going to the usual cottage retreat every long weekend, save up your money and go on one GREAT vacation you’ve always dreamed of, like going on a European boat cruise, snorkeling in the Red Sea, or taking an art class in Paris. Instead of many mediocre friendships, have a few great companies that energize and inspire you so that you can spend quality time fostering more profound relationships. You get the point.

Greatness is a choice! And the alternative is the democratic equalizer of all people. Everyone, regardless of their rank, social status, or income level, has the power to choose great over good.

2. Commit to an annual theme. Instead of making and breaking several well-wished but half-hearted New Year’s Resolutions, commit to an annual or lifetime piece. Pick a theme that defines your singular life purpose or what you are most passionate about, and stick to it.

For example, my theme is: "Write First!" I have this theme posted right in front of me above my computer. My purpose is to write.

I write first and ask questions later. I focus on writing (or things related to developing my writing) first and then worry about the urgent but non-important interruptions (paying bills, answering calls and emails, responding to invitations, etc.) that plague everyone. This theme precedes everything except my spiritual relationship with my Creator. The only exception to this rule would be a genuinely important priority that falls in one of my top values in life or attending to a family emergency.

Your central theme for 2006 could be "Family First!" or "Health First!" "Listen First!" or "Service Above Self." Just pick one and commit to it.

Besides your central theme, list your top values, such as love, health, giving, peace, wealth, etc., to ground yourself and distinguish between essential and non-important but urgent matters. In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin listed thirteen virtues (Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity, and Humility) to which he governed his life and gave a week’s strict attention to mastering one virtue at a time repeating the list in order every thirteen weeks.

3. Practice a policy of planned neglect. In other words, once you have established your theme or singular purpose (the one thing you can be the best in the world at), get into practicing your main habit FIRST before anything else.

Everything else that’s non-important can get neglected and keep getting put off. In other words, your daily to-do list will keep changing around your central theme, which will remain constant – with very few exceptions.

4. Make a stop-doing list. I’m not sure where I first heard this idea, but I borrowed it most recently from Jim Collin’s book, "Good to Great." Too many people have essential to-do lists that keep getting longer and longer. But very few people have ‘stop-doing’ lists. Make a list of everything you are doing that is not contributing to your core genius or primary purpose and core values – and stop doing it! Forget about your image and other people's thoughts, and STOP doing what’s not great in your life.

5. Be Simple. Get rid of the good to make room for the great. Literally! Get rid of the junk in your basement and file folders!

You probably need to eliminate anything you haven’t touched or looked at in a year. Donate books and magazines you haven’t read and clothes you know you’ll never wear. Empty your mind and physical space of unnecessary clutter and make room for abundance! (Daily meditation is a great way to empty the mind and allow new inspiration).

6. Make HEALTH a priority NOW! Get a complete physical check-up at least once a year. If something’s bothering you or you don’t feel right about something, get it checked out IMMEDIATELY! Please don’t wait until it’s too late. Take a proactive approach to your health by taking preventative measures, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. And make LOVE a top priority. If you haven’t told your loved ones how deeply you value and love them, make time for it now.

Are you still reading this article? WHY? Pick up your phone immediately, and call your doctor to make that appointment! Call your loved ones now and book some real quality time together. Life is short and fragile. You may never get the chance again.

7. Dreams. The dream is a window into your soul, a gateway into the unseen world, giving access to the unknown and revealing the invisible behind all that is visible. In my book, "Psychology of the Hero Soul" (http://www.herosoul.com; Chapter 14; pg. 77), I mention the importance of dreams and how to harness your dreams to awaken your creative potential. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get into the habit of jotting down your goals and making an effort to interpret them. It is a great way to develop self-awareness and self-understanding and will enrich your life in many unforeseen ways.

Self-awareness and self-acceptance are so critical in developing your self-esteem. Take the time to ask yourself, "Who am I, and what’s my purpose in life?" Write down your strengths and weakness, your highest ambitions and deepest fears, and list everything you enjoy doing and all your hobbies. Take some personality tests to gain a deeper understanding of who you are.

8. Face the brutal facts! Never hide from reality. Always get the hard facts about any situation you are facing. It doesn’t matter if you have a Harvard MBA and are the world’s greatest optimist if you pick the wrong location to open up a retail business!

Likewise, face the brutal facts about yourself. If you haven’t even come close to achieving your dreams and goals, you need to ask yourself why you haven’t reached your goals and figure out what has been preventing you. A great way to accomplish this is to ask a few friends you trust and who know you the following question: "How do you see me limiting myself?" (I have Jack Canfield to thank for this great question).

Once you have the facts and fully understand the problem, spend over eighty percent of your time focusing on the solution.

9. ASK for help! If you need assistance, ask for it. If you don’t ask, you don’t get it. Ask for the sale, ask for the date, and ask for support. Stop worrying about your image, reject the rejection, and ASK!

But don’t just be a taker. Please also give. Earn the right to ask by being a giver. Be a generous giver because whatever you put out into the world will return multiplied. The hero’s journey is about following your bliss and doing what you love to do in service to others. "Service above self" is a great motto to adopt.

10. Take Action! I have dedicated an entire chapter to taking action in my Hero Soul book. The great succeed by making continuous and concerted effort toward a singular objective. And they continue to take unrelenting, consistent grind for years before becoming overnight successes.

If you do just five new things every day towards achieving your most prominent dream, you will one day be living your vision, and as Thoreau once said, ‘meet with a success unexpected in common hours.’

But if you aren’t going to take action on the advice in this article, why the heck are you reading it? Move on to something else!

One of my favorite movies is "The Shawshank Redemption" (based on Stephen King’s short story, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption), about a successful banker, Andy Dufresne, who is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife. I’m sure many of you have seen it.

For nineteen years, Dufresne quietly chips away at his goal to escape by literally chipping the wall in his cell - a little bit every day - until one day, he reaches his destination and escapes.

His jail buddy, Red, said all it took "was pressure and time."

I don’t think I’ve ever seen any movie replayed so many times on TV. It intrigued me. So I researched and discovered that according to IMDB, The Shawshank Redemption is the second most popular movie of all time, with The Godfather taking first place! That’s quite the accomplishment given how long The Godfather has been out.

Why is this movie so popular? I don’t know the answer. But I think it’s because many people feel like they’re living in prison and have been given a life sentence to doing work they hate. They want to break free from their shackles.

More than anything else, they want FREEDOM! And Shawshank delivers that moment of freedom. It’s a beautiful story that makes the soul weep with joy and provides the hope and promise of being human.

The great thing about Shawshank is that it also provides a solution. By quietly chipping away at your main goal and consistently taking action daily, you will achieve the success and freedom you have longed for. With ‘pressure and time,’ you can turn the darkest coal into the most brilliant, magnificent diamond the world has ever seen.






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