7 Steps to Becoming Excellent at Anything

My last post, I have to admit, was a tad negative, so to balance that out I thought I would give you this simple process to succeed at pretty much anything. Whether it is learning to juggle or setting up a multimillion pound business (or anything in between), follow these simple steps to improve your chances of success.

1. Define Your Desired Outcome

This is so simple it seems obvious, but so few people I work with actually have a well-formed, defined and developed outcome (maybe because it seems so obvious?). No wonder they fail, they don’t know what they want to succeed at!

What you focus on you tend to get more of (this is not a “Secret”, Law of Attraction thing, it is basic psychology), so you need a clear, compelling representation of what it is you want and focus on it.

2. Review Regularly

It is all well and good having a clear and powerful outcome, to know exactly where you want to go and then steam off into action but, to steal an analogy from Anthony Robbins, you may have a desired outcome to see the sun rise, but if you keep facing west are you going to see it? No. You need some sort of feedback mechanism that you can use regularly to check whether you are going in the right direction. This feedback may be obvious, or it may be a little more subtle. Feedback works best when you break the larger goal down into smaller steps or objectives and check regularly you are succeeding in them.

3. Reward Yourself

When you reach a “waypoint”, when you succeed in one of the smaller objectives on your way to reaching your BIG outcome, reward yourself. It can be anything that you want; ice cream, cake, those shoes (as long as you can afford them). This will keep you focused and motivated (see step 6). There is no point doing this if you don’t enjoy the journey. Imagine slogging your guts out, hating every minute of what you are doing and just as your goal is in reach, you get hit by a bus. Was all that pain and stress worth it? Enjoy the process (I am not saying it won’t be tough along the way though…)

4. “A Talented Artist is a Talented Thief”

The great thing is that anything you want to achieve, there is probability somebody out there who has already done it, or done something similar. Hunt that person down and find out how they did it (in NLP we often pretentiously call that “modelling”, because it sounds better than “stealing”) then copy it, or adapt it to your own needs.

5. Become Obsessed With It

There are no shortcuts (ignore anyone who tells you there is, they are probably trying to sell you something). To succeed you need to put the hours in, in his book “Outliers: The Story of Success” Malcolm Gladwell suggests you need to spend at  least 10,000 hours on something to become successful at it, you may not need that long (depending on your outcome or desired level of competency), but it give you an idea of the level of commitment. You need to immerse yourself in it, become slightly nerdy about it, bordering on the obsessive. You want to be doing it as often as possible, and when you are not practicing it or working on it, you need to be thinking about, researching it, reading about it or dreaming about it.

6. Be Tenacious

You will lose the plot, get distracted, get bored, want to give it all up, but you need to keep going. People who succeed over those that fail, more often than not, are not the ones with more ability, they are the ones with more tenacity.

7. Take Utter Responsibility

If you want to succeed, you have to utterly accept that it is totally up to you, no one else is going to help you and you are on your own. Well, maybe not that extreme, but you have to accept that the successes and failures you have along the way are yours, no one else’s. Learn from both and move on. If you start blaming things outside of yourself then you will probably not succeed. Sure, things outside of your control will affect your progress (the biggest recession since the 1930’s has somewhat stalled a lot of peoples progress…), but you need to accept it and, if possible, use it.

As you can see, these steps are not complicated, there isn’t really any “secret” to success, just focus and hard work.

Best of luck in everything you choose to succeed at.


About Matt Caulfield

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