Op-Ed

Getting to the top: Starting your success journey right, pt. 2

The questioning is the process of confirming the authenticity of your capacity, capability and competence. If these are not in the right shape, your climb will often be disrupted. In fact, you may even experience calamitous falls. Pay attention to your preparation as you grow along the way.

You will need the right mindset to get you to the high points of your climb. Mindset determines your level of resilience especially when things go wrong or in moments when the element are not favorable. In a properly conditioned state, you will see opportunities where others see none. You will be able to steal victory from what seems like eminent defeat. The ability to recover and move on after a bout of failure, the ability to regenerate enthusiasm, and the ability to stay focused on the task despite challenges are example of the value of a proper mindset. An effective mindset undergirds a spirit of “can do”, “will do”, “must do”. Such a mindset consistently searches for the seeds of possibilities and give them life, no matter how small and inconsequential they may seem in the moment. In fact, proper mindset sees beyond the size and quantum of the thing in the moment easily envisioning the potential and therefore the future payoff. For your journey, for your climb to the top you must cultivate and nurture, at every step of the way, a positive mindset.

So as you set out for this new and exciting decade of great achievements, especially if you are someone who has not to date realize ongoing success, applying the pointers above could be a game changer for where you will find yourself, one, five or ten years from today. It will be important that in setting and executing your goals you demonstrate great determination. You have to steel you mind and be ready to go the extra mile over and repeatedly as is necessary to achieve your plans. Become strategic and intentional in all your efforts. It may not be too much to restate and say you have to be intentionally strategic. This addresses matters at hand for the immediate time but also seek to seed the path for the future. Be strategic for example in networking, in securing resources, by helping others. It is akin to a well-trained martial artist who works hard to become so economical in his movements he consistently out positions his opponents always a step or two ahead. Resolve to display persistence through consistent action. No matter how small the gain or how slow you think you may be progressing remember that consistency is the wiggling worm attracting the hungry fish, is catches attention of the unlikeliest observers. Never stop, never give in, and never give up. That is the mindset needed for a successful climb to the top. However, more so keep thinking success. Always see yourself getting it done. Always see yourself in a triumphant ending regardless of how desperate the current circumstances may be. Success demand success mindedness. Success oriented thinking helps to fire ones desire for greater achievements. Remember the bigger ones are always just up the road, slightly around the next bend, ever so temptingly out of sight. You must therefore focus on each moment, be in the moment and keep working towards your mountain top, your goals!

To assist your start and take you on this journey of great significance to your well-being and for those who look to you for support and inspiration, we lay out our ten-step guide for your consideration. We are mindful that there are many paths to the same destination. This is but one path, but a path nonetheless which we find to be workable and which we have applied in the development and pursuit of our own goals and plans.

1. Take stock of where you are. Take time to make a true and honest assessment of where you are in various aspects of your life. Be ruthlessly honest. Do not hide or gloss over anything that may not be positive now. Remember that either without proper problem definition the problem will be left unsolved or the wrong problem solved. Did we say left unsolved? You get the picture! Tell it like it is. After all, it is still a secret, as you do not have to share this aspect of your process with anyone.

2. Get input from trusted persons. Find individuals whole opinions and thoughts you value and get their input and insight. Let them help you understand where you really are by telling you how they see you and the potential they see in you. Use them to identify what you may be good at and otherwise. Use their wise counsel to eliminate and add areas of focus. This can be an invaluable and game changing aspect of your preparation.

3. Identify the critical areas of focus. Single out the areas you want to focus on. Having done your inventory of strength and weaknesses, honestly, having secured the input of trusted persons, now try to narrow down your focus areas to say 4 – 6 items be sure to include personal growth and development as a must have. Your continued growth is always necessary for your continued success. Keep the focus areas tight and lean and be prepared to go deeper in these areas not wider, spreading yourself too thing thereby becoming ineffective.

4. Make a simple but very clear plan. Keep you planning simple. You want to stay in the first instance for broad strokes but definitive future outcomes. The strategies and tactics can come later and must necessarily so. However, at this stage just elegantly lay out your big goals in a smart manner.

Finally, tell at least one trusted friend (an accountability ally) of what they are. By doing it this way you can share the big visions without having to disclose your strategies.

5. Encourage and be open to feedback. Feedback will come when you open up to another. Stay open to receive the value of this step, keep an open mind. Note that you are not obligated to accept anything. It is up to you to listen and determine what is valuable and what is not. The benefit here is that this challenges the robustness of your planning, it questions the practicality of your ideas, and it therefore potentially helps you to refine and adjust for greater efficacy.

6. Partner with someone on their journey. Intentionally create a relationship in which you are helping others make their way towards their goals. This works well if you and your

accountability partners agrees to work together to push each other forward. However, this need not be so. The commitment to help another could also help you focus on your journey. You may find commonalities along the way and there could emerge synergistic value in the partnership. Whatever the outcome always operate from a place where you accept the fact that, as others do for you, you too have something you can offer and leveraged such an arrangement for your own growth.

7. Start to execute your plans immediately. Find at least one thing, which you can do now, today and start doing it. This will help to create immediate impetus and capitalize on the creative energy that you ought to be experience going through your planning process. Do not ignore this step. Having done this commit yourself to do at least one thing, every day toward the goals. Such an approach helps to develop consistency, the worm attracting the prize fish!

8. Be patient but urgent. Do not kill yourself to get there in one fell swoop, it is not likely to ever happen in this way. The going may be slow and arduous so set your pace, work hard and smart at what you are after. However, be urgent. Patience is not a state of doing nothing. Be urgent and therefore do as much as is possible. You may hit a roadblock on one aspect but ensure that all others get the requisite attention. Design the timelines on your goals to stretch you, to pull out the best of you. Refuse to be impractical but do not be overgenerous in setting deadline, the result will be a massive waste of time. Be urgent!

9. Journal. Keep careful notes of your daily or weekly experience. Journaling is an excellent way of capturing lessons learned, experience gained and insights discovered. Keep as careful a record as is possible. In the future, such could prove to be a valuable tool for reflection and planning. At the end of each session you should be able to ask and answer in the positive, what did I do today to advance my goals? This forces you to consistently concentrate on your progress.

10. Focus on alignment. With you plan in place and all the strategies perfected and refined focus on alignment. Seek to align most of what you do to the objectives you are pursuing in the various areas of your life, this is not a suggestion for only doing that which augers to the advancement of your goals but in addition, much time must not be invested in useless alliances or endeavors.

Work hard to achieve and to maintain the highest level of alignment possible or practical.

• Hubert Edwards is a prominent accountant and financial consultant.

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