Formula for Success

Posted by Todd Smith

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In yesterday’s lesson, I drew the distinction between pursuing things you think are important versus the things that you know are important, and I challenged you to make a list of the things most important to you. Today I am going to share with you a simple, five-step formula for achieving success you can apply to any item on your list.


Step 1.  Select an Item

Select one of the most important things in your life in which you have a burning desire to be successful.  Take a few moments right now and think of something that you can use for this exercise.

Step 2.  Identify the Little Things

Make a list of as many little things as you can think of that will play a role in helping you achieve your desired results. You’ll need to stretch your mind to create a list of at least 50 to 100 little things that will be contributing factors in achieving your goal. You will start with the obvious things that everyone else has thought of, but as you stretch yourself, you will then begin to think of the things that will give you the edge—the little things that will help bring about your intended results.

One of the fastest, easiest, and most effective ways to expand your list of little things is to find experts on your topic and read their books and blogs. There are experts on every imaginable subject giving away free information, just as I am doing.  In this day and age, anything you want to know is just a Google search away.

Step 3.  Get Started

Organize and prioritize your list of these little things.  Depending on the topic you’ve selected and your self-confidence, you can prioritize your list by importance, by the sequence in which you would do each item, or by what’s easiest.  If you want to build your self-confidence, start with the easy things.  The most important key is to get started.

As you build your confidence in doing the easy things, you will then gain confidence to do the harder things. And, by the way, I believe all top achievers started by building their confidence by doing the smallest and simplest of things.  This is where I started!

Step 4.  Give Your Best

Strive for excellence as you begin to focus on each item on your list.  I don’t use the term “striving for excellence” loosely.  If you want to be successful at something, you must give it your very best.  Half-hearted efforts are what average people apply to what they do, which is why they are average. If you want to be successful at whatever it is that’s on your mind, you must strive for the highest standard that you are capable of reaching.

As you continue to reach for higher levels, you will achieve higher levels. The compounding effect of small daily improvements is where great success is achieved.

Step 5.  Expand Your List

Continue to look for little things you can add to your list. Many years ago, I set a goal that I was going to be a successful entrepreneur.  My list began with the basics, such as my appearance, how I sounded on the phone, how I greeted people, my discipline in prospecting, being on time for my appointments, making eye contact, showing an interest in people by petting their dog, and so on. I began my list with about 50 little things.  Today I have more than 560 things on my list that have played a role in my entrepreneurial success.

Brian Tracy, one of the greatest personal development teachers of our time, said, “You have to put in many, many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you can achieve anything worthwhile.”

I learned early on that life is not an easy road; it is often unfair.  I love the challenge of being on the unfair side of the equation.

What side do you want to be on? Tell me what you think below.

You can be successful at anything that is important to you if you will focus on the little things that matter.

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About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.

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