Four Keys to Success
As Thoreau said, If you've built castles in the air... that's great. Now, get to work and make that dream happen!
I believe there are four ingredients necessary to build the "foundation" under your "castles in the air." They are, according to Norman Vincent Peale, "work and pray, think and believe."
Let's take a look at each of these four components in more detail.
Work: Take Persistent Action
Everything that ever was began as an idea - someone's dream or "castle in the air." Turning that dream into reality took some kind of effort. It took action on their part to build the "foundation" underneath it. And depending on the size and scope of the dream, project, or goal, it probably took more than one action step.
Reaching a goal or turning that dream into a reality is a process - a journey. It requires persistence and determination. Plus, to help you keep on track and moving forward, an action plan is essential. This is where SMART goals come in handy.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, accountable, realistic, and timed. Here's an 8-step process to help you create your action plan:
- Clearly define your goal. Write it down in specific, measurable terns. Establish a completion date.
- Identify any potential obstacles to reaching your goal.
- Determine who else might be involved in or impacted by your goal.
- List all the activities or objectives necessary for reaching your goal. Group them into 30, 60, 90-day benchmarks if the goal is more than 6 months away.
- Sort all activities into a logical sequence. Concentrate on a single step at a time.
- Estimate the time necessary for each objective or step, and get a total time estimate for the goal.
- Enter key activity dates on your planning calendar.
- Take action immediately! Do something now to begin the momentum forward.
Pray: Stay in Gratitude
Now that you've got your action plan and have begun working toward your goal, stay positive! The best way I know to do this is to pray - not so much in the way of begging and pleading, "please, please, please give this to me," but in a way of talking or asking with the belief that God (the Universe, Spirit etc) will hear.
Meister Eckhart, medieval theologian, said that if the only prayer you ever said was "thank you" that would be enough. And the Bible lets us know that if we "ask... it shall be given." So, state your prayer as a grateful affirmation that your dream, goal, or project has already been achieved.
Think: Eliminate the "yeah buts"
So, you're still working your plan and you've thankfully affirmed your desires to the heavens, now you have to deal with those "yeah buts" that will inevitably pop up.
The "yeah buts" are negative thoughts and fears that inhabit your inner world and filter through your mind-chatter. Whether they're voiced out loud or uttered silently, they are deadly companions to your dreams. If left to their own devices, they can side-track or completely stop you from achieving your heart's desire.
"Yeah buts" come from negative programming or negative thought patterns that we all pick up as we go through life. Most of them take root in our early childhood. They first show up as all the "reasons why" you feel you can't do something - namely, go for your dream. Then if you start taking steps toward your dream anyway, they throw out the "big guns" and start reminding you of your fears... "what would other people think?" "who do you think you are anyway?" "what if you make a mistake?" "what if you fail?"
If you are to succeed in building the "foundation" under your "castles" and achieving your dreams and goals, the "yeah buts" must be nipped in the bud.
To do this, you must first be aware of them. Pay attention to your self-talk and the things you say to others. When you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself or your dream, say "cancel, cancel" and turn that negative statement into a positive affirmation. When you hear yourself making excuses about why you can't achieve your goal, cancel that sentence and turn your "I can't..." statement into a "I wonder how I can..." question.
Like Henry Ford said, "If you think you can, you're right. If you think you can't, you're right." The choice is yours. Choose to think positively and eliminate those "yeah buts."
Believe - Have Faith in Yourself
You're continuing to take action steps while giving thanks that your desires will manifest; and you're pulling the plug on all the "yeah buts" and keeping your thoughts positive. Now comes the big question: Do you believe in yourself? Do you believe with all your heart that you can do this?
When you believe in yourself and your ability to persist and achieve, an irresistible magnetism surrounds you. In the Bible we're told that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains. It's like the energy of our faith summons the powers of the heavens and the Universe says, "Yes! Go for it! We're behind you all the way."
Sure, there's probably going to be some moments of doubt. That's human. And there may even be some "wrong turns" (some people call them "failures"). But when you believe in yourself and your ability to persist and achieve, you become unstoppable.
Thomas Edison admitted, "I failed my way to success." And so did every other person who ever achieved success. But they kept going and kept trying. "Fall seven times, stand up eight," as the Japanese Proverb says.
No matter what you're trying to achieve, no matter what kind of "castles" you've built in the air, begin now to lay the foundation under them. Just remember the four keys to success: take persistent action, stay in gratitude, eliminate the "yeah buts", and have faith in yourself, that you can and will succeed.... And indeed, you will.
© 2009 Becky Waters