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One of our graduates was talking about how he has struggled to gain the success that is equal to his skills. This wasn't just in his new profession but also in a secondary profession that he has been dedicated to for his whole life. The question behind the comment was, why do some people make it and others struggle for a long time without success.

From my experience, it comes down to a very simple thing: Having a plan and actually working the plan. 

There are a lot of talented people that generally know what they want or have a desire for success, but they never seem to attain it. They may be perpetual students, always feeling like they need to learn more before they are ready. Or they may spend a lot of time thinking about what they want or even fantasizing about it, but just can't move beyond this phase.

Some of what holds people back are the fear to commit to doing something. But the biggest thing seems to be a lack of a plan or the discipline to use it.

In the hilarious movie, "What About Bob" the character has to focus on baby steps to overcome his fears and accomplish his goals. The lesson is that to succeed you need a plan but you also need to become a master of Baby Steps. Focus on the next step. Don't think about the whole plan and outcome. It can be overwhelming.

Figure out what the very next step is and do it. It could be as simple as getting a notebook to record your plan. Is your plan written already? Then look at your plan and see what the very next step is. Often people are not clear on the next step so they get stuck. This is where becoming a master of baby steps is crucial. Let's break down an example. 

  • Your plan may call for getting financial backing to open an office but you have been stuck at that step without progress for some time. Why? Because that isn't the next step.
  • Your next step may be to decide what type of backing you need. But if you break that down you find that you actually need to learn more about the need to learn more about what the different financing options may be. You may have been thinking about loans but don't have a banking relationship where you can get a business loan. But you don't know how to set up that type of relationship and a bank loan may not be the best route but you don't know what else you can do.
  • So the next step now becomes talking to people who can give you guidance. But who? Possible options might be found at the Small Business Administration, a local Chamber of Commerce or Business Networking Group, or from other successful people who you know or don't know who is in the industry.
  • So the next step is to make a list of who may be able to help you to come up with a plan to finance your business. (Of course, you should have a written business plan before you ask for their time and ideas.)
  • And then the next step is to get the phone number, make the call and set up 2 or 3 meetings.

This is the process you must master. One step at a time. Everything that is has been accomplished one step at a time.

Larger projects may have multiple simultaneous paths but each path is one step at a time. Some paths may be dead ends and others may have obstacles, but every path must be taken one step at a time. There are no shortcuts if you want a solid outcome. However, there are a lot of detours if you don't have a plan to start with. Which brings up a very important point about baby steps and plans.

Often the next step is to modify something in the plan.

Plans are developed from the point in the journey where you are. You can't always know all the opportunities or obstacles that may be around the corner. You will find them as you progress down the path, one step at a time. When you see a new opportunity or encounter an obstacle, it's very important to take the time to modify your plan. This is where using the S.W.O.T techniques is a powerful next step that should be built into your plan at important benchmarks along the way.

The final part of the process is personal accountability to act. Your progress is totally up to you. You have to take another step in your plan daily. The more steps you take the faster you will get to your success. Get rid of your TV. Get rid of all distractions. Any time you are not taking a step forward, figure out why. If two days go by without taking steps, you are in the danger zone. Your next step is to figure out why and to take the next step in your plan within 24 hours.

You have to be relentless about taking at least one step a day. Think of that. At the end of a year of taking one step a day, you will be 365 steps into your plan. Would that change your life? Would that make your plan happen?

I look forward to watching your success and hearing about your accomplishments. Your questions and perspective are always appreciated. 

In Prosperity,

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