Success Made Simple
- By: John Denvert
By Jack Canfield
The big secret about success is that there is no secret. The fundamentals of success have been known for centuries. However, there is a fail-safe formula that always works. I have been studying and teaching about success for more than forty years, and there is a tried and true formula that has produced financial abundance, breakthrough results, and deep fulfillment in my life as well as the lives of hundreds of thousands of my students.
This system always works, as long as you consistently work the system. So here it is-a success system that never fails, in eight simple steps.
Step 1. Decide Exactly What You Want
Most people never take the time to sit down and design the life they want to live. They live by default instead of by choice. They live a life determined by past conditioning and habit rather than consciously creating the life of their dreams. So the first step is to sit down and spend several hours asking yourself where you would like to be one year from now, five years from now, and ten years from now.
Clarify your vision of your ideal life in all the areas that matter to you. The ones I identified for myself are financial, job and career, relationships, health and fitness, fun and recreation, possessions, personal and spiritual growth, and contribution to the world. I want my life to be outrageous in all eight of those areas.
I want to encourage you to think big when you do this. General Wesley Clark, the former Commander of the Allied Forces under NATO, once said, "It doesn't take any more effort to dream a big dream than it does to dream a small dream." Think about that. Why not dream big? You might be telling yourself, I can't dream that big of a dream, because I don't know how to make such a dream come true. In step one you don't need to know "the how."
You just need to decide what you really want. So many of my students get stuck here, so it is really important that you be honest with yourself about what you want. Don't let the HOW get in the way of your dreams. Trust me, the how will become clear in the process. Right now all you have to do is believe that anything is possible. It's true that in order to reach your goals you may need to learn new skills, make new friends, build new networks, let go of old habits and develop new disciplines, and replace your limiting beliefs with new more empowering ones, but all of that will become clear as you proceed.
What you may not know is you have a built-in GPS system (like the one in your car) that will figure out the route to your chosen destination. This internal GPS system is your subconscious creative mind which is connected to everything in the universe through your intuition. All you have to do is to properly put in the destination. (We'll discuss how to do that in Step 3.) The GPS system will then provide a set of directions from where you currently are to where you want to go. Of course, you will have to follow the directions by taking action.
Step 2: Turn Your Vision into Specific and Measurable Goals
The second step, and this is critical, is that you have to turn each part of the vision of your ideal life into specific and measurable goals. The key questions in this step are "how much?" and "by when?"
Until you turn each part of your vision into a specific and measurable goal, you just have a wish or a dream. "I'd like to live in a big house on the ocean someday" is a very different statement than "I will live in a 5,000-squarefoot house on the west coast of Maui, Hawaii, by December 31st, 2016 at 5 p. M."
You want to state each of your goals in such a measurable way that an outside observer could come in at any designated time to observe and know that you had achieved it. "I want to lose 30 pounds" would become "I will weigh 135 pounds or less by June 30th, 2013 at 5 p. M." That way someone could show up at 5 p. M. On June 30 and watch you stand on a scale and know whether or not you had achieved your goal.
This is a critical step in properly programming the GPS system in your brain for success.
Step 3: Supercharge Your Goals with Affirmations and Visualization
This next step is one often given lip service, but rarely implemented correctly. And it is one of the most important steps in this system. Skipping this step is like trying to open a combination lock when you are missing one of the numbers in the combination. You must create an affirmation for each of your goals and a visual picture of what it would look like if you had already achieved the goal. This is how you lock the destination (your goals) into your internal GPS system.
Here is a simple formula for creating affirmations that work. Just start each affirmation with the words "I am so happy and grateful that I now _______." Then fill in the blank with a description of what you would be experiencing if the goal was already achieved. For example, "I am so happy and grateful that I now am driving my new BMW 750i down the Pacific Coast Highway." Or "I am so happy and grateful that I now have built three new elementary schools for girls in Nigeria."
Once you have an affirmation for each of your goals, take the time to read the affirmation and then close your eyes and create an internal picture of what you would be seeing if you had already achieved the goal. It might be the image of a sunset from the patio of your 5,000-square-foot home in Maui, your hands on the steering wheel of your new BMW, or the image of your 135-pound body in the mirror.
The last step is to engage in the following daily practice. Read one of your affirmations, then close your eyes and visualize the picture you created in your mind for that affirmation. And here is the most important part-actually feel the feeling you would feel if you had already achieved that goal. Generate that feeling in your body and bathe in it for at least 30 seconds.
Then open your eyes, read your next affirmation, close your eyes and visualize that goal as complete, and feel the feeling you would feel if that goal were complete. Repeat the process until you have gone through all of your affirmations. I usually am working on about 20 affirmations so the process takes me about 10 minutes in the morning.
If you want to accelerate your success, do it once again in the evening before going to bed-ideally right before you get into bed. This is a much better use of your time than watching TV right before you fall asleep. Recent research tells us two very important things. First, what you read about, listen to on the radio, watch on television and talk about during the last 45 minutes before you fall asleep gets processed more deeply during the sleep state than everything else that you experienced during the day.
Second, we now know that to get the greatest value from affirmations and visualization, you must first do them for thirty days in a row without interruption. If you skip them on Day 15, you're on Day One again on Day 16. This piece of research tells us one of the main reasons people do not get the results they want when engaging in personal development programs or practices. They fail to utilize this "30-day principle" when visualizing, creating a new habit, committing to an exercise program, implementing a new management program at work, or developing a new attitude or belief.
Step 4: Create an Action Plan
The next step is to create an action plan (as best you can at this stage) for how you will get from where you are to where you want to be. Often the challenge is that you don't know what to do to make it happen. That is okay. One solution is to ask someone who has already done it. Almost anything you want to do-from becoming a millionaire or a bestselling author to filling your practice with high-paying clients or reaching the top level in your network marketing company-has been done by somebody else. Locate someone who has done what you want to do and ask them to spend a half-hour mentoring you on the necessary steps you'll need to take.
When Mark Victor Hansen and I wrote our first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, we asked 10 bestselling authors like Ken Blanchard (The One Minute Manager), John Gray (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus) and Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for 12 years!) what we needed to do to get on the bestseller lists. We followed their advice, and it worked.
Another way to learn what to do is to take advantage of all the "how-to" resources that exist in the world. There are books written by experts who have already accomplished it in every field-from songwriting and relationship building to investing and business building. You can also learn from multimedia home study courses, coaching programs, seminars, trainings, webinars and boot camps. And of course, there is also a ton of information on the Internet.
Once you have the information you need, create a plan with action steps and timelines and then work your plan. Know that not everything you plan will work out exactly as you plan it, but it will get you into action, and then you can make corrections along the way. And remember, even if you can't see all of the steps when you start, as you take each step, the next steps will appear.
And remember this: After 30 days of doing your affirmation and visualization process, you will start to get creative and inspired ideas for actions you can take from your subconscious GPS system. They may come in the shower, while you're meditating, as you're driving to work or when you are taking a walk. But whenever they come, write them down and then act on them. The main thing is to get in the game and start.
Step 5: Take Action to Create It
In life, the thing that most separates winners from losers is that winners take action. Most people wait around for the perfect conditions before they act. They spend their whole life getting ready. Don't wait. Get started now. As the Nike ads say-Just Do It! I love the fact that the last six letters in the word satisfaction are a-c-t-i-o-n. Here are a couple of tips to get you started.
My friend Lee Brower taught me this simple technique that has got me off the dime numerous times with meditation, reading, exercise and writing. It's the "One-Minute Technique." A friend of Lee's asked him if he had ever read The Bible all the way through. Lee replied he hadn't because he didn't have the time. His friend asked him if he'd be willing to commit to reading it for just one minute a day. Lee agreed. What he found is that once he started reading for that minute, he would often get hooked and read for 15 minutes or longer. Eventually he got through the entire Bible.
Another valuable technique Mark and I developed is called "The Rule of Five." When the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book was published we decided to do five things every day to promote the sale of the book. We would send out five review copies to reviewers or celebrities who might promote our book, do five radio interviews by phone, make five sales calls to network sales organizations that might purchase our book to motivate their down lines, or call five churches to see if they would have us come speak to their congregations and let us sell our books afterwards-five specific action steps every single day no matter what.
As a result of this commitment, which we maintained for more than two years, Chicken Soup for the Soul went on to sell more than 10 million copies in the United States and was eventually translated into more than 40 languages around the world.
One of the most important actions you can take is asking-asking people to buy, to enroll, to support, to invest, to lend, to endorse, to advise, to participate, to volunteer, or to contribute. Often, the only thing that separates the successful from the unsuccessful is their willingness to ask for what they need and want. Unfortunately, many people are uncomfortable asking. Some are even paralyzed. They are afraid of rejection. They are afraid of hearing the word NO.
What got me over this fear of rejection was a formula that was taught to me by the girl who has the Guinness World Record for selling the most boxes of Girl Scout cookies in a single year-3526 boxes! Her formula was SWSWSWSW, which stands for Some Will, Some Won't, So What, Someone's Waiting. Don't let the fear of NO stop you. In fact, you can make a game out of it. Get excited about the NOs. See how many you can get in one day... Because what you'll learn is that the more NOs you get, the more YES's you'll eventually get. Remember, someone is waiting to say YES!
And think about this: There really is no such thing as rejection. If I get a NO, I am no worse off than I was before I asked. If I ask someone to lend me one thousand dollars and they say no, I didn't have a thousand dollars before I asked, and I don't have a thousand dollars after I asked. My life didn't get worse. It stayed the same. When we were trying to find a publisher for Chicken Soup for the Soul, we were rejected by 144 publishers over the course of a year. If we had given up after 100 rejections, I wouldn't be writing this chapter right now. No one would care. A rejection is just a step along the way to success.
Step 6: Solicit and Respond to Feedback
It is a fact of life that not all the actions you take are going to work out exactly the way you want. However, every action you take will produce some sort of result, and that result is feedback. All feedback is valuable. Pay attention to the external feedback (lack of results, no sales, complaints, criticism, discord, loss) and the internal feedback (illness, physical pain, boredom, stress) that says you are off course. Just keep making the necessary corrections until you get the results that you want. Sometimes you have to keep experimenting until you get it right.
Here's one of the most important things I ever learned. It's a series of two questions for soliciting valuable feedback from others in both your professional and personal life.
1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the quality of [our relationship, this product, our service, this meeting, me as a manager/employee/spouse/father/teacher] during this past [week, month, quarter]?
Anything less than a 10 as an answer gets this follow up question:
2. What would it take to make it a 10?
This is where the valuable information comes from. Have the courage to ask this question, listen to the answers without defensiveness, and act on the feedback.
Step 7 Practice Perseverance
In order to be successful you have to persevere in the face of resistance, disappointment, obstacles, setbacks and failures. There may be many times when you want to give in and quit, but the one quality more than any other that guarantees success is the willingness to stick with it, to see it through to the end, to refuse to settle for anything less than your dream. And remember, adversity and challenge is what gives you the opportunity to develop qualities such as courage, patience, tenacity, and compassion. And here's an encouraging statistic: the average millionaire in America has gone bankrupt or out of business 3.5 times on their way to becoming a millionaire.
Step 8: Practice Gratitude
The first and last step of achieving your goals is to have an attitude of gratitude-to be grateful for and appreciate all that you have. Most people starting out tend to focus on what they don't have rather than what they do have. What we have learned from movies and books like The Secret, which focus on the law of attraction, is that we get more of what we focus on. If we focus on our lack of money, friends, health or opportunities, we get more of that-lack. If we focus on all that we do have, and express gratitude for that, we get more to be grateful for.
Take a few moments every day to express appreciation for the many blessings in your life. Whether you write it down in your journal or simply make note of it in your mind, refocus your attention on those things you already have. Express that gratitude to God/Source/the Universe through prayer, meditation or the simple act of appreciation.
Also express your appreciation to those people who contribute to your life and your happiness-from your family members, friends and coworkers to the waiters, mechanics and others who serve you. You'll be amazed at the miracles that will begin to occur when you come from an attitude of gratitude and express appreciation.
Well, that completes the eight fundamental steps of a success system that never fails. All you have to do is to dedicate yourself to putting it into action along with all of the other insights, principles and strategies you will learn in this book. I invite you to live your life as if everything I have written here is true for a minimum of ninety days and see what happens. I know you will be astounded at the results!
About the Author
As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre-and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of more than 123 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise (and over 500 million copies in print worldwide), Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success.
Behind the empire Time Magazine called the "publishing phenomenon of the decade" is America's leading expert in creating peak performance for entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, managers, sales professionals, corporate employees, and educators. Over the last 30 years, his compelling message, empowering energy and personable coaching style has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals achieve their dreams.
Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach, " Jack has studied and reported on what makes successful people different. He knows what motivates them, what drives them, and what inspires them. He brings this critical insight to countless audiences internationally---sharing his success strategies in the media, with companies, universities and professional associations.
Jack is a Harvard graduate with a Master's Degree in psychological education and one of the earliest champions of peak-performance, developing specific methodologies and results-oriented activities to help people take on greater challenges and produce breakthrough results.
See more at: http://jackcanfield.com/about-jack-canfield/#sthash.ySEojtUX.dpuf
Most people never take the time to sit down and design the life they want to live. They live by default instead of by choice.
If success and personal fulfillment are what you want, Jack Canfield's online magazine can help you. To find out about Jack and his proven plan for success, come to http://jackcanfield.com/about-jack-canfield/#sthash.ySEojtUX.dpuf today.