I often talk with clients and in workshops about the “success formula” Napoleon Hill shares in his 1937 classic book “Think and Grow Rich.” It includes the following:
- Set a clear goal. What do you want to accomplish?
- Develop a detailed plan to reach that goal. Define exactly what actions you will need to take.
- Take immediate (and, as Tony Robbins would say, “massive”) action on that plan.
- Persist until you reach the goal.
To illustrate this formula, let’s look at Thomas Edison’s invention of the lightbulb.
Edison’s clear goal was to create a lamp that operated safely and inexpensively using electricity as its power source, replacing gas and kerosene lamps.
His detailed plan was extraordinarily simple: Test materials and combinations of materials until he found something that would not melt, burn or explode. It would instead safely and inexpensively provide light whenever and for however long someone wanted it.
His immediate action was to begin testing materials by running an electric current through them. Edison persisted in that action by continuing to test materials day in and day out for what turned out to be 13 months (and not six weeks, as he had projected).
What’s stopping you
In his book “Straight-Line Leadership,” Dusan Djukich adds two important components to the formula: Decide if you are willing to pay the price and monitor your actions, making corrections as needed.
The “price” Djukich is referring to is the willingness to take specific actions and to persist until you reach the goal. In other words, if it isn’t working, are you willing to keep at it, monitor it and make adjustments until you get it to work, or do you know at the outset that if you run into difficulties, you will stop?
With few exceptions, almost all of the failed projects and initiatives of the advisors I work with can point to a simple reason — when the specific actions required became too difficult, they allowed the project to stop.
“Webinars didn’t work for me,” an advisor who had recently updated his marketing plan told me.
“How many webinars have you done?” I asked him.
“Just one,” he exclaimed, “but it was a complete failure. Hardly anyone showed up, nobody invited a friend like I asked, and I got no business at all from it.”
Although his plan called for bimonthly webinars, this advisor scheduled one webinar in February that didn’t work for him and then stopped doing webinars.
The habit of stopping
The remedy for this is simple. Stop stopping. Starting a project and stopping is not the result of a lack of conviction or desire, or of willpower or courage. It’s a habit or a choice.
If the history of your business is littered with projects and initiatives that didn’t pan out, it isn’t because they were not good projects. It’s the result of either a lack of willingness to pay the price, or the choice to stop when it became too difficult or too expensive.
If you’re taking action on an important goal and you’re 100% committed to it, choose a new habit. Stop stopping.
Sandy Schussel is a performance acceleration coach who has been working with financial advisors for more than 20 years, helping them break through to a higher level of production.
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