The Cycle of Success

We are now five days into the new year, and my guess is that those lofty goals you set for 2017 are but a failed attempt and fading memory. How is it that we continue to set goals and continue to fall short of meeting those goals? I think Seth Godin said it well:

“New Year’s resolutions rarely work, because good intentions don’t often survive a collision with reality.”

Seth Godin

And that “collision with reality” occurs, not only in our personal goals, but in our professional and organizational goals as well. As I was reflecting on this past year, I came across an article by Susan Mazza that I had saved in Evernote a few years ago. In the article, she describes what she called the “Cycle of Success”. Below is a brief summary of the cycle of success that I believe will help you accomplish your personal, professional, and organizational goals this year.

The Cycle of Success

  1. Get Clear – This is the “why” before the “what”. You have to clearly articulate why the outcome is important and worth pursing before you begin anything. Once you’re clear on the “why”, then you must get clear on what that desired outcome is going to be. If you begin something without clarity on both the “why” and “what” it is doomed from the start.
  2. Narrow Your Focus – Trying to accomplish 101 goals in 2017 is only going to leave you frustrated and confused. In order to make progress you have to have focused effort. If you’re having a hard time moving the ball down the field, it might just be that you’re trying to do too many things. Hard work doesn’t guarantee success but working hard on the right things does. So instead of focusing on those 101 goals, try narrowing your focus to a handful of things that would generate the greatest results.
  3. Do the Work – We often confuse activity with productivity. If you’re working hard but making little progress it usually means you’re not doing the important work. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of activity that produces low results. This is about working smarter (on the important things) and not harder (on the less important). Keep in mind, checking email for 3 hours a day is not work.
  4. Pull the Weeds – Weeds can range from the minutia of small details that can be captured for later or delegated to so
    meone else on the team…to the thoughts in our mind that can impede our success. If you find yourself getting stuck, it may be time to pause and “pull some weeds” so you can get back to the work at hand.
  5. Celebrate and Learn – Periodically take time to celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes. Pausing to see and celebrate your progress will motivate you to keep going when the work gets tough. And when it comes to your failures there is still much to be celebrated…it could be that you took action, took a risk, or learned a valuable lesson along the way.

What about you? How can you use this cycle to help make you more successful in 2017?


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