Success is not one thing.  It is unique to each individual and defined by each person differently.  The tools we use to be successful in life are just as unique based on who we are and our life experiences.  

My experience with success has been a constant reinventing of myself, brick after brick, defining my personal brand, imagining my future and what I want it to look like and what I want to be known for.   There are no quick fixes to becoming a top performer in life.  You have to want it and want it badly.  It has to be a commitment, and those who are most successful have been those who tap into a deep drive to improve themselves and become more.  It requires stepping out of our comfort zone and pledging to become the best of whom we are as a person, and taking what we learn today and using it to build a better tomorrow.   

Over the years I have been able to identify what I consider to be some of the best practices to achieving success.  This is what I call my “Professional plan for achieving the most from everything.” I have been able to build a foundation that has served me well and been my guide on my journey through my personal and professional life.   They have been my bible for personal growth and development.  I would like to share these with you.

Passion opens doors

When we are passionate, we don’t have to try to produce in whatever we are doing in life.  It comes naturally.  It sweeps over us like a tidal wave.  When we meet people, whether for the first time or have known them for years, they will immediately pick up on our passion. When we are passionate, we enjoy the climb just as much as when we reach the top.  Former professional hockey player Reggie Leach once said,” Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion.  You must first set yourself on fire.”  

Always have a positive attitude

Every opportunity is a chance to grow.  How we perceive those opportunities determine our next step.  Whether perceived failure or not, it does not matter.  Sometimes failure is a signal for change in a new direction. The type of attitude is the surge that gets us to that next step.  I had a mentor once tell me, “Shoulders back and head up.  Don’t take the lazy way out.  If you have a positive attitude you will always stand out from the crowd.”   That is advice I will never forget.  If it helps, make a list of the most positive people you may know.  Check off their attributes and use those you would like to instill in your life.

Stay motivated at all costs

When setting a goal, set one that may seem unattainable.   And then set one a little higher than that.  That way you are stretching yourself.  You are making what may seem impossible possible.  As a kid I remember riding in the car on numerous occasions constantly saying, “Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?”  We all have been there.  It was exciting.  The journey was enticing.  I was motivated to get from point A to point B.  The greater the journey, the more committed we have to be.  You have to tell yourself, “I have maximum potential for greatness and to achieve great success in my life.”  Each of us is motivated in different ways.  You have to find what works for you and use it to reach your fullest potential.

Be intentional and persistent

Top performers never give up.  Sometimes whispering, often screaming, pay attention and keep moving.    Every choice gives us a chance to pave our own road and create our own future.  We cannot simply let life happen.  If we do not decide, life will happen anyway.   If we intend for something to happen, it will happen.  Everything is a choice and only we can define our commitment to that choice.  If we are committed, we will be persistent.

Develop a team of relationships and mentors that will help you on your journey

We are greatly influenced by our immediate suggestive environment.    Motivational speaker Tony Robbins said, “If you surround yourself with people who will never let you settle for less than you can be, you have the greatest gift that anyone can hope for.”  I had a mentor for several years – since passed – who always said to me, “Surround yourself with positive, mentally healthy people that promote all your goals and visions and you will achieve much.”  Our minds are like a living magnet.  And the people we spend our time with have the greatest impact on what we become.  

Give and serve unconditionally

Being a mentor and serving others simply guarantees success.  Everything I do is built on relationships. My relationships are meaningful to me.  I have found when I have taken time to stop, listen and listen again, there is so much I learn, and so much I gain, just through giving.  My greatest and most successful collaborations are because we have built a significant friendship and have created win-win opportunities for one another.  Those win-win opportunities continue to help so many people.  And when we develop ourselves, I find that I build good resources that I can share and sometimes clear a path for someone else in their life.

Expect success

When we define our expectations, our expectations determine the result.   High achievers and high performers expect positive results.  Negotiate with yourself the top five specific things you want to accomplish in a given period of time, and have the expectation to make that happen in that given period of time.  Create landmarks, and it gets back to that question I spoke of earlier, “Are we there yet?”  And if you are not, you should be headed there.  H. Jackson Brown, author of "Life's Little Instruction Book,” said, “You pay a price for getting stronger.  You pay a price for getting faster.  You pay a price for jumping higher.  But also, you pay a price for staying just the same.”

Have vision and focus

People who are clear in their vision and have focus always rise to the top.  Top achievers recognize their place in the world, are excited, have driven performance and see their future clearly.  Having vision will make one relentless in reaching their destination.  When we have vision, we do not lose sight of what is most important to get it accomplished.  Be patient with yourself in what you are trying to achieve.  However, razor focus will help you get there consistently and effectively.

Innovation is king today.  However, to be successful, I believe it takes more than innovation to win.  It takes relationship management, self -management, character building, personal development and strategic thinking.  Ralph Waldo Emerson eloquently stated, “Self-command is the main elegance.”  Not one thing is the golden rule.  And one thing I personally have learned over the years: progress is not a single step.  These are the tools I use.  However, I am constantly adding to and trying new things to improve.  When we keep pushing to become mentally fit, we will always be ready for when the next opportunity arises, as a Powerful Top Performer.

St. Aloysius Orphanage is located at 4721 Reading Road Cincinnati, Ohio 45237. You can reach Thomas Courtney, St. Aloysius’ Chief People Person, at 513.242.7600 ext. 4308, by email at TCourtney@stalsorphanage.org or visit their website at www.staloysiuscincinnati.org.