I read somewhere recently that ‘success is a multitude of small decisions made every day’.
We often get caught up in the big picture of our goals and overlook the simple steps involved. If you have big goals, the first step is getting out of bed! You have to get started. You have to put in the time, put in the effort, and seek the knowledge and information you need to succeed.
Skip the small steps and you’ll never reach the big goals.
In our world of instant gratification, we tend to expect success to come with the same lightning speed that we encounter in other areas - especially when so many of the stories we see around us seem to be tales of overnight success.
Dig a little deeper and you find that the hidden foundation of all those successes were months or years - or decades even - of commitment, practice, preparation, and gaining knowledge or experience.
And those people who gain some measure of ‘success’ without that solid foundation? They tend not to be able to sustain it: they have their 15 minutes of fame, and everything crumbles shortly after.
I don’t know about you, but my idea of success is to build something lasting - whether that’s a career, a business, a family, a project, a product, or whatever. I want to create and nurture something that I can be proud of for years to come.
And that kind of success never happens without sustained effort and perseverance.
So, if that’s the kind of success you’re looking for in life, what small actions or habits do you need to develop, so that each and every day is a step in the right direction?
How could you spend 15 minutes each day progressing toward that successful future you envision for yourself?
It could be as simple as taking time each day to just stop for a few minutes. Not looking at your phone, or laptop, or any other screens or devices; not talking to anyone; not listening to anything… Just you and your thoughts, just breathing and allowing yourself to relax and enjoy a moment of peace. Catch up with your own thoughts, and let your mind draw the connections it doesn’t have time for during the input-overload that can happen throughout the rest of the day. If this isn’t something you’ve ever done before, you may well be amazed by the difference it can make, when you make it part of your everyday.
You might decide to spend those 15 minutes a day just taking the time to think, reflect and note down your thoughts - thoughts on how you’re doing, where your life is at currently, and any changes or new things you want to see happening in your life. This process of unloading can help turn the semi-abstract tangle of your thoughts into concrete ideas you can do something with! You might want to keep a ‘thoughts & ideas’ notebook, sketchbook or digital equivalent, with you throughout the day so you can jot things down as they occur to you.
You might want to spend those 15 minutes each day on learning, or developing a specific area, or building a concrete skillset. Whether it’s practicing Spanish vocab, or memorising Chinese characters; listening to a podcast, or reading a book on leadership; watching how-to videos, or doing a few lessons of an online Python course - work out what specific knowledge or skills will help you get where you want to go, and put in the effort to develop that area. 15 minutes isn’t long, but you’ll be amazed how you progress each week, when you are doing a little bit of work in that area every single day.
You may want to take the time to have purposeful conversations with people who can give you insight, guidance or correction - whether a mentor, parent, guardian or tutor - seek out people who know about the field you are working towards and find ways to engage with them and glean understanding from their experience. Let them know what you’re working towards and find out what they did to get to where they are - what was most important for them, and what would they do differently if they had the chance?
It may be any, or all, of those things… and you’re not limited to 15 minutes!
If you have more time to put into your own development, so much the better! If you can only spend 5 minutes most days, but a couple of hours each weekend, then that’s great! Whatever fits your schedule and works for you - the important thing, is doing something.
Because if you’re not serious about putting in the time and the commitment now, you’re not serious about having that future that you picture for yourself…
The simple truth is that the more time, effort and integrity you put in, the closer you’ll get to being able to build your own success story, whatever that may look like for you!