Seven steps to define personal success and make it happen

‘The greatest determinant of success is the view of self.’

Here’s how to frame the future and start moving towards it today. This approach borrows from the work of Gunter Lueger and his performance appraisal research.

Give yourself 30-40 minutes. Better yet, invite a colleague to ask you the following questions:

1. What would others say I do exceptionally well? How is that useful to them?

List at least 5 items and add detail to each one. Spend the most time on this task.

2. What do I do that others would say is good / OK, (i.e., not especially unique, but it works)?

List at least 3 items and add detail to each one.

3. What would others say I could do better?

List no more than 3 items. Spend the least time on this task. Stop thinking about it once it’s done.

4. Write a 10-15 word summary of the items in section #1.  This is your current elevator speech.

Read it out loud … with a sense of accomplishment.

5. Imagine … it’s 1-3 years from now and magically you have become even better at what you already do (section #1).

Describe the situation you are now in. Start with, I am now… (note: avoid ‘should’, ‘must’, etc.)

6. Still in the future (when you are successful), think back to when you wrote this list – ask yourself, ‘What did I do instead of the ‘better at’ list? (You’re probably not going to get much better at them anyway, so focus on #1 instead)

7. Go back to #5 (your future successes) and imagine it’s actually happening.

Ask yourself, ‘What small steps did I see myself taking to get started when I first (today) saw myself being successful?’

Will this change your view of self over night? Possibly. Better to keep asking the questions over time and watch happens. It’s all about looking at the solutions you want.


4 thoughts on “Seven steps to define personal success and make it happen

  1. Christina Attard

    This is a really empowering exercise – I haven’t seen it laid out so simply and well before, but this type of approach is something that coaches have helped me use and it’s very powerful. I’ve coupled it with some strengths/personality profiling.

    Really appreciate the reminder to return to this and this is a helpful guide that I can use and share with others – Thank you!


  2. Alan Kay

    Thanks Christina, your comment about combining this thinking with other learning / approaches. It reminds me of what I was presenting to some executives last week in Belgium … that it’s not about one process for change / growth. We can and should blend a variety of tools. Thanks for your always generous affirmation.

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