Success Principles for 2016

At least once a year we think about our goals, what we want to accomplish and what we want our lives to look like. It’s all fun and games, we enjoy the prospect of kicking ass and having a great year. It’s around now, this time of year, that we realize that this is going to be a lot harder than we realized.

The sluggishness sets in

Discomfort become apparent (working out is hard, learning French is hard…)

And we question our resolve.

Is it worth it?

Sometimes we’ve got to be honest and the answer is no. But usually, and for most things the investment of time and work pays off. A happier life, better sex, better sleep – it always pays off.

So how do you do it? How do you make sure that you stick with it long enough to see the benefit, to see yourself getting better? This has been my biggest struggle every single new year. It wasn’t until I really sat down and looked at the details that guided my success and of the successful people in my life that I was finally able to put it all together into 4 simple principles.

Principle 1 – Pen and Paper

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Anything worth anything has got to be written down. Tasks, goals, ideas. I used to believe that a computerized version, an app, could do it.

Not true.

For real honest progress pen and paper is *it* for driving your success.

Tech solutions have their place, but let me ask you this, when was the last time you got down and dirty and really wrote something down in a planner, goals on paper, thoughts on paper? For most of us it’s been a while.

Pen and paper force you to slow down, they carry a level of gravity that a computer doesn’t have- there is no delete key. What you write matters more, it fires something deep in the brain – something that says pay attention.

Application: Write down the 3 things you want to accomplish this quarter, then the 3 things that need to happen this month to accomplish those things, the three things you need to do this week to hit your month, and three things you need to hit today to hit your week.

All on paper.

Principle 2 – Be a friend

I was talking with one of my buddies this last weekend on how difficult it is to meet people after college, not in a dating way, just simply making friends. Making friends is really hard after school.

You can’t just walk up to someone on the playground or in the caffeteria and ask them to be your buddy…

Or can you?

Zig Ziglar said it best, “If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”

Asking another dude out to grab a beer can be awkward, it’s not something that comes naturally to most of us. I think there are social limitations we put on ourselves, what if we don’t get along, what if they’re really clingy, what if I’m really clingy, what if they’re a loser and people will judge me for hanging out with them.

It’s all in your head.

The most successful people in my life always had time for me, and for anyone seeking out friendship. As a coach I run into the situation every day when someone knocks on my door or pokes their head in “Hey Coach, you got a second?”

Yes – always yes.

The person you become by being a good friend is more important than the other tasks that you might not get done.

Application: Be the kind of person who’s always got a second for someone. Invite the new gal out for coffee, include her in your friend group.

Principle 3 – Be as brave as an 8 year old

I’m going to let one of my favorite plays do the talking (writing?) for me:

Ask a kindergarten class, “How many of you can draw?” and all hands shoot up. Yes, of course we can draw- all of us. What can you draw? Anything! How about a dog eating a fire truck in the jungle? Sure! How big do you want it?

How many of you can sing? All hands. Of course we sing! What can you sing? Anything! What if you don’t know the words? No problem, we make them up. Let’s sing! Now? Why not!

How many of you dance? Unanimous again. What kind of music do you like to dance to? Any kind! Let’s dance! Now? Sure, why not?
Do you like to act in plays? Yes! Do you play musical instruments? Yes! Do you write poetry? Yes! Can you read and write and count? Yes! We are learning that stuff now.

Their answer is Yes! Over and over again, Yes! The children are confident in spirit, infinite in resources, and eager to learn. Everything is still possible.

Try those same questions on a college audience. A small percentage of the students will raise their hands when asked if they draw or dance or sing or paint or act or play an instrument. Not infrequently, those who do raise their hands will want to qualify their response with their limitations: “I only play piano, I only draw horses, I only dance to rock and roll, I only sing in the shower.”

When asked why the limitations, college students answer that they do not have talent, are not majoring in the subject, or have not done any of these things since about third grade, or worse, that they are embarrassed for others to see them sing or dance or act. You can imagine the response to the same questions asked of an older audience. The answer: No, none of the above.

What went wrong between kindergarten and college?

What happened to ‘YES! Of course I can?’

Robert Fulghum

Application: YES of course you can!

Principle 4 – Get comfortable being uncomfortable

Julia Ropes

This is the granddaddy of success.

If you want to be great at anything, and I mean anything, you’re going to have to fail, be uncomfortable, and even look foolish sometimes. Discomfort is going to drive you towards greatness.

As it drives you to be great you mind is going to try and drive you away.

Hard work isn’t easy -> It’s in the definition

So many times people look at success and say, “well of course he could do it, look at the energy – look at the talent, look at the leg up” Look at the whatever, and think they because they don’t have that thing then they can’t be successful.

“You can have whatever you want, all it’s going to cost you is time and hard work” – Martin Rooney

If going to the gym makes you uncomfortable, but you want to lose weight – you’re going to have to get a little uncomfortable.

You might be thinking that of course it takes hard work, and of course it’s going to be uncomfortable – everyone knows that! Well if you know it then why aren’t you doing it? If you want to be successful and you know that doing things outside your comfort zone will get you there, why aren’t you?

Fear? Laziness? Lack of purpose?

Whatever it is know this – today will be over soon and you will never, ever get it back.

Application: Do something that makes you uncomfortable today.


Follow these 4 principles and you will be successful, and for some of us that might be enough. For most of us we are going to need an extra boost. Because the world isn’t set up for you to be successful, and it’s embarrassing to not fit clothes in stores, and feel the stares of strangers and hear the jokes of coworkers, because you don’t fit their standard.

It’s not about fitting in, it’s about being you.

What success means is to find what’s truly you and to live that out. To get there you’re going to need a coach, and we are here to help.

If you’ve been on your path for a while and you need the extra push, or if you’re on the sidelines waiting to jump in I want you to fill out the application below and we will set up a time to see if we can help you.


Don’t wait!