Business Growth, Strategy Development

What’s Your Formula For Success?


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To be honest, there’s probably more than one formula for success. And some people can follow a formula religiously—and still not succeed. Maybe that’s because too many business people focus on the “formula” and not enough on working that formula.

I’d like to suggest a formula for success—and describe what it means to work that formula. The formula itself is fairly simple: Dreams + Vision + Goals + Actions = Success. That seems pretty straightforward.

Dreams are unfettered, “what-if” ideas. They’re not bound by practicality or feasibility. And nobody asks what a dream costs. But dreams are critical to coming up with a product or a service that nobody else is pursuing. If you don’t dream, you’ll probably just do the same thing everyone else is doing—and be stuck with the unenviable task of trying to convince potential customers why they should choose you instead of your competitor. Dreams are crucial to success. But they’re not enough.

Vision comes into play when you take your dreams and begin to flesh out what it’s going to take to make those dreams a reality. Your vision is a bit more defined. It takes on specific parameters. It’s more measurable. It’s still broad, but it’s more specific than your dreams. You’re moving toward something concrete. But having a vision for what success looks like isn’t enough. Your vision drives what comes next.

Goals are specific, measurable milestones. You either hit them, or you don’t. You may adjust them if they’re off—but you set them and then, at regular intervals, you track whether you’ve achieved them or not. Hitting or not hitting your goals tells you in no uncertain terms whether you’re making progress. And if you’re not hitting your goals, you have to take corrective steps. But simply having goals won’t get you where you want to go. Those goals need something more.

Actions are where the rubber hits the road. You won’t see your dreams fulfilled, your vision come to fruition, or your goals realized unless you take action. The specific actions you take grow out of your dreams, vision, and goals. But this is where the work part of the formula comes into play. What specific actions do you need to take in order to achieve your desired results? It’s all theory until you take action.

Of course, there’s a bit more to success than a simple formula. If you look at the funnel illustration above, you’ll notice that the funnel gets narrower as you continue the process. That’s because your thinking and your actions become increasingly specific and have definite consequences. It’s good to start broad and encourage new ideas, but the farther along you go in the process, the more you need to narrow your focus and deliver on specifics.

What are your biggest challenges in moving from dreams to success?

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