The 7 Keys to Successful Living
Listen to Lou being Interviewed on The Best of Portland about “The 7 Keys to Successful Living”:
1. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude!
I know of no better foundation for anything worthwhile than that of gratitude. Be thankful. One of the great ways to get more is to be thankful for what you already got. Gratitude gets you ready, gets the consciousness ready to receive more by being appreciative for what you already got.
Simple exercise – start every morning by saying three things you’re grateful for. Soon your gratitude will reflect in everything you do, I promise.
2. Be clear on what you want and why you want it!
There is tremendous power in clarity; it gives us that laser-sharp focus required to be successful at anything. A lion does not see the herd of buffaloes; it only focuses on the “one” buffalo it will attack. We could all learn from that example to increase our success rate in whatever we pursue in our lives. There will always be thorns before the rose; this is where the “why” comes in. The stronger the reasons behind what you want, the easier is will be for you to go through the thorns on your way to the rose.
Write down 3 goals in all major areas of your life (health, finances, relationships, career, adventure, love…) and why you want to accomplish them. Plan the work and work the plan!
3. Don’t do it alone; leverage yourself!
Success leaves clues. Learn from those who have traveled the road you’re on; follow the proven strategies they generously left behind. There is no need for us to reinvent the wheel, instead, let’s build synergistic partnerships with people in order to leverage our efforts. There’s an African proverb that says; “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”
Find mentors in your area(s) of interest. Take them to lunch or buy them coffee and ask them to guide you through. Find like-minded people to rally around your idea/cause and capitalize on the unique gifts and talents each one brings to the table.
I define congruency as that magical place where who you are and what you do are in total alignment. True success comes when we do what we love and we love what we do. When our values and our core beliefs are manifested daily in our actions. I heard someone describe work as “love made visible”; well that can only be true if there’s congruency in our lives. When congruency is absent, we hear things like; “…I hate my job, but it pays the bills…”, “….I love my spouse, but I’m not in love with him/her…”, “I want to be financially independent but I believe money is the root of all evil”, “I want to be healthy and fit but hate working out…”, “…I want to be successful but don’t want the attention that comes with it…” and so on and so on. It’s impossible to move forward when we have internal conflicting values and negative self talk. Our actions must be in alignment with our core values and beliefs if we are truly going to live a fulfilling life!
Ask yourself this first series of questions; “Who am I?”, “What are my core values and beliefs?”, “What are my standards?” After you’ve listed the answers, now ask yourself the following: “Are my daily actions reflecting who I am inside?”, “Do I surround myself with the people that mirror my character?”, “Am I being true to myself?” Write down your answers and go over them regularly.
5. Feel the fear and do it anyway!
To no one’s surprise, fear is the greatest obstacle standing between us and our dreams. Whether it’s the fear of failure or the fear of success, we are crippled by it just the same. Fear is such a powerful force; an emotion so intense that no matter who you are, where you are and what you do, you’ve felt it many times in your life. I believe fear is not to be avoided but rather used to our advantage. Fear is nothing but a call to action! It’s not a coincidence that the less prepared, less informed, less equipped, less skillful we are, the more fearful we get. I say, let’s welcome fear; let it inspire us to become better prepared, equipped, informed…to take on whatever lies in front of us. Just don’t let it paralyze you!
Resolve today to use fear to push you forward rather the stop you dead in the tracks or make you change direction. Remember the acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real!
6. Never quit!
One of the many lessons I’ve learned from my father is simply NOT to give up. Never quit! I believe that true failure only occurs when we throw in the towel and quit. Every successful people, business, country, organization has ‘failed’ their way to the top. In fact, the main reason they’re at the top is because they simply do not quit. Try until you triumph! In baseball, the leader in home runs is usually also the leader in strikeouts; you just got to keep on keeping on. As cliché as it may sound, it is true; “winners never quit and quitters never win!”
Decide today to throw the word quit out of your vocabulary. Change your approach as many times as you need to in order to achieve your goals but do not quit on your dreams!
This is simply my favorite of all 7 keys. Significance speaks to our ability to lift others around us and take them to a higher level. There’s a Congolese saying that goes: “When you take the elevator to the top, don’t forget to send it back down for someone else.” Significance is about lighting another’s candle and creating more light for everyone. Be a river and not a reservoir; let your gifts and talents flow on to others. Remember, what you give, you get to keep!
Volunteer, mentor someone, help wherever you can, share freely, give more, expect less…
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