“There is no elevator to success…”

“There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.”

-Author Unknown

Stairs to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty  Photo from Buildipedia.com

Stairs to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty
Photo from Buildipedia.com

The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor has 356 steps.
The Washington Monument in Washington D.C. has 897 steps.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, has 1,710 steps.
The Empire State Building in New York City has 1,860 steps.

Your journey to success has     ?     steps.

When I was a young adult, I visited New York City, seeing many of its sites, including the Statue of Liberty. I actually walked up the entire 354 steps, to look out what, at the time, were some pretty small windows.

I distinctly remember the tremendous burn in my thighs, my loss of breath, a good bit of sweating, and my legs feeling like jello on the way down.

These days, I see many people looking for the elevators and escalators of life, hoping to break little or no sweat on their journey to success.

For many—including myself—it is through burning efforts and striving that we most often achieve and truly appreciate our greatest successes.


Where in your past have you taken the stairs of life and achieved success?

What climbing is still required of you in order to rise to your next level of professional and personal achievement?

There is a very useful book by Rory Vaden titled Take the Stairs. It may help you get off on the right foot!

“Show me someone who has done …”

“Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.”

—Lou Holtz, retired American football player, coach, and active sportscaster

Photo from Flickr by twiga269

Photo from Flickr by twiga269

Think about the greatest accomplishments of your life. If you can, arrange them chronologically, from the achievements of your childhood to those of the present day. Which moments brought you the most joy and fulfillment?  Now consider the struggles and challenges you faced, and the effort it took to make your goals real.

In this quote, Holtz is giving us a bit of coaching to follow this practice as we tackle each of our days ahead.


What adverse conditions or situations are you facing at this moment? What is it worth to you to overcome these adversities in order to reach your most cherished professional or personal goals? How will you summon the personal courage and support of those around you to achieve your desires?

“Big shots are little shots who kept shooting.”

“Big shots are little shots who kept shooting.”

– Christopher Morely, American Journalist, Novelist, Essayist and Poet

photo from Flickr by Simplistic.designs

photo from Flickr by Simplistic.designs

What are your favorite examples of people who achieved great success through the power of persistence? Some of mine are Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, and of course, Michael Jordan.

What are some of your own personal stories where you stayed the course to achieve some important professional or personal victory?

Consider how you might break your “big shot” wins down into daily “small shot” behaviors you can easily practice on your journey of personal mastery. If this exercise is one you enjoy, both the journey and the results will reward you.


Consider picking up a copy of one or more of the following resources to enhance your resolve to keep shooting to realize your most deeply held desires:

Three Feet From Gold by Sharon Lechter & Greg Reid
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson & John David Mann
The Power of Persistence by Justin Sachs
The Dip by Seth Godin
Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden

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To Conquer Ourselves

”It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

– Sir Edmund Hillary, the first climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Photo from Flickr by Popeyed

Photo from Flickr by Popeyed

Sir Edmund Hillary is one of the world’s most famous mountain climbers. His adventures to the top of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, are legendary.

Hillary knew that we must first face and climb our internal mountains if we are ever to surmount the challenges we face in our outer worlds.


What external mountains do you need to face or climb? How will you summon the courage to conquer the internal barriers that appear to keep you safe and limited at base camp?

“Success is a ladder that cannot be climbed with your hands in your pockets.”

“Success is a ladder that cannot be climbed with your hands in your pockets.”
– Author Unknown

Image from Flickr by Travis Hornung

Image from Flickr by Travis Hornung

The spring and fall seasons here in Michigan require a “clean-up process” of leaves and other plant-related debris. This includes the need to climb up ladders and clear out the gutters on our roofs.

Imagine taking on this task and being told you had to leave your hands in your pockets as you climbed. Would you do it? Of course not!

Notice when, in your personal or professional life, you take on tasks half-heartedly, thereby leaving your hands in your pockets.


Where would grasping the ladder of success with both hands make the biggest difference for you today?

Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later

“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”

– Og Mandino, 20th Century American motivational author

Image from Flickr by symphony of love.

Image from Flickr by symphony of love.

Asking people to do their best, to seek excellence, on a key project or top priority seems like the ultimate cliché of coaching. Blogs, books, and quotes related to this simple idea abound.

What does doing your best truly mean? For most of us, it often seems impossible, given the image we have in our minds about how our “best” can look.

Consider the idea that we all have a “best continuum,” in which what we’re capable of varies depending on the day or time. Consider, too, that your actions are like planting seeds and tending a garden, where all efforts count and add up.


What does your best effort look like today? Take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate yourself, knowing that the sum total of all your daily bests will bring you the harvest you seek.

#116: “Most great men and women are not perfectly rounded in their personalities…”

“…but are instead people whose one driving enthusiasm is so great it makes their faults seem insignificant.”

– Charles A. Cerami, author

Many years ago, I read an article in a magazine entitled “Life Balance is Bunk!”

When I work with clients, many indicate that living a balanced life is one of their primary objectives. But if you study the world of personal and professional high achievement, you’ll find two things.

First, high achievers lead very imbalanced lives. Second, they are very happy and have actually chosen this imbalance at this point in their lives.


Rebalance your life by adding more of some things and reducing – or even stopping – certain other activities. If you do this exercise often, you will find that you too will have a somewhat unbalanced but happier life.

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Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision

“Teamwork is the ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

– Andrew Carnegie, Scottish-American industrialist

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Let’s face it: when it comes down to it, we’re all a bit selfish. Who hasn’t thought “What’s in it for me?” from time to time? People rarely will do something if there’s little or no personal pay off.

It seems that all truly great teams understand this, and add this special factor of shared accomplishment to their own individual success. Even the acronym TEAM has been described as “Together, Everyone Achieves More.”


How can you tap into the individual and collective motives of your personal and professional communities to obtain the uncommon results you desire?

The Stream Always Wins

“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.”

– Buddha, founder of Buddhism

In my early school years, most teachers would have described me as an average to good student with a bit of an attention problem. But in the eighth grade, and continuing through high school, I found a magic quality that I have used throughout my life. It’s been a key to my many successes.

I realized, through standardized testing such as the Iowa test and SATs, that I scored in the average to good range. Yet in the actual world of achievement, I could simply outwork others to achieve what I wanted.


Where can you apply the power of persistence to outwork others and achieve your goals?