The ABC's of Success

If only there were a short, universal handbook on how to become successful. But, let's face it, most people wouldn't read it. Instructional booklets are often ignored -- even the ones with only pictures. It would probably sit on a bookshelf (physical or virtual), gathering dust, as would-be readers blindly navigate their ways through life.

A million books address the topic, but in the end, the road to success doesn't come with explicit directions. While each individual may take incredibly different paths, there are some commonalities that all will share. Here are five characteristics that individuals of accomplishment are sure to exhibit. If you don't have all five, all the books in the world won't make a bit of difference.

A - Alignment
Many people may find some measure of success in their endeavors; however, only the ones who have fallen in line with purpose will demonstrate unparalleled levels of achievement. When an individual is following their soul's desire, auspicious opportunities seem to surface in support of this pursuit. Alignment holds the key to success of epic proportions.

B - Belief
Belief is an integral part of the foundation of success. Without it, all other aspects are severely compromised. One can only go as far as belief will allow. Although it may sometimes waver, its presence must outweigh brief periods of absence. Belief sets the tone for progress. Without belief, action is optional. With belief, action is mandatory.

C - Courage
Successful people must possess courage for two reasons. First, during the climb, there is always the risk of failure. It takes a great deal of bravery to continue on a course when there are no guarantees of victory.

Second, successful people must also have the courage to shine once they reach their objectives. Being outstanding is a sure way to attract critics. If you plan on being successful, understand that it is an ongoing practice in vulnerability.

D - Determination
As stated above, outcomes are not promised. The will to proceed has to originate from an internal source. The well of determination runs deep for those who are on a mission.

Roadblocks tend to distract and discourage the masses -- those who do not possess the required tenacity to continue. Even a wealth of talent cannot overcome a deficit of resolve. Often, the ones who succeed are the ones who are the most determined to do so.

E - Execution
Pay close attention to the next sentence. Successful people get stuff done.

Bright ideas hold no value. Those who execute bright ideas find and create value. For example, years ago, I used to cut off my panty hose to create that sleek look beneath garments. Sara Blakely created Spanx. See the difference?

Bright ideas may reveal intellect but execution reveals the go-getters. Sara caught on early; some of us take a little longer; others never take. The bottom line is that you can talk about it or be about it.

In conclusion, whether your version of success is grand in nature or extremely personal, the foundational principles are the same. No one arrives at their pinnacle of success without demonstrating these five characteristics. Are there any that you've struggled with in the past? Which other traits do you deem necessary?