Keys to Success

Keys to Success

Last week I watched a piece on CBS News about the 2017 National Teacher of the Year, Sydney Chaffee.  Ms. Chaffee is a prime example of what is “right” with America.  You could tell that she had a passion for children.  However, when asked the question, “What makes you better than other teachers”, she really didn’t know.  Her answer was a “deep desire to make change and build relationships with kids”.  

I suppose that is part of the truth, but I’ve learned from a 28 years of solving IT related problems, there are 4 things that separate average from good, or even great.  These principles apply to teaching, sales, business, clergy, parenthood or anything that requires you to leave your bed each day. 

1.       Passion: It is an absolute must.  If you don’t wake up consistently with a fire in your belly and absolutely believe in what you are doing, you will be mediocre at best.  I’ve witnessed the pinnacle of mediocrity and it’s not worth putting the picture on a Christmas card.

2.       Plan: If you don’t plan for your success, you have no plan to work.  Without a plan, you simply have a dream.  A goal is a dream with a timeline but it is still unattainable without a plan

3.       Execution: You have to execute on your plan and sometimes adjust.  If the plan isn’t making the timeline, do not be afraid to make bold changes.  Mike Tyson once said, “everybody has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth”.  Don’t be afraid to protect your mouth once you are hit. 

4.       Learn:  Never stop learning.  Those that quit asking questions, quickly lose their edge.  The world doesn’t stop just because you decide to stop examining it.   

Lagniappe: I’ll throw in one bonus that is a common in all actions in which others depend on you.  Show up and do what you say you are going to do.  I learned a long time ago that I could beat many of my peers just by being where I was supposed to be, on time, and then doing what I promised.  You’d be surprised at how many people don’t understand this one valuable axiom.   Happy Problem Solving!