“Secrets” of Success

I recently ran across a couple of comments about “secrets” of success.

One is from Mark Sanborn’s blog (best selling author of The Fred Factor).

Another is from Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Selling.

By the way, if you are one of the few people that don’t own both of these books, I highly recommend you add them to your library.

There Are No Secrets

Both authors note there is no such thing as a “secret” to success. In fact, thanks to Google, Microsoft, and other search engines, as well as communities such as Wikipedia, there is really no such thing as a secret, period. The word “secret” might as well be removed from the next version of…let’s see, what is the most important dictionary these days?…Dictionary.com.

So Why?

So why is “101+ Secrets for Growing Sales by Leading Change” the subtitle of my latest book, Selling Change?

In the introduction I say, “[the book] contains 107 ‘secrets’, or principles, of effective change leadership…each ‘secret’ actually summarizes complex ideas about which entire books have been written.” As Mark Sanborn notes, if entire books have been written about them, they aren’t really secrets, are they?

So What Are the Secrets of Success?

They’re principles. Well-known principles that, when performed, consistently yield positive results.

But, you say, some people seem to have more success than others. And we all yearn for some new or better ideas that will get us out of our current rut. Goodness knows there must be a better way than what we’re currently doing, right? Well, there is one secret that both Mark and Jeffrey mentioned in their writing…

What is THE Secret of Success?

Performing the principles!

The problem is, people don’t implement the principles.

As Mark Sanborn says, “Instead [of looking for secrets and hidden information] study the great books, ideas and principles proven by time and then do the hard work of applying them to your life and situation.”

Jeffrey, being Jeffrey, is a bit more emphatic. He says, “I am consistently amazed and disappointed at the small number of people willing to execute the simple daily self-disciplines needed to reach higher levels of success. They know it will bring them the success they dream about, yet they fail to execute.” You wouldn’t be surprised, then, that Principle #1 of The Little Red Book of Selling is [drum roll, please]…”Kick Your Own Ass!” (Yes, Jeffrey uses the exclamation mark.)

New Idea

Here’s an idea for how to break through our human tendency to erect barriers for ourselves. Think of it this way:

Not succeeding is not that fun–and it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work to rummage for scraps after the winners have eaten the lion’s share. Then, once you work like crazy scrounging around to collect the scraps, they don’t taste very good. They’re cold and dirty.

So, if failing to implement the principles involves the same amount of work as implementing them, why not just implement them–and enjoy the whole, sizzling, juicy steak? What a concept, huh?

Or Old?

Back on the topic of “secrets”, alas, this is not a secret or new idea, either. The book that has had the biggest impact on my life is the one I read when I was about 12 years old. It is The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz and it was published in 1959. What I took away from the book at age 12 was, “So, if I have to work hard, no matter what, I might as well work toward bigger success than smaller success. In fact, I might as well succeed, instead of fail.”

I know what you’re thinking, “if he implemented those principles since he was 12, he must be writing this blog from his private island in the Bahamas.” …Well, I didn’t say I’m not human!

The key is to be incrementally better at implementing the principles every day. Here is one last “secret” of success for this blog entry: Secret #8 from Selling Change is “Make one change per day.”

If you make one small change every day, then when you look back at the end of the year, you will have accomplished far more than you could have imagined. …And that is success!

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