Take the Stairs to Success

Outstanding performance is one of the keys to personal and professional success I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become an outstanding performer you need to do three things.  1) Stay on top of your game by becoming a lifelong learner.   2) Set and achieve high goals.  3) Get organized.  Manage your time, life and stress well.

In the past week or so, I’ve come across the same unattributed quote several times…

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

I wish I knew who first said that because I’d love to have a conversation with him or her.  The hard work that taking the stairs implies is necessary to reach your goals and to become an outstanding performer.

In Smile & Move, Sam Parker suggests you become an outstanding performer by starting early and going long…

“Starting or leaving on time – whether it’s at work, a meeting or at an event – is what’s expected.  And if we do only what’s expected, we can be fairly sure we’ll rarely enjoy any special result. 

“A couple of quick questions…Of the 20 or so days you work each month, how many times do you start earlier than what is expected of you?  How many times do you work longer hours than are required?

“To start early and go long sends a message of purpose, commitment and respect to others and yourself – and assures better results over time.  To be even one minute late, or rarely be challenged ending your day on time, send a completely different message.”

I know this might seem contrary to the advice in The 4 Hour Work Week.  But I believe that starting early and going long are keys to high performance and success.  Neither Sam nor I suggest that you should always be the first one in the office and the last to leave.  However, a little bit of extra effort pays off in the long run.  Coming in 30 minutes early or staying 30 minutes later can give you the time it takes to do an excellent, not acceptable, job on a project.  It can give you the time necessary to take on and complete extra work that can help your company – and get you some recognition.

In The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson suggests identify specific dreams and goals and then answer three questions for each dream and goal. 

1. What price will I have to pay to achieve this goal?
2. What is my plan for achieving this goal?
3. What one simple daily discipline will I incorporate into my life to achieve this goal?

Often the price you have to pay and the daily discipline you’ll need to incorporate into your life is taking the stairs by starting early and going long.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are outstanding performers.  Outstanding performers set and achieve high goals.  If you’re going to set goals, they might as well be high.  If you’re going to achieve high goals, you need to “start early and go long.”  Starting early and going long means that you will have to pay some price and incorporate some discipline into your daily life.  If you’re willing to pay the price and act in a disciplined manner you will not reach, you’ll exceed your goals.

That’s my take on hard work and paying the price of success.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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