The ABCs of Success

ABCs of Success from Sue HinesIt’s Dead Simple!

We do tend to make life terribly complicated for ourselves. Stepping back to gain a fresh perspective often reveals basic truths. 

I spent some time on the weekend, looking through some notes I made while listening to a webinar series about a year ago. Each speaker had spoken about a different area of life – relationships, work-life-balance… yada-yada. As I flipped through the notes I realized the pattern common to all the stories about how to be successful.

This pattern is a simple and elegant, and a completely infallible way to achieve success – at anything!

It is so simple, in fact, that I have called it “The ABCs of Success”.

A is for Activate

This is about more than starting, it is about galvanizing.The verb “galvanize” means to cause (people) to become so excited or concerned about an issue, idea, etc., that they want to do something about it (Merriam-Websters). [By the way, I am really good at helping people with this!]

To be successful at something nearly always means putting in effort and facing challenges. So, if you want to be successful at something, you have to really, really want it, to have what Napoleon Hill calls a “burning desire.”

Activating this want and desire, includes, among other things, 3 important components:

  • Get clear on what it is. Clarity is everything. It sets the context that will frame every decision you will make on your journey. Take the time to weed out the non-essentials and get down to a crisp, clear notion of what you want to achieve
  • Focus all your energy on building the passion for it. Build up that want, that desire so you fall in love with it – so the excitement of it keeps you awake at night
  • Name it, label it, vision board it – do everything you can to bring it into sharp focus. Write it on sticky notes and paste them everywhere. Write it on your mirror. Type it up, print it out and frame it.

B is for Begin

Nothing comes from nothing. Get started. I have specific exercises for you if you are a “WhenI” (see my post about that here).

The controversial Tim Blixeth said:” Many great ideas go unexecuted, and many great executioners are without ideas. One without the other is worthless.” If you have done the Activation part right, you will not be able to live with the idea of “worthless.”

  • Lay out a plan and a timetable. Open up your calendar and figure out the dates. Don’t wing it. Be specific. And write it down. Even if your aim is relationships, make a plan.
  • Set SMART goals. What is success? Websters again: “the correct or desired result of an attempt.” You can only feel success if you have a desired result. that might take years, decades even. Specific, measurable, actionable/attainable, realistic, timed goals along the way will keep you succeeding.
  • Start acting on your goals.

C is for Carry On

You can only say you have failed if you give up trying, so this is the “dirty little secret” to success: Keep trying! By embracing the motto that you will carry on, you are guaranteeing that you will not fail.

Don’t let some false belief hold you back like I did (read about it here).

  • You will meet obstacles. it is the nature of life. “The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it” said Steven Pressfield. You may have to make a course-correction, change direction some, but if your vision is crisp and strong in your heart, these will merely be tactical changes.
  • Revisit “A”, frequently. Activate and re-Activate your passion and desire for where you are going. When you are in the thick of things, fighting fires and coping with real life problems, it is easy to lose sight of your objective. That is when most people get really hard on themselves if they forget to go back to “A” and collect their regular infusion of passion.
  • Recognize and acknowledge the smallest wins. Celebrate them, but don’t let them make you complacent. Rather, let them build your confidence and inspire you.

I know its really cheeky to say this, but these ABCs of Success sum up just about every self-help or How To book out there and are probably all you ever really need to be a success at anything in life: Activate, Begin, Carry on.

Where do you get stuck, A, B or C?   

What works to get you un-stuck? The motivation profiles of the Genies offer tools and solutions to get you focused or back on track. Master your Genie, get it working on your wishes, and success will be that much easier!

Go ahead – Find Your Genie HERE   (It’s free to discover).


  1. Debra YearwoodDebra Yearwood07-03-2014

    Great advice. Although it seems simple, those three things often require tremendous effort and focus. Finding something to have a burning desire for is challenging, but so worth the effort. To me, it is the difference between a life full of happiness and one full of disappointment.

  2. Laurie S HurleyLaurie S Hurley07-02-2014

    Nice analogy and so true! For me, it depends on the task or goal I am considering. A if I am starting something brand new and have to put in some “brain time” to get it all organized in my mind and in writing. B if it involves something around a great idea, maybe something I know will be fabulous, but I’m a bit nervous to begin (what if I fail?) and C when I need to make a task a habit – and stick with it. I think all of us suffer for one of the letters and their challenges at one time or another.

  3. Susan CooperSusan Cooper07-02-2014

    Those 3 little letters can be the hardest when being successful! I think “B” could possibly be the hardest. Our fears hold us back and beginning on an unknown adventure can be very daunting, 🙂

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-02-2014

      Susan, fear is definitely a biggie! Changing the status quo can be hard and sometimes it is a matter of weighing what is invested in maintaining it and comparing that to what the new future might bring.

  4. C is where I think a lot of people lose their way. You’ve got to carry on and not give up at the first obstacle. Easier said then done, of course!

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-02-2014

      Yea, resistance shows up in different forms. it is the one thing we can count on. Staying committed to an outcome gives one staying power. A and B are the building blocks for staying committed. I know I have stalled sometimes because I didn’t take the time to really envision the future and build that unshakable desire for it.

  5. William ButlerWilliam Butler07-01-2014

    Hi Sue,
    Very smart and well thought out. Of course, the ABC of success is just the beginning. I think it all depends on D, our DESIRE for growth, for without it, we have no motivation to activate, begin or carry on.

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-02-2014

      Hi William. You raise an interesting point. Desire is the backbone of what you activate. When you build the passion for it so strong it seeps into your bones, a lot of things become easier.

  6. LenieLenie07-01-2014

    Hi Sue – you are so right when you say we often complicate things. I’ve done that in the past myself and when I discover what I’ve done I think DUH!! I enjoyed this post and the steps are right on.

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-02-2014

      Glad it sparked something for you , Lenie. Clarity of focus makes decisions obvious. If you don’t know where you are going, obstacles trip you up. If you are certain of the end result, you turn obstacles into challenges.

  7. Paul GrahamPaul Graham07-01-2014

    Hi Sue, I agree that many self help approaches complicate what is really a simple process. That is why I only return and read a second post if the writing is good. After all everyone is pitching Common Sense 101 as though they had the inside track on The Holy Grail. So, unless the target audience are idiots there is a case for DEF … Differentiate, Excel, Fascinate

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-02-2014

      Paul, you can hear/read something 10 times before it is said in a way that resonates with you. It is often about the connection between people – the sense of familiarity and the confidence that follows. Other times, it is the context in which the information or common sense comes to you, or the condition you are in that frames the context.

  8. jacquiegumjacquiegum06-30-2014

    It all odes seem simple when you read it, right? Laugh! For a writer like me, sometimes the key is to just Begin! Just start writing…that can be hardest of all:)

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-02-2014

      That’s the power behind one of the greatest brands, isn’t it, Jacquie? “Just do it.”

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