10 Action Steps to Greatness

1. Positive Affirmations

Our subconscious mind is a wonderful tool for success or failure. It will do what we tell it to do. It all depends on what thoughts we feed it. So why not feed your inner mind with only positive thoughts. The following are some examples of positive affirmations you can feed your inner mind for success:

  • “Today, I will win because I have faith, courage and enthusiasm.”

  • “I see failure only as a signpost on my road to success.”

  • “When I feel stress, I will relax and release my stress before I take on my next task.”

  • “I always write down my priorities, thinking of my responsibilities. I may not get everything done, but I will do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.”

  • “I am a winner, I work for a winning organization, and because of my contribution and cooperation we will keep on winning.”

  • “Today, I will see opportunity in every challenge offered to me.”

2. Positive Language

Recent research has come out that 75% of daily conversation is negative. Whether it is the words we use or the body language, we need to communicate in a positive manner all the time.

The following are some examples of how you can turn negative words into positive communication:

  • Instead of saying “problem,” call it “opportunity.”

  • Instead of an action being a “failure,” describe it as a “learning experience.”

  • Instead of “I have to,” say “I choose to.” This gives control for your actions back to you.

  • Instead of saying, “There’s nothing I can do,” say, “Let’s look at our alternatives.”

  • Instead of saying, “That’s just the way I am,” say, “I choose a different approach.”

  • Instead of saying, “He makes me so mad,” say, “I control my own feelings.”

If you notice, by using the positive response, you have control over your actions and life.

3. Exercise

A Gallup survey found the following among men and women who have taken up exercise recently:

  • 66 percent report a more relaxed life
  • 62 percent a new surge of energy
  • 55 percent less stress
  • 51 percent better looks
  • 46 percent more confidence
  • 45 percent better love life
  • 44 percent greater job satisfaction
  • 37 percent more creative on their jobs

These are great motivators to exercise! Next time you feel demotivated, give your body a workout. Recent research reports that as little as fifteen minutes three times a week has profound effects. Get moving. Get motivated.

4. Take Risks

We all live our lives in comforts zones, avoiding risky situations, avoiding the potential to fail. It’s real safe for us. But in order to get ahead of your competition and master the ongoing change in your life, you must go out of your comfort zone. Start one step at a time. Try that little new thing, that different approach. It could be as simple as taking different routes to and from work. Once in a while I like to “take the road less traveled” to stir up my creative juices. Then, keep stepping out of your zone. It may seem uncomfortable at first. But the more you do it, the more it will seem natural and you will see an increase in your creative juices and opportunities you never thought about before.

5. Positive Reading

Read about the lives of successful people. Make sure you read only those people that embrace the timeless values that make them truly successful through the ages. Not the “success today, scandal tomorrow” success stories that we are experiencing today. People like Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, Fred Smith of Federal Express, Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are good examples. These are people who overcame enormous challenges, created real value for others, or changed other people’s lives for the better.

6. Positive Visualizations

Condition yourself to paint your vision for success. One of the best ways to do this is the following:

  • Go to a quiet place in your home or elsewhere. Turn off all radios, televisions, etc.

  • Find a comfortable chair and get into a relaxed state of mind.

  • Start thinking about one goal you want to accomplish. Remember, visualize as if you are already accomplishing this goal.

  • Visualize taking all the necessary steps to successfully complete these goals. The better your visualization, where you can actually see, feel, hear, and touch your vision, the more real it is to you.

  • Visualize any challenges to your successful completion of this goal and how you will eliminate this challenges.

  • Visualize how good it feels to complete this goal. Visualize what benefits it will bring to you, your family, friends, co-workers, etc. Enjoy the moment!

Important: If you don’t take time to see it, it won’t happen!

7. Think Big

See the big picture in everything we do. So much of our time is wasted dealing with the unimportant things in our lives (what that person said or did, the driver who cut us off this morning, and activities which don’t add value to our lives, etc.) that we forget about the big picture. We were put on this earth to make a difference. We make a difference for our families, our communities, our organizations, and for ourselves. All of our actions must be put into action with this concept in mind. Think a little bigger today than yesterday, and you’ll create a better future tomorrow. Thinking big leads to great actions. Thinking small leads to small results. So Think BIG!

8. Set Goals

The fastest way to fail in life is to not set clear goals. Set goals in the financial, family, health, spiritual, and career areas. Your goals must incorporate the SMART techniques or else it’s just a “conversation in the park.”

  • S for specific
  • M for measurable
  • A for attainable
  • R for realistic
  • T for time-based

For example, you might have a goal of achieving $2 million for retirement in twenty years. After doing your research, a SMART goal would be the following:

“I will acquire $2 million dollars for retirement by 2024. I will do this by contributing $20K, or $1667 per month, to my various retirement funds each year. Of the $20k each year, $2k will go to my IRA, and $18K will go into my organization’s retirement program.”

Remember the most detail you can add, the more realistic your goal becomes.

9. Positive Appearance

Super achievers are very careful about their appearance and their movements. They know that looking good translates into feeling good. Billy Crystal, of Saturday Night Live and movie fame, once played a character that was known for saying, “It is better to look good than to feel good.” What he was really implying was the “fake it until you make it” concept. In other words, if we are feeling down, then think positively and your mind will tell your body to follow suit and act positively. Also always dress the part of an achiever. Model the dress, actions, and behaviors of someone who is successful and embraces the long term values of successful people. This will also tell your mind that I am an achiever.

Don’t let that be the deciding factor on being motivated. You can easily distinguish those who are motivated from those who are not motivated just by looking at their appearance and their movements. The motivated move forward, onward and upward with confidence.

10. Helping Others

Develop an obsession to help others. Share your special talents without expecting a reward, payment, or commendation. And above all else, keep your good deed a secret.

You know what, it you apply the helping techniques to others, it will automatically come back to you tenfold in a number of ways. First, the enjoyment of knowing that a special talent you had made someone else’s life better. Second, because you didn’t seek it, word will spread about you and your deeds. This will be translated into unexpected riches and opportunities. Third, you will gain a new level of confidence in knowing that you can make a difference. Super achievers find motivation and meaning by helping others.

Copyright © 2004 Ed Sykes. All rights reserved
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About The Author

Ed Sykes is a professional speaker, author, and success coach in the areas of leadership, motivation, stress management, customer service, and team building. You can e-mail him at, or call him at (757) 427-7032. Goto his web site,, and signup for the newsletter, OnPoint, and receive the free ebook, "Empowerment and Stress Secrets for the Busy Professional."

Ed Sykes