Having struggled with the idea of success in my own career, I can now confidently tell you that most of us don't even know what success is. And if we can't precisely define it, we can't hope to achieve it.

It took a chance encounter in a New York City bar with actor Barney Fitzpatrick to finally break down the components of success into four distinct pieces -- and once I heard it, I couldn't believe how simple it was:

1. Desire

This is a seemingly simple element of success, because we all desire it, right?

Wrong.

What I've seen over and over again is people who say they want to be successful, but who don't want it so badly that they'll work harder than anyone else to get it.

Do you desire your goals so badly that you would openly admit all of your faults and actively seek ways to improve yourself?

What exactly would you give up to achieve success?

Although everyone assumes they have the desire, few actually do. Get honest with yourself about how much you really want your goals -- because if you'd honestly rather watch Netflix than put out one more blog, you can save yourself from a lot of anxiety by admitting the truth.

2. Knowledge

Most everyone who wants to achieve a goal spends countless hours learning how. But learning how to achieve something is easy -- so why doesn't everyone achieve what they set out to achieve?

Simply put, gaining knowledge is more about discovering what you don't even know you don't know, otherwise known as illuminating your blind spot.

Of course you need to learn about how to hire the right people if you want to build a million-dollar company; but you also need to improve yourself and eradicate your self-limiting beliefs in order to keep absorbing knowledge at the pace you'll need.

3. Capacity

Capacity is a tough component because some people -- no matter how much they want to achieve something -- simply don't have what it takes.

People typically don't like when I highlight this fact, but it's a fact nonetheless. To prove it, think about all of your colleagues at work. Can you think of one person who, no matter what kind of training you gave to him or her, could never do your job? 

So what do you do about a lack of capacity? Give up your dream? Well, maybe, but I actually believe there's always a way around a capacity issue.  

For instance, if your goal is to be rich, does that have to mean money? If the reason you want money is so you can travel, I would argue that your goal is to travel -- and in that case, you can think up a whole host of ways to achieve that goal independent of money. 

When you get into thinking around your goals like this, you'll discover incredible ways to achieve success that you may not have even considered.

4. Opportunity

Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. So is luck equal to success?

Certainly, in order to succeed, you have to spend months and years preparing for an opportunity to shine. But again, while many are content to wait for an opportunity, I firmly believe that we can create opportunities -- and easily, at that.

Think back on all of the opportunities you have earned in your personal and business life. Were they really that hard to obtain?

Was it that hard to pick up the phone and call?

Was it life-threatening to send a cold email to that prospect?

Was it catastrophic to ask your soulmate to marry you?

Whether it's hard or easy is in your mind; but in all the cases you're thinking of, you took action.

Achieving success is an action.

Taking action can be scary, yes, but it's never hard. As we're closing out the year, ask yourself these four questions to help you crush your goals in 2018:

  1. Do I honestly have the desire to achieve my goal? If not, what do I honestly want to achieve instead?
  2. Do I have the knowledge I need to achieve my goal? In addition, am I taking steps to understand myself better, so I can properly interpret that knowledge?
  3. Do I have the capacity to achieve my goal? If not, is there another goal I can substitute that will make me just as happy?
  4. Do I have an opportunity right now that I'm not even seeing? And, how can I easily create opportunities to succeed every day?

Print this article out and use these four questions as your guide for 2018. Cheers to achieving success!

Published on: Dec 19, 2017