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The Three Pillars of Success

[January 2010] Everyone desires to have success. During these difficult economic times, it seems harder than ever to achieve our goals. However, as Eric Adler shows, there are three factors that everyone should put into practice. Understanding and applying then supports our individual success.

A pillar is defined as a firm upright support for a superstructure. Getting ahead in life is like building a superstructure and in order for the structure to stand securely it needs supporting pillars. Three are all you need and here they are:

Pillar #1: Get Out of Your Way

The majority of people tend to get into a comfortable rut. They know what they will be doing each day, each week, and each year. Within certain guidelines, their lives are predicable and stable.

As comfortable as predictable and stable may be, however, they are not factors that lead to success.

Risk taking and instability are the keys to going from mediocre to stellar. Most people have a difficult time moving out of a comfortable situation and into one of insecurity and unknown turns. But this is exactly what you have to do to become successful – get out of your own way.

Analyzing the Comfort Zone

The best way to do this is to take small steps towards a larger goal. Realize that there are four major areas that make up our comfort zones: Geographical, personal, activity-related, and mental.

  • Geographical: Where we live, work, and play
  • Personal: Our friends, family, and co-workers
  • Activity-Related: Our entertainment and hobbies
  • Mental: What and how we think

The trick to expanding one’s comfort zone is to not change all these areas at once. Try one or maybe two at a time; get used to that and then move on to the others. Changing any one area can be stressful. Doing too much, too soon, will send you scurrying back to your comfortable rut.

A key point: expanding does not mean getting rid of what is already there. You can make new friends and not abandon the old ones. You can pick up a second hobby and still enjoy the first. This is an additive not a subtractive process.

Pillar #2: Know Where You Want to Go and How to Get There

It is easy to say, “Set goals.” It is not so easy to set ones that are actually meaningful to you. We sometimes get so comfortable that we lose sight of what else there is to strive after. So our list ends up looking like everyone else’s New Year’s Resolutions: Lose weight, exercise, and spend more time with the family.

We all know how successful these broad, half-hearted goals are – made on January 1st, forgotten by February 1st.

Setting Goals

There are three factors that need to be put into play when setting goals:

  • Set Your Own Goals: Do not let others decide for you. If a goal is not meaningful to you, you will not develop the enthusiasm needed to achieve it.
  • Make Your Goals Concrete and Specific: Do not just say you want to make more money. Set an exact amount and a firm time frame in which to make the goal.
  • Determine What Effort is Required: If you do not know what you need to do in order to reach a goal, it is a wish not a goal. Be very clear about how much energy, time, and resources are going to be needed to be successful.

Pillar #3: Stop Talking and Take Action

Deciding to move out of one’s comfort zone and setting the goals to get to new levels are the easy parts. These are the planning stages. Now comes the time for action. Too many times people stop after setting up the parameters for success and then never take another step.

  • Don’t Announce Your Goals: Telling others only invites people who will tell you how hard it will be or why it cannot be done. Keep your goals to yourself to avoid all the naysayers.
  • Never Move Backwards: Do not let setbacks stop you. If things are temporarily going wrong, do not use this as an excuse to retreat. Analyze what went amiss and what is needed to get back on track.
  • Reward Yourself Along the Way: Break a large goal into many mini-goals. Once you achieve a mini-goal, reward yourself. This will help keep your enthusiasm high and give you many small successes leading to the big success at the end.

A Plan For Success

Get out of your own way. Know where you want to go, and how to get there. Stop talking and take action. Establish these three pillars in your life and you can accomplish anything you desire.

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Eric Adler is a trainer and mastercoach in the fields of communication, motivation and mental training. He is an Austrian-based best-selling author and has developed a unique method for measurable and verifiable personality development. His know-how is widespread in the licensing system in Europe, and he now issues licenses to trainers, speakers, coaches and consultants in the U.S., as well. For more information, visit or e-mail