Throughout the day you hammer away…

Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.

Days turns into weeks, then months. You notice the dents, then cracks. At times nothing seems to change.

Focusing on the task at hand, you show up every day, persevering when discouraged, keeping the bigger goal, the dream for success alive.

Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.

Then one day… tap, tap, crackle.

There it is. The breakthrough. The wall crumbles.

Daylight shines through.


You kept working at it and finally, success happened.

Now you’re ready to take success to the next level.

In this article, you’ll get the four ways to implement the secret to achieving the next level of success. The secret? Serious reflection and self-examination.

Move over perseverance – time for some serious reflection and self-examination. Let’s take success to the next level.

1) Acknowledge what’s going well, then lather, rinse and repeat.

What’s going well? If you have goals and or processes you’ve put into place, are they working?

If you’ve done a SWOT (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats) analysis pull it out and check– are the strengths still strong or weaknesses being addressed and opportunities tapped?

Or do a quick survey (start with yourself)– List up to ten positives about your business. You can think in terms of managing your business, promoting/developing your business and the actual products/services your business provides.

EXAMPLE: Excerpt from my list of 10 business positives: Managing operations (administrative tasks, bookkeeping) are more efficient and effective due to time management (scheduling a minimum of 20 minutes daily for billing) and hiring a bookkeeping service.

Do the ordinary things, extraordinarily well. — Pat Riley, Former Coach of NY Lakers

Don’t forget to survey your customers/clients about what they like the best about working with you and/or your company/product/service.

Next level success builds on what is already working.

2) Use your failures as a platform for learning.

Who likes to fail? I don’t. Yet, there’s no denying the value failure offers for future learning. When you think about taking your success to the next level, consider your failures.

Don’t waste your time hating a failure. Failure is a greater teacher than success. Listen, learn, go on. ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Once you stop hiding from failures and soothe your ego, a wonderful world of opportunity opens for learning. Wiggle around those uncomfortable remnants of failure and say hello to new energy. You already know what doesn’t work, so you have an advantage.

Next level success views failures as advanced preparation.

3) Face obstacles by challenging your assumptions with a vengeance.

You’ve been successful and now not so much. You’ve tweaked with no lasting results (Single-Loop Learning). What you’ve done in the past is no longer working.

During the 1970s, Chris Argyris, a business theorist at Harvard Business School began to research what happens to organizations and people when they find obstacles in their paths.

Improving the existing system (Single-Loop Learning) according to Professor Argyris is more common than a more risky and deeper review of the assumptions, values and beliefs supporting the system (Double-Loop Learning). Study the diagram below:

EXAMPLE: Famous tennis champion Martina Navratilova challenged her approach to playing after losing to Chris Evert in 1981. Talent and intuition wasn’t enough to win according to Ms. Navratilova. She had to dig deeper.

She hired nutritional gurus, cross-trained and studied her game strokes and Chris Evert’s response through computer analysis, long before cross training or computer sport’s science was in vogue.

To the point: She successfully reinvented herself through rigorous self-examination and radical changes. She persevered with her new approach to playing tennis.

Next level success requires a willingness to dig deeper with self-examination so creative, new initiatives can surface.

4) Prepare for the inevitability of change by developing a flexible, growth mindset while valuing your future self as much as your present self.

Change and uncertainty are normal. Flexibility to pivot when needed is golden.

Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our lives is change. — Daniel Gilbert, Harvard Psychologist, Author, Stumbling On Happiness

Valuing your future self can help you procrastinate less, find the determination to persevere so you can avoid immediate gratification and make choices which move you closer to reaching long term goals.

EXAMPLE: I have a client who is successfully eliminating sugar from her diet. Instead of focusing on calories, pounds to lose or why she has failed to keep her weight healthy, she has chosen to focus on a future self where she is agile, moves easily and comfortably. It’s working for her.

She is emailing me daily with her present/future identity statement: I’m someone who is eliminating sugar so I can move with ease. We discuss present and future challenges to her goal of being able to play with her grandchildren and join her husband for a walk or hike as they enjoy retirement in the near future.

She is already planning to add more healthy behaviors. She pivots regularly from old, negative thinking that doesn’t help her persevere. (Double-Loop Learning poster woman she is!)

Next level success is fun to anticipate when change is accepted as normal, a flexible, growth mindset shows up to help pivot and a positive future self is desired.

Taking your success to the next level happens when you acknowledge and maintain processes that are working, apply the best learnings from failures now, dig deeper with an openness to challenge existing assumptions, values and beliefs and embrace change with a flexible mindset so you can focus on both your present and future.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.— Abraham Lincoln

Next level success? Time for sharpening the axe of self-reflection and self-examination.

I’m available to explore and be a part of strategizing for your success. Contact me today.

Interested in more ideas for succeeding at communication challenges? Take a look at The Say No Checklist.