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Success isn’t instant

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Success isn’t instant

Scott Miker

There is no such thing as instant success.  What may seem like instant success is usually years and years of hard work.

In order to truly succeed you have to find a way to consistently do the things necessary and put in the effort to reach a goal.  It isn’t about finding the magic idea, technique, or tool.  It is much more basic than that. 

I love finding successful individuals and leaders in competitive industries to study.  They tend to give insight into what it takes to reach extraordinary levels of success.  One individual that exemplifies success at the highest level of leadership is Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer.

Urban Meyer led the Buckeyes to the National Championship in early 2015 but he was already thought of as an elite coach in college football due to his success at other schools.  He wrote a book called Above the Line about his trials and tribulations during that 2014 season that ended in winning the first-ever college football playoff to earn a National Championship.  

He talks about the mentality he and the team had during that season and how he was constantly reinforcing the idea of working harder, above the line that most people won’t cross in order to succeed. 

But he talks about effort from the standpoint of daily effort, not just effort in the game.  He talks about what led to that championship run and the mindset of the players and coaches.  He talks about the culture that they built at Ohio State.  But much of his wisdom can be applied outside of football as well. 

He says, “Success is cumulative and progressive.  It is the result of what you do every day.  Both successful and unsuccessful people take daily action.  The difference is that successful people take action Above the Line.  They step up and act with intention, purpose, and skill.”

His view of success shows that success is something that has to be earned by consistent hard work. 

He goes on to say, “For every goal you are pursuing a process is involved.  There is a pathway you must follow.  To achieve your goals you must commit to the process with daily Above the Line behavior.  Not just once or twice, but repeatedly over time.  Success is not achieved by an occasional heroic response.  Success is achieved by focused and sustained action.  All achievement is a series of choices.  The bigger the achievement, the longer the series and more challenging the choices.”

The next paragraph he really gets into the importance of process.  “Goal clarity is essential, but so is process clarity.  For every goal you have set, be exceptionally clear about the process necessary to achieve the desired outcome.”

This is consistent with almost every successful individual or leader that I have studied.  They all focus on the process of reaching success.  Yes they define their goals and are active in setting goals but without the process element they won’t do the things necessary to succeed. 

Focusing on the process is also important because it will help give clarity around goals.  Like Meyer states if the goals is a big goal it will mean big choices.  It will mean more sacrifice than a smaller goal.  This helps us know what is really possible and what is so large that it is setting us up for failure.

Yet time and again I hear people set extreme goals without any real thought about the process and what it will take to actually achieve those objectives.  But a systems and habits perspective helps us to focus on the process and understand what is involved so we know how to make progress towards our goal. 

Urban Meyer has had success in one of the most competitive environments, college football.  It is fascinating just how much his beliefs align with other successful individuals that I have studied.  If you want to reach a goal and be successful observe what others are doing that is working and then make sure you address that in your approach.