Vail Daily column: The what, why and how of success |

Vail Daily column: The what, why and how of success

Michael Norton
Climbing to Success

Thanks again for all of the great feedback regarding this column. I sincerely appreciate the emails and am thankful for the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas with you all as we discuss, debate and challenge some of the concepts in my articles.

One common message that has come through over the years is that many of you enjoy the positive message that I share, but you say it would be really great if I could go beyond the concept or philosophy and get into the “how” of actually doing something.

The “how” is incredibly important for sure. I mean the very best strategies and plans still need to be executed, right? But we cannot jump right to the “how” without first knowing the “what” and “why” behind our strategy or plan. Moving right to “how” is like taking a fire, ready, aim approach.


So let me share a 10-step tactical step-by-step plan that can be used to help you succeed in almost any endeavor you are pursuing.

1. Identify what it is you would like to do or you are trying to accomplish.

2. Define what success will look when you meet your goal.

3. Eliminate obstacles.

4. Plan for what happens next after achieving your goal.

5. Understand why you are pursuing this goal.

6. List all the reasons why this is something worthy of your effort.

7. Challenge all of the reasons on your “why” list.

8. If your “why” list doesn’t support your “what” goal, rethink the “what.”

9. Create an action item and to-do list on how you will approach this goal.

10. Set proper expectations for how you will measure your success and how often you will measure your success.

Zig Ziglar used to say, “People who never take Step 1 can never possibly expect to take Step 2.” And it is so true, isn’t it? I mean, if we do not know what it is that we want and why we really want it, how can we possibly come up with the “how” part in a meaningful enough way that will provide us with the level of belief and commitment that we need in order to see our goal all the way to the end?


Here are a couple of more “how” items for you to consider. First, once you have gone through the 10-step tactical plan outlined above, make sure you share it with others who can provide good feedback and insights, as well as challenge your thinking on the topic.

Share your plan with positive people and avoid anyone who will try and rain only negativity on your vision for your future.


Secondly, whether it is a goal, dream or project, build yourself a visual reminder where you can be inspired every day and where you can track milestones of success. Some people call this a vision board, and it can be placed anywhere that it will be seen on a regular basis.

Some folks prefer keeping smaller vision boards in a notebook or maybe even keep photos and imagery on their phone, laptop or tablet. The point is, keep your list of “what,” “why,” and “how” in a very accessible and visible place for that daily dose of inspiration as you get after your next goal.

How about you, do you take the time for Step 1 before launching into Step 2? Or do you follow a tactical plan that allows you to realize your dreams? Either way I would love to hear all about it at and when we respect the “what” and “why” of our dreams, taking action on the “how” really will make this a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach, and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

Support Local Journalism