Napoleon Hill is one of my favorite success mentors. He was coaching people to success decades before personal development became a thing. His book Think & Grow Rich, first published in 1937 (over 80 years ago) is still considered a masterpiece in success planning today.
His life is a treasure trove of lessons in success, but one lesson resonates with me the most. It’s a lesson that very few entrepreneurs actually follow when they first start out, and only learn about it later, after going through failure a few times.
Napoleon’s lesson is simple: To plan your success ahead of time. Let me share it with you by breaking it down into three smaller, action-oriented lessons.
#1: Plan For Success Ahead Of Time
Napoleon once said (paraphrased): “Success is something which has to be planned, and something to be earned in advance.”
To me, that simply means success is all about preparation and planning. You’ve probably heard of the phrase, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” I can tell you, owing to my numerous failures in life and business, that this is truer than you might think.
Napoleon also said that you need three ingredients for success: (1) Your personal definition of success, (2) A plan to achieve that success, and (3) Action, lots of it. By following this framework, you basically design your success beginning with the end in mind.
If you haven’t planned your road to success yet, here’s a suggested exercise (also by Napoleon Hill):
1. Take a notebook, and write down your definition of success on Page 1
2. On Page 2, write down what you’re willing to give up to reach what you wrote down on Page 1
3. Fill the rest of the notebook with your action plan to reach success
#2: Do Not Rely On Luck
Napoleon Hill also said (paraphrased): “There is such a thing as luck, but you can create your own luck simply by knowing the rules and following them.”
Napoleon taught me that luck is simply a meeting of preparation and opportunity. If you had the opportunity, but you weren’t prepared to capitalize on it, you’ll miss it. So I made it a point to spend most of my time preparing myself and my businesses, putting ourselves in a position to grab opportunities when they show up.
#3: Take Others With You
And lastly, Napoleon said (paraphrased): “Success is the ability to get what you want out of life without violating the rights of others and by helping others achieve success for themselves.”
This is my favorite part of the lesson. It’s the reason why I’m a huge advocate of paying it forward, which I do via my life/business coaching efforts, as well as preferring businesses that let my customers start their own businesses themselves.
So do you have a personal definition of success?
Do you have a plan for achieving that success?
And do you take consistent, persistent action to achieve that success?
Remember that you could always change your plan if it doesn’t work as well as you want. I modify my plans all the time. But do keep your definition of success as clear and fixed as it can be, and never stop taking action to achieve it.
YouTube / Photo: Evan Carmichael