If you want to be successful, look around at successful people. How do they achieve their success? There are typically five factors that lead them to their success.

First, they dreamed a dream. One of the requirements of being successful is having the desire-–something that drives you to move beyond where you are now. It is all the better if the dream is about doing something you totally love. The excitement, the passion, and compelling nature of that dream serves to motivate you during the hard work to get there. The interest sparks the enthusiasm to attempt things and get better and better.

That interest, love, and passion allows you to consider the possibility that you may be able to move beyond whatever limitations with which you started. It is true that at the point at which you enter a sport, or a business or other endeavor, you might not have dreams of being the best in the world. But at least you can consider the possibility that you might get better at whatever it is you are attempting.

Second is the willingness to work hard to get better. Whether you are entering a sport, creating a business, moving forward in your chosen field, or sustaining a satisfying relationship, it is essential to be willing to put in the energy and effort required to succeed.

In sports this is about practice. In business it may be about strategic planning and evaluation of results. In other areas, it might just have to do with sticking with things, even when they get difficult. Moving forward toward almost any goal requires that you to stretch yourself–-little by little-–to learn, to grow and to do better.

It involves stretching beyond your comfort zone. It involves trying things you have never done, and practicing them over and over until you get better at them. But don't worry. This doesn't usually happen in a vacuum.

In order to stretch beyond your limitations, the third factor is to have a model for excellence. It is helpful to find someone who excels in some area in which you want to increase your proficiency. That person can inspire you. You can find out how they do what they do. What do they think? What do they believe? What techniques have they used? How do they hold their body when they are successful? (This is important even when you are not modeling sports figures). What works for them? How can you adapt that to fit you?

Closely related to this is the fourth factor--getting someone to give you feedback. Athletes usually have coaches who observe their practices and performances, and give them feedback about how they can improve. These coaches push them to stretch themselves to overcome their limitations. Personal and business coaches do the same. Whether the limitations are physical or mental, the guidance of a coach helps people develop their skills more rapidly and easily than doing it alone.

Having a personal trainer for fitness goals can help you design a fitness routine that will really work for you. Having a business coach can give you feedback about your leadership style and can help you improve your ability to manage employees or serve clients better. Having a personal or business coach can help you move to the next level while drastically reducing the time it takes to succeed. Honest feedback, support and encouragement helps you move forward without having to depend on stumbling across a successful solution.

The bottom line for being successful, however, is YOU. Ultimately, success requires a commitment to yourself and to your goal. Olympic athletes obviously have that commitment. They train for years, mortgage homes, and sacrifice time, sleep and a social life to achieve the goal they have set for themselves. It is worth it to them to "go for the gold."

To succeed in the area of YOUR life, you need to make that commitment to yourself. You need to be willing to stretch yourself beyond your limitations. You CAN do it, and it won't necessarily require the extent of sacrifice Olympic athletes make. But it will require your commitment to yourself and your success to be able to stretch beyond your limitations.

(c) 2010 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Pucci, Ph.D. is a psychologist, life coach, trainer and owner of Inner Resource Center, LLC. She has more than 30 years of experience helping people overcome obstacles, change their lives, and reach goals they had not thought possible using her solution focused approach. She specializes in helping people get unstuck from negative emotions and limiting beliefs that cause stress and sabotage their happiness. Get additional free tips and challenges for getting unstuck from her Inner Resources report . Or contact her for a free 20 minute consultation at http://www.InnerResourceCenter.com .