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Seven Ways to Succeed at Life – Guest Post by Zack

Your faithful leader Adam has asked me to create a guest blog post for you, his faithful followers. I would have called you “worshipers,” but the association would likely inflate his ego. We do not need that.

I believe it is customary for guest writers to produce an offering or tribute to the readers of the host blog. This should appease any frustrations of having to swallow another person’s self-prescribed wisdom. Knowing this, I have selected this cat video to appease you. Please enjoy before diving into my eloquent words.


Success is a funny word. We spend our lives defining and redefining our definition of success. We toil hours and days fighting to achieve our view of success. Then it happens. Cancer. A Psychotic break. The dog dies. Our world and how we view it is slammed against a wall. It shatters. Sometimes it feels as if life is a jackhammer and our definition of success is a highway in Chicago. There are only two seasons: 1) winter and 2) construction. Depressing, isn’t it?

How do we overcome the cycle of redefining and striving for success? The key lies in understanding success as a “life perspective.” What is important to you is what gives you life. Perspective is how you view the world around you. Your perspective on life will define your priorities. Defeating the endless cycle of redefining and striving for success requires you to refocus your life perspective. Here are seven suggestions for succeeding at the liberating task of conquering the success battle.

  1. Recognize the people you value in your life.
    Do you know who you value in your life? Family and close friends are people, usually through relationship status, are valued. However, there are those in your life who have made a positive impact on you. You know them personally and there is something about them that makes them, well, awesome. These people could be a mentor, a teacher, or even a neighbor. Know them; watch them.
  2. Write down what you value about the people you value.
    There are admirable characteristics expressed in the people you value. “I want to have that characteristic,” you say to yourself. Well, write it down. I have a mentor who is the textbook definition of humble. I nearly envy his humility. I pulled out a notebook page and wrote down his name and next to that the word “humility.” This is a characteristic I will strive to emulate.
  3. Wrestle with the “be, do, have” questions.
    Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? What do you want to have?
    These questions, while seemingly simple, are real tough to answer. It is more difficult to be self-centered in answering them given the people you value and what you value about them. My desire for humility made it harder for me to say, “I want to have a Nissan GTR ($100,000 Sports Car).” Answering these questions honestly is a key to defining what success is for you.
  4. Know your “why.”
    Do you know “why” you do what you do? Simon Sinek wrote a fantastic book on finding your why titled “Start with Why.” He argues that what you do and how you do it is irrelevant if you do not know why you do it. A baker is simply a baker, capable of explaining what they do to bake cakes and how they acquire technique and ingredients, but a passionate baker–a happy baker–can tell you why they get up early each day to bake cakes. They are passionate about their why. It’s their purpose.
  5. Get your physical health under control.
    This is one I struggle with. I’m a little overweight and out-of-shape. I know from experience the joys of being physically fit and well rested. I am stronger, happier, and willing to take on the day. It is when the physical is out of balance that a person begins to deviate from their path to success. During my three years as a youth minister I had one answer to the spiritually distraught. “Go to bed.” The most devout Christians feel like a sinner when they are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (H.A.L.T.).
  6. Learn to implement and enforce boundaries.
    Adam and I have many favorite books. One of our favorites is “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud. He presupposes that a healthy person has healthy boundaries. This is a key to relational success. Relational happiness happens when we know where to draw a line and say “no”. Both persons in a relationship know how much they can give and take.
  7. Prioritize everything.
    There isn’t a productive day that goes by that isn’t fueled by a well maintained list. Write out your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks in a list of items. Prioritize these lists based on your definition of success. Bam! You are now on track to obtain your goals and succeed. Side note: If you can’t keep a paper list, a cell phone will not help you. Cell phones and tablets are digital versions of a paper tool. The issue is not your technology; it’s your lack of organizational and planning skills. Learn the skills and save your money for more coffee.

Success is within your grasp, because you write your definition for success. Make sure your definition of success is in harmony with your religious, philosophical, and world views. Pursue your dreams in a systematic and intentional manner and you will avoid the cycle of poorly defined success.

You can find Zack at ZachSteinbrook.com.

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