Five Keys to Sustained Achievement

Anna couldn’t take any more pressure from work. Another deadline had been plopped onto her calendar marking the completion of a project she had no idea how it was going to get done, or where to start. Company politics were easy to handle, straight shooting boss included. There were many reasons to stay put in her current job. Still, the gears in her brain ground to a halt. A three-foot thick cement wall would have been less of a barrier to progress. Why was it that Anna found herself in this situation every time it seemed success was at her fingertips? She would get momentum going, only to be jerked to a halt by an unforeseen complication. Thank goodness the office door was closed because all she could do was put her head down on the desk just as she had done in grade school to take a break. Instinctively she took a deep breath and noticed a copy of the book Secretariat was wedged between her nose, forehead, and the desktop. “I’m high end corporate. What could a horse have to with solving my problems? I just finished the book, but this is ridiculous.” Serendipity had other plans to sooth the intense businesswoman’s stagnation.


To Anna’s surprise, she began to bond with the great champion’s character. “That horse loved to run. Nothing took away his need for speed.” Funny, “whatever it takes” was one of the catch phrases Anna put to routine use. Within seconds, her brain unlocked, and she filled an entire page with action steps to expedite the project’s completion. For the first time, she felt a sense of mastering a situation without getting sidetracked for hours by frustration. While writing, she came up with five keys to making the process repeatable:


The Five Keys to Sustained Achievement:


1)      Metaphors are powerful medicine. In word and in form, they are symbols that show up in our lives to teach us. Secretariat represented the passionate adventurer in Anna she had been ignoring. The athletic thoroughbred was Anna’s guide to reclaiming her own spirit that was shut down thinking drudgery was the only way to perform at work. Anna loved what she did, and it took a champion acting as a metaphor to assist her in seeing that fact.


2)      There’s always another option, often infinite solutions we never entertain. Frustrated, Anna couldn’t see a whole world of solutions that lay before her. How many times had Anna let herself be stymied seeing only a roadblock instead of multitudes of possibilities? People tend to find one or two solutions and stop there rather than inviting droves of worthwhile outcomes. Anna vowed to take just five minutes when she felt frenzied to breath deep, calm herself, and let alternative solutions surface. Five minutes was a small price to pay for having a life and level of accomplishment she really wanted.


3)      There’s an opportunity in every perceived problem.Anna was looking at her position as a plight, an attitude not limited to dealing with a single project deadline. Anna’s habit was to fret over events that didn’t play out as she originally anticipated instead of unveiling the promise of living an accomplished life. Secretariat showed up to expand Anna’s perspective. Thankfully, Anna got the message finding herself more capable than she ever dreamed of being.


4)      Bonding with others being positive is a truly alternative lifestyle in our current culture—but it leads to a remarkable existence. Anna knew she was in the right work environment to support her shift to possibility thinking. She admired that her company welcomed self-starter personalities. They didn’t want to baby sit complainers as many of her previous employers had. All she had to do was embody the beliefs she had only claimed to rely upon, until today.


5)      Serendipity is always on your side.Logic and seriousness without the balance of humor make the road to success a struggle. Openness to serendipity’s intervention coming to your aid bearing gift-wrapped short cuts is a must to enjoy the journey. Anna had only to recognize the present placed literally beneath her nose to dissolve her frustration.


“If it takes a horse tail to set me straight, then so be it. That’s actually more fun than reading another business journal. Whatever it takes.”


Quickly shooting off an email to her boss regarding project completion, his reply came faster than a lap at the Kentucky Derby. “Anna, you never cease to amaze me. Just when I think you have reached the pinnacle of your abilities, you take your skills to the next level. Our owners set out to put a group of expansive thinkers and doers together, and you certainly fit that description. By the way, I’m not sure if you wanted to include your five keys to sustained achievement in this correspondence, but I’d like to print them in our weekly office update. Would that be suitable? Whatever it takes, James Louis.”


Maybe a little horse sense was appropriate after all.


Dr. Marjorie Wolter is a speaker, mentor, and founder of Vita Celebrata, a consulting firm specializing in inspired leadership, and creating unique cultures of success. With over twenty years of experience, she is a catalyst for those who will only be satisfied having achieved the highest level of business success. Marjorie has authored three books: “Magnificent Men are Everywhere,” “Seekers and Evolutionaries,” and “Living the Accomplished Life.” You are invited to learn more about her speaking and consulting by visiting  or calling 800-959-8096.





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