Success is a journey, not a destination. You may take a few detours, hit some roadblocks and arrive at a different place from what you planned.

Success comes in many forms and means different things to different people. However you measure it, success is sweet. And it doesn’t happen overnight.

Here are my ABCs of success.

A is for adversity. I have never met a successful person who hasn’t had to overcome adversity.

B is for boredom, the kiss of death for anyone who wants to get ahead in life. It’s even worse for anyone who truly wants to love what they do.

C is for competition. The existence of competition is a good sign.

D is for demonstrate. Find concrete ways to demonstrate how valuable your presence is to the company, your customers and your community.

E is for eagerness. The successful people I know display an eagerness to improve and get the job done.

F is for faults. It’s the ability to overcome and learn from our faults that counts.

G is for guarantees. You can guarantee to your customers and co-workers that they can depend on you to always give your best.

H is for happiness. To me, happiness is the key to success, not vice versa.

I is for I’ll take care of it. There will always be a place for the person who says “I’ll take care of it,” — and then does it.

J is for job. There is something unique and memorable about each one of us. It’s our job to find out what it is and let other people in on the secret.

K is for keen. You must develop a keen sense of what your customer wants, what your company needs from you and the best way to deliver both.

L is for love what you do, do what you love.

M is for morals. A solid moral compass is critical to succeeding.

N is for navigating shark-infested waters and learning how to swim with the sharks.

O is for optimism. Optimists are people who make the best of it when they get the worst of it.

P is for persistence. Much of what makes people successful is persistence.

Q is for quintessential. Successful people strive to be the quintessential example of quality and decency.

R is for resourceful because resourceful people can see the up side of down times.

S is for success. If you want to double your success ratio, you might have to double your failure rate.

T is for things others don’t like to do. Successful people do them so they can then do the things they enjoy.

U is for university. Most people drive an average of 12,000 miles a year. Turn your car into a university with educational podcasts.

V is for victory. Celebrate victories, and be sure to thank those who helped you along the way.

W is for work. It’s not enough to work hard or work smart. You have to work hard AND smart.

X is for eXchange of ideas. Unless you are able to communicate in a forceful, polite, effective way, the day is going to come when what you have learned won’t be enough.

Y is for Yoda. Yes, the Jedi master. Everyone benefits from mentors like Yoda in their quests to succeed.

Z is for zone. When you are in the zone, things just click. Success is all but guaranteed.

Mackay’s Moral: Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined to.


Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail