‘Success leaves clues’ is one of those stock phrases used by personal development legend Tony Robbins in his talks and seminars. However, not only does success leave clues but it also actually needs them too when it comes to the mad science of goal setting! But what kind of clues exactly does success leave and why does it need these clues in order to set future goals? Read on to find out more about this intriguing goal setting tip!
Success is a misunderstood concept if you ask me. Becoming an overnight sensation on X-Factor, or a partner in a law firm, even running a multi-million dollar business etc., may all be worthy examples of what’s commonly thought of as “success”. But in a way these are very clichéd, stereotypical examples of success. What we want to do is define what success means to YOU.
Working Towards Worthy Goals
So, how do you know if YOU are successful? For me, this is an easy question to answer. I’ve long ago given up on comparing my level of success with that of other people. Why? Because my definition of success is based on my values, my purpose etc., and therefore is entirely unique to me. If you’re honest and true to yourself, so is yours...
I know very little about the deep inner drives and true measures of success adopted by my next door neighbours, my work colleagues and friends. I might have some idea alright but I don’t really know everything about their full background, their psychological make-up, their hierarchy of values, their innate skills and talents. In my view, success is achieved by working towards worthy goals that are personal to you and in line with your values and life purpose.
Success Leaves Clues, Success Needs Clues
‘Success leaves clues’ is one of those stock phrases used by personal development legend Tony Robbins. Most often it’s associated with modelling the mindset, behaviour and actions of someone who is successful. But not only does success leave clues but it also needs clues. What I mean is that success needs success; it requires reference points in the past to know that you have already been successful so that you develop the belief that you can achieve even greater success.
The problem is that many people don’t acknowledge their successes to date and so they approach future success from a position of lack rather than abundance. Many high achievers rarely take the time to acknowledge their success to date. This is a mistake. Taking stock of your successes to date is a seriously important part of setting the overall tone of your life. Taking the time to write down your recent successes is actually great for your state of mind. Rather than chasing new goals all the time, appreciating what you have achieved to date will support and endorse your ability to set and achieve more lifetime goals. When you look inside your mind, what do you see? Ideally it should be an image of both past successes and even greater future success to come.
Fulfilment, Voids and Values
I believe that the best way to measure your own success is to measure your progress against your own set of predetermined goals in line with your values. When you do this, you stop the comparison game, and carve out your own form of true and meaningful success.
I’ve found that success in life is intrinsically linked to fulfilment and fulfilment comes from filling the voids in your life (which are determined by your values) whilst focusing on the progressive achievement of worthy goals (in line with your values). We’ve all witnessed someone who has all the external trappings of success but deep down inside they feel unfulfilled and even unhappy. There’s typically a values/goals discrepancy at play when this happens.
I recognize that this sense of discontent is rooted in the hard-wired human need to have purpose and meaning in their life. So, the goal setting methodology in my ULTIMATE Goal Setting Success Manual is not only firmly about clarifying and documenting your life goals but also about drawing out from within your own life purpose, clarifying your own values and making sure you goals are in line with them.
Life is not just about what you have or achieve; it's also firmly about who and what you’ve become. Sometimes when we cast an eye over our past we disregard all that we’ve achieved/become so far on our life’s journey. Hopefully, this article has highlighted why success leaves clues and needs clues! Good luck in your goal setting. You can do it!

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