Three Feet from Gold??Finish Strong!! When our three boys were little we used to spend countless hours camping. If we weren?t going as a family, the boys were going with the Boy Scouts. The kids LOVED being outdoors and thrived on dirt, water, fishing and anything else that meant a mess. While we hiked the trails of Rocky Mountain National Park, I constantly had to remind the boys to stay on the trail. Such as boys are, however, they frequently ran amuck, travelling off the beaten path. They often found some treasure of nature that would never have been discovered if it hadn?t been for their explorations. Sometimes it was gross and disgusting, like the carcass of an animal that was the remains of a mountain lion or coyotes (yikes!), but more often it was a waterfall, a stream, or an open meadow with elk. The boys? had a knack for finding the spectacular and never seemed to get lost. The Napoleon Hill Foundation recently published a book by Sharon Lechter and Greg S. Reid. Told as a story, it reflected a young man?s quest to find success, happiness and the means to a better business. ?Three Feet from Gold? was a take -off of a miner who worked the gold rush, had high hopes of striking it rich, and finally gave up in defeat. In later years, it was discovered that he was literally three feet from a very rich vein of gold that would have made all his dreams come true. The insight given by some of the best known business people in the world struck home with the young man. He realized that his whole way of thinking was flawed and that there was much more to success than production numbers and income. Before success comes, you will surely meet with temporary defeat. How you face the defeats will determine how you will handle the success. The most common cause of failure is just plain quitting. Whether you have been in business for years or are just starting in a new career, these tough economic times mean selecting your path of business carefully. Develop a strategic plan, your plan of action. This is different from a business plan. A business plan outlines your business in terms of two years, five years and possibly ten years. A strategic plan is an informal document that outlines what your goals are for one year?.the year you are currently in. It is a living document and should constantly change. It is a reminder of your mission, your business? purpose, and a brief outline of the path you hope to take. This will allow you to dream about your future success. Remember though, a dream is just a dream until it is written down! Then it becomes a goal. Moving your business ahead means developing a plan of action. Every day there should be a number of activities that are stable and non-negotiable. Time block your day with specific activities that move you closer to your goal objectives. Productive activities include prospecting, touching your Professional Referral Sources (complimentary business professionals to your business) and cultivating recent referrals. Establish time frames for answering email and phone calls. Use your voice mail to identify when return calls are made so that your clients and associates won?t sit by the phone grumbling you haven?t returned their calls. ALWAYS return calls?just make it on your terms. Time block your daily appointments as well. Keep your day as smooth and effective as possible. Necessary activities involve paperwork, discussions with team members, and office business. Although these activities are an important part of every day, there is no reason why these can?t be time blocked as well. Don?t allow daily interruptions to dictate the flow of your day. On the flip side are actions that are a bit riskier. Boldly move down the path of new ideas and try a few every month. New marketing ideas for your business, networking events, lunch with new contacts may just be the fresh juice your business needs to keep moving forward. New ideas can be exciting and exhilarating but don?t let it consume your daily processes. Especially in marketing, do the due diligence, weigh the consequences and dive in. Word of caution however, if something becomes problem riddled, overly cost ridden or results don?t seem to be forthcoming, abandoned it! Becoming emotionally involved in an idea that eventually goes nowhere can become costly on many levels?..jump back on the known path and leave the meandering trails to others. Take time to listen. There is a wealth of knowledge to learn from others, both experienced and less experienced. Take your expertise and pay it forward to others. Listening, giving and sharing are as important as closing the deal. Others success will follow your success. Sometimes business has to be an adventure. Sometimes it requires taking chances, wandering down the path less known. At the end could be a fabulous waterfall or an empty parking lot. The road to success will involve a few failures. Failures are just learning experiences that you use to make yourself stronger and smarter. Share your knowledge and experiences and keep your daily disciplines non-negotiable. Your adventures will be exciting and your business will travel down paths to spectacular results. Tom Ninness is Vice President/Regional Production Manager for Cherry Creek Mortgage in Denver, CO. He is also the President of Summit Champions, Inc. and creator of the ?The 90 Day Journey to Your Sales Success?, a powerful 90 day action plan for the sales professional. To learn more about The Journey and all what Summit Champions has to offer, go to www.summitchampions.com or contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org Office: 303-840-0753.