Pave Your Path to Success: 6 Key Bricks

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path to successWhat does success mean to you – money, happiness, playing that one amazing piece of music, building your dream house? Whatever your personal definition of success, there is a path to get there, and it’s not just hard work.

Think of the metaphors we use for hard work. We put our heads down, our noses to the grindstone, burn the midnight oil. We think of success as the result of grit and determination.

But if you read the “success stories” of great achievers – inventors, artists, athletes, entrepreneurs – you discover that their hard work was just one component of their path to greatness. And you can discern a pattern, certain common ingredients that were necessary for their hard work to get them to the finish line, to the end of the road.

For Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz the yellow brick road was her path to her dream of returning home to Kansas. “Follow the yellow brick road,” the Munchkins told her, and so she did, through fantastic difficulties and dangers.

Dorothy’s yellow brick road journey is an excellent example of six essential elements found behind every achievement. Whether you want to get out of Oz, win an Oscar or knit your first sweater, you need these “bricks” to pave your path to success. Before you read on, I would challenge you to think of one goal, one thing you want to achieve and as you read, consider which of these bricks you already have in place and which you may still need to pave your own path.

The First Success Brick: B is for the Big Idea

What is your big idea? The success of the journey is determined by reaching the destination. Be clear about your destination.
Dorothy wasn’t just leaving Oz or wanting help. She wanted to go home – success was getting back to Kansas and Auntie Em. She wasn’t sure where Oz was in relation to Kansas or how she was going to get to Kansas, but Kansas was where she wanted to go.
You must have absolute clarity around any goal you want to achieve. The steps may be uncertain; the length and difficulties of the journey may not be clear. But know where you want the journey to end.

The Second Success Brick: R is for Resources

Would Dorothy have ever gotten home if she had to do it all by herself? She had resources and she used them: Glinda the Good Witch of the South, the Munchkins, her friends, the Wizard and eventually the ruby slippers.
Resources are available to you no matter what your goal. They may be teachers or coaches, mentors, colleagues or friends. There are books, videos, any kind of help in the real and virtual worlds. Wherever you are trying to go, someone else has been down that road before. Find the one wearing the shirt that says, “Been There, Done That, Got the T Shirt.”

The Third Success Brick: I is for Instant Win

Why save the parade for the end of the journey? Dorothy started her journey with a significant instant win. She arrived in Oz to the cheers of the Munchkins for having liberated them from the threat of the Wicked Witch of the East.
People often cite the lack of motivation as a major obstacle in following their dreams or even getting started. Creating an “instant win,” an easy, quick mini-success is one of the best ways to start to build the drive you need. A little affirmation at the outset and at regular points along your journey can keep you focused and help sustain your momentum.

The Fourth Success Brick: C is for Commitment

Did Dorothy quit when the going got rough? Of course not, and neither will you.
But your success will depend not only on your persistence, but also on the commitment you make in terms of time and energy (and perhaps money). Saying you are committed to your achievement is not enough. Your actions will reveal the actual strength of your commitment.

The Fifth Success Brick: K is for Kindred Spirits

I do not believe we were meant to travel difficult roads alone. You have friends, family, colleagues who will support you in your goal, celebrate your wins with you and lift your spirits when you need it. Make sure that those you gather around you will be positive forces. Who will be your Scarecrow, your Tin Man and your Lion?

The Sixth Success Brick: S is for Spirit

Your success depends on your spirit – the passion and purpose you bring to your goal. Your goal must be of personal significance to you; without a deep investment at the spiritual level, you won’t be able to withstand the challenges along your way.
Your goal can’t be something that seems like a good idea or something that might be fun. It needs to matter; it needs to matter to you.
Remember that Dorothy wasn’t just taking a trip to Kansas. She was going home.

Do you have all the bricks you need?

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  • Gretchen Cover

    You really captured the essence of success.


    • Nancy saunders

      I went through four teachers, three harps, and several years before I realized that my goal of “learning to play the harp” was completely inappropriate for me. About a year ago I changed it to “learning to play very simple music very well” and found a young teacher who really understands me. Now I feel so much better about my relationship to the harp and my progress.


      • Anne Post author

        Bravo, Nancy! Having a very specific goal makes everything easier – you can focus your work, measure your progress and enjoy the results faster.


    • Anne Post author

      Thanks so much, Gretchen!


  • Suzanne Hall

    Anne, an excellent article that gives me much food for thought. I am always struggling with motivation to sit down at my harp and focus on my goal for the day. Now I realize my success is measured in each Brick not necessarily the end of the brick road. Your article triggered my thoughts to think differently. I will change my focus and now define my success differently. My progress never feels fast enough and I easily feel discouraged…but I am now directing my thoughts to the path and must keep focused on the bricks I am laying and not so much where the bricks are leading me. My motivation is my love for the music the harp makes, it’s tone and most importantly the way that it touches my spirit. I will now add the word BRICKS to my music stand to remind me to focus on each Brick rather then trying to zoom ahead without laying the foundation….and always enjoying each BRICK. Thank you always.


    • Anne Post author

      You are very welcome, of course, Suzanne! The interesting thing is that often once we direct our attention to the path directly in front of us, instead of just the goal in the distance, we move more quickly and directly to where we want to go. Let me know how you experience it!


  • Regina Clarke

    What a great post! I have bookmarked it and plan to look at it each day this week. It fits all aspects of life, and two major goals I have, but for me, it also especially relates to learning the harp. I am nowhere mastering it, and often wonder if it is too late to try, but then I hear a piece played and know it is a treasure I want to share. I am working on a version of Tourdion and assigning my own fingering as an assignment, and it opens up a whole new understanding of the music. No brackets, just discerning the flow when I play. So I realize in a way it’s my yellow brick road–an adventure with the beautiful music waiting at the end. Thank you. You are a real inspiration.


    • Anne Post author

      Thank you, Regina! Remember that mastery is a journey. We pursue mastery – we never really get there. But you are clearly on the right track. Keep up the good work!


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