Ladders:   Finding a Success LadderA ladder is what we use to reach something that we perceive we cannot reach with out it. The something is beyond our normal reach. We determine what we want to reach. We decide whether we can reach it on our own. If we can’t reach it on our own, we need a ladder.

It’s interesting that when we look at our careers, goals, projects and stuff in our life, our success depends on the ladder that we choose to climb in order to reach that personal destination. It is a success ladder. This is not any different than selecting the right ladder to reach the top shelf in the garage.

Most homes have a stepladder. It is a fold up three rung ladder just for the kitchen or laundry. We keep a lightweight six-foot ladder in the garage to reach the top shelf, change a light bulb or hang the Christmas lights. Few homes have the larger extension ladders to reach the roof. If we need to see what’s on the roof, we simply call the roofer who brings his ladders.

Some people feel they don’t need to use a ladder. They try to jump to the top.
Imagine a painter who shows up to paint your house without a ladder. He tells you he can jump high enough to paint the gutters. How about your next vacation? It is 500 miles away. It is a beautiful vacation spot for you and the family. It’s 500 miles. It’s 500 rungs on your vacation ladder. You decide that you only want to climb 450 rungs on your vacation ladder. Sorry, no vacation. Suppose you are willing to climb 600 rungs on your vacation ladder? Not only will you enjoy a great vacation but also an additional side trip to the beach.

The roofer extends his ladder three rungs above the rung where he will step on to the roof. Why? So he has something to hold on too until he is secure on the roof. Successful roofers don’t fall. The 100 extra rungs on your vacation ladder secured your vacation. People who try to stand on the top rung of their success ladder have nothing to hold on to. You wouldn’t let someone stand on the top rung of your six-foot house ladder. It’s doing the little extra that provides safety and security.

Success is determined not only by reaching your goal but by being able to use that achievement as the foundation/ladder for future success. Did you climb the ladder just to climb the ladder or did you want to change the light bulb? Replacing the light bulb was the goal. The ladder was the vehicle to accomplish the goal. We would question the success of the mountain climber who reaches the pinnacle and then doesn’t stop to enjoy the view. At least take a picture and enjoy the view!

Andrew Carnegie said, “Anything in life worth having is worth working for.”

In life, there are no shortcuts for success. Success comes from climbing your own success ladder, one rung at a time. You can’t skip a rung and you can’t get someone else to climb it for you. It’s all you!

The tough questions:
A. Where do you want to go?
B. When do you want to get there?
C. What do you need to do to get there?
D. Are you willing to do what it takes to get there?

Next: Ladder Climbing 101: Climbing your success ladder.