What’s Your Template for Success?

I was sitting in a meeting this weekend, discussing an upcoming Writers workshop in the Nashville area, and the small group was receiving some wisdom from John Chancellor, a top Amazon book reviewer, and a professional business coach (John uses the expression “achieve growth through clarity” in his Twitter bio, so, of course, I immediately liked him…!)

John has written many hundreds of book reviews on Amazon, and over time, his process evolved into a predictable and regular format. A template.

When you have enough clarity to trace what you’re doing and attach labels to it, you have a template. I would dare to say that most every professional ends up creating a template of some sort – it may not be written down, and it may not have fancy labels, but we find out through trial-and-error what works, and we develop a modus operandi.

Can you describe what you do in the form of a template?

I was doing the Clarity Therapy process for a number of months before I traced back what exactly what I was doing, and saw the outline – the template – emerge. For instance, in a career clarity therapy session, here’s the typical sequence:

  1. Spill the M&Ms – mind dump of past experiences, present situation, and future aspirations
  2. Find the Hashtags – identify the key words and phrases that keep coming up, indicating the person’s professional DNA
  3. Look into the Mirror – sketch the preliminary portrait of the individual’s makeup and skills and verify that we’re getting clarity
  4. Declaration of Independence – challenge the individual to begin to take all future professional marching orders from their own DNA/wiring/desires, not the outside world’s mold
  5. Distill the Offerings – identify the 1-3 key skills and/or offerings that give the person a unique and valuable place in the market
  6. Sketch the Roadmap – begin to map out the short- and long-term opportunities and new direction
  7. Become Referral-Ready – settle on the key works and phrases that will “brand” the client going forward

In fact, here it is on a sticky-note on my computer monitor, in all of its no-wonder-you-didn’t-go-into-calligraphy-as-a-profession glory…


This template came about, not by dreaming up a bunch of ideas in the abstract, but by working with many clients, and then going back and figuring out what it was I was doing.

A psychologist will have templates. A doctor definitely has templates. A business coach does, a writer does, a salesperson does. And knowing and refining those templates leads to success.

The comments are yours – can you describe your template for success in, say, 3-7 steps?


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