In this very competitive marketplace, everyone is looking to get ahead.  I don’t mean at the expense and failure of others – instead I am talking about using the untapped resources and opportunities within and around you to propel yourself towards where you WANT to be instead of just trudging through life.

Knowing that all successful sports athletes, top executives and the most respected entrepreneurs currently use coaches and mentors, it’s very apparent that in order to get ahead in life – it pays to get the right kind of help!

Here’s a short list (in David Letterman style) of the TOP 10 ways to get ahead that I’ve discovered by working with various clients from all different walks of life who were looking to be better at who they are and what they do!

10. Set the Plan for Maximum Achievement

Start by having a plan. As the old saying goes, “Plan your work, and work your plan.”  And while you’re developing and building that plan – why not set the destination for maximum achievement? If you’re going to go through all the effort, time, investment and work to get where you want to be, go ahead and shoot for what you REALLY want.

Maximum achievement for you may be living in abundance and joy, or realizing your dreams and goals in alignment with your values and purpose. Setting your plan to a reasonable “high altitude” may bring you the time with loved ones, or the peace and accomplishment you’ve been missing for so long.

9. Develop Crystal Clear Clarity

In this “hyper attention age,” it’s too easy to lose focus and not maintain clarity on what’s important. As you probably know from personal experience, when you were set, clear and focused on one thing – you got it done.  For example, maybe it was waking up 30-minutes late for work and you were FOCUSED on getting ready and out the door in record time. Have you ever had a presentation or project due within a crunch deadline, and you pushed out all distractions in order to focus on the immediate task at hand?

That kind of laser-focus clarity does amazing wonders for your success. It’s when you get side-tracked and lose sight of what’s important, that hinders your personal development or business success.

8. Write Down Your Goals

Most people were not brought up to set goals. What a shame!

If your mind doesn’t know what to aim for, it won’t work the body to get there. Do you know what your top 3 personal goals are – long-term and short-term? What are your top 3 financial goals, long-term and short-term? If you’re an entrepreneur, you should have written business goals. As a career professional, what are your career goals? Even a house wife should have clearly defined goals for her family, expected accomplishments, and anything else that is important to her!

With the goals written, now come the action steps to determine what to do daily and weekly to get there. Have at least three action steps per goal in order to develop activity to move you consistently in the right direction.

7. Commit to the Time and Process

Almost everyone who engages a coach wants MORE, and knows that they must make certain changes in their personal and professional lives in order to get more of what they really want. These changes certainly take time and effort. You got to where you are today over the course of thousands of little decisions, and lots of time. The sooner you come to the realization that improving your life happens over time and by making better decisions (and not through a pill or a snap of the fingers) – the better your result.

Even if someone told you that “Result X” would take two years, don’t get frustrated. Two years is going to come anyway! Would you rather be exactly where you are now in two years, or leaps and bounds ahead?

6. Begin Attracting the Right Things Into Your Life

Through the power of attraction, you can accomplish more of your objectives in less time, and have an abundance of time, energy, love and power. It is important to understand what you’re already attracting and how to get more of the good that you want, or begin to stop and reverse the negative that you don’t want!

Attraction happens through shifting your attitude, home, life, career and habits. Attraction happens through strengthening your personal foundation and becomes a way of being. Whether you know it or not (or believe it or not), you are bringing people, actions and results into your life by how you attract them. That can either be a great thing, or a very bad thing – depending on what you’re attracting and the results you actually want.

5. Focus + Action = Results

Have you been told you must work harder to create more results? Focusing on an effective “plan of action” is half the battle. Moving continually towards the desired target is the other ingredient. When you are clear about what you want, often times, you quickly forget. Not because your goals and objectives are no longer important – but because you got caught up in life, got busy and present moment challenges evaporate your attention.
It’s important to hold your focus and keep that vision alive. We all need to be reminded of “What’s Most Important in YOUR life” and the action steps needed to take us there. Keep that focus in front of you at all times, because: Focused Attention + Deliberate Action = Fabulous Results.

4. Don’t Hold Yourself Accountable

Have you ever broken a promise that you made to yourself?  The power of your “word” to an unbiased third party (namely your coach) does have amazing results! Having someone to commit to every week, puts more leverage on you to make your own commitments happen. You see this all the time in life – whether it’s with your boss, your spouse or your family. You can give yourself a “pass” all day long, but not the person you’re accountable to!

Why do successful people NEED accountability? Shouldn’t they be disciplined enough to “just do it” on their own? Most times, with assistance, you’re able to identify action steps that you never would have thought of on your own. How can you implement an idea you never had? Whether you consider yourself motivated or not, disciplined or not, creative or not, never underestimate the power of your word within the coaching relationship.

3. Make Fewer Mistakes

In your business life or in your personal life you are bound to make mistakes. Welcome them and learn from them! So how is it possible for me to say “make fewer mistakes?” The old model of learning from mistakes on your own is extremely expensive and time consuming. An old saying is: “A wise man learns from his mistakes. A wiser man learns from other’s mistakes.”

Why should YOU be the one to make the same mistakes that other’s have already made for you? One of the benefits of having a coach is the perspective outside of your own mind. Someone who sees around the corner from the direction you’re going, and has the ability to help you discover alternative options and hopefully avoid unintended consequences. Oftentimes, it can be the questioning of your goals, ambitions, actions and strategies that make all the difference. If you don’t have solid answers to relevant questions, then maybe you’re about to make a mistake that someone else has already made.

2. Stretch Your Boundaries and Grow as a Person

Since infancy, we all have an innate desire to learn and grow. As we age, many people have stopped learning and growing in life, and are among the “walking dead.”  Learning and growth are among the most satisfying and fulfilling experiences available to us. I’m a huge believer in “life-long learning” and using the tools available to all of us. There are scores of books to read that can change your life, seminars to learn from, ongoing training and life lessons from people and personal experiences.

I attract clients that love to learn and grow, and want to take themselves to the next level. There are many reasons people use coaching to get ahead in life, but the bottom line is CHANGE, and change means growth. Do not limit yourself based on what you’ve done, or what you think the boundary is. Your ability to grow as a person, and expand beyond any pre-conceived limitations, is a freeing and powerful fact many people fail to experience.

1. Give Yourself the Edge

In many Olympic game events, we find a similar phenomenon that happens in car races, horse races and other types of sporting events. The Gold Medalist and the 1st Place Prize go to the individual who won by the smallest of inches. This is very common and happens all the time in sports, business and in daily life.

In any event, the prize money is dramatically different from 1st place to 2nd place. The salaries are thousands of dollars more for a C.E.O., vs. a Vice President. Being awarded the large contract brings much more revenue for the company, than having to settle for what’s left.

The winner takes 1st place by just an inch or less. Oftentimes, that tiny edge is all that’s needed to separate you from 1st and everyone else who came in after you. All things being equal, having a coach gives you an edge over the competition that doesn’t have a coach.

In your career, in your business and in your life, having a coach means having an edge. An edge that has you three to four strides ahead of those chasing you. An edge that gives you strength, confidence, and empowerment to handle difficulties in your business and your life. An edge that propels you forward into life – maximizing your fulfillment along the way.

Is it important to have an edge? Just ask the person who came in second…


So, now that you’ve read this article, how are you going to use this information to make 2012 a fantastic year for your life and/or your business?

Please take a moment and share your ideas in the comment section below.

Enjoy the rest of your day!  ~ Kris


About Kris Cavanaugh

Kris Cavanaugh, owner of ShiftTM, is a Speaker, Author and Coach who specializes in helping others produce more consistent results and increase their effectiveness through cultivating a C.E.O. mindset in every area of their life so their businesses, careers, and personal lives thrive.  She is an expert strategist with an amazing ability to pull her clients through difficult challenges to obtain the life they truly want.

If you have a desire to live your life “on purpose”, so you wake up every day excited about the possibilities and maintain an unwavering belief that you will overcome any obstacles to achieve your personal and professional goals more easily, call Kris at 404-551-3601 or go to to schedule your complimentary meeting today.

Kris is author of “Stuck to C.E.O.” (available on Amazon) at

Need a Speaker?
Kris Cavanaugh is a Professional Member of the NSA (National Speakers Association).  If you or people you know are seeking speakers, panelists, or workshop instructors for any type of association, corporate, nonprofit or industry meeting, please contact Shift, Inc., at  You can learn more about Kris’ presentations at

2 thoughts on “TOP 10 Ways to Get Ahead in Life”

  1. Kris – great post! I think your recommendations hit the mark squarely on the head. I know that for me, going through a process to get things done – taking the time to plan commit and focus – has delivered results for me time and time again. I can never overstate the positive mental attitude and drawing people to yourself.

    Great article. Keep it up!


  2. This is a great list Kris. It amazes me how many people I meet that are in certain situations in life, because they never took the time to learn, make goal, make a plan and become greater. There is not better time to start then NOW. Everyone of these points is exactly what I tried to achieve in my 2012 Personal Success Plan. I really like the simpolicity of your how you broke this down.

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