Don’t: Apologize For Success Or Make Excuses For Failure

Success requires no apologies. Failure permits no alibis.”  Napoleon Hill

When I think of Napoleon Hill, I consider the profound impact he had on my life with his book, Think and Grow Rich.  I always believed that because he was given the opportunity to interview 500 of the world’s wealthiest men, his life’s journey was filled with “wine and roses.”

However, after reading his newest book, Outwitting the Devil, I discovered that in the course of his research, he interviewed thousands of failures as well.  He found that he learned much more from people who failed than he did from successful men and women.  By seeing what people were doing wrong, he was able to capitalize on the best kind of experience – other people’s experience.  This allowed him to bring a balanced view to his readers, and point out what causes us to be led astray.

One of the things that Napoleon Hill focused on throughout both of his books was having a chief aim and definite purpose in life.  He revealed that when people are single-mindedly determined to reach a goal, they are much more likely to achieve it.  It’s not always easy.  Oftentimes, just when it seems we’re on the right path, life throws us a curveball.  I believe this is a way of “testing” us to see how committed we really are to achieving success with our life’s goals.  Are we going to give up or move on?

When you are very specific in my goal-setting, magic happens.  Many years ago, I wanted to create the perfect job.  I was working as a straight commission, independent contractor and was ready to move on to bigger and better things.  My sales coach encouraged me to write down everything I could possibly want in my ideal new position.

When creating my list, I got a little “crazy.”  I wanted a large salary, company car, investment plan, expenses, opportunity to travel, great boss, etc.  The list went on for a page and a half.  I put away the list and promptly forgot about it.  Several months after accepting a new job in medical sales, I found that list – and discovered that every single item on the list had come to fruition.

By being specific, I was able to give my subconscious mind the information it needed to bring my dream to reality.  I could see the perfect job in my mind’s eye, and I firmly believe that it was because of that list that I found the position that I held for more than seven years.  Writing down your goals is good; being very intentional in your wording and your objective is better; and taking action towards the achievement of your goals is best.

If you’re not where you want to be right now, it’s ok.  This process doesn’t happen overnight.  If you’re thinking that the grass is greener in someone else’s backyard, think again.  The people that you are envious of may be equally jealous of you.  Success usually comes after some kind of mess.  The bigger the mess, the greater the success.  When you fall down, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, learn from your mistakes and “try, try again.” Focus on what you want, be specific, write it down and you’re on your wait to achieving the success you desire.

PS – Read the biographies of the people you admire, and you’ll see how much “muck” they had to go through until they found their ultimate “luck.”

(About the Author: Employee Engagement Expert and Motivational Speaker, Lisa Ryan works with organizations to help them keep their top talent and best customers from becoming someone else’s. She achieves this through personalized employee engagement and customer retention keynotes, workshops and seminars. She is the author of six books, and is featured in two films including the award-winning, “The Keeper of the Keys” with Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul. For more information, please connect with Lisa at her website: or email her at

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