Category Archives: Secrets of Success

Passion Matters If You Want Success

If you want to achieve anything worthwhile in life then there is a simple secret that successful people know.

The first principle for achieving success is passion and I absolutely believe that you have to have it in your life if you want to have access to the energy that is required to create success. 

Passion provides our energy, our drive for taking action, especially when those actions are hard and/or challenging. In simple terms we derive energy from our passions.
Try this quick exercise.

Stop and close your eyes for a moment think about your passion. It could be one or more of many things such as:
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Singing
  • Physical exercise
  • Playing sport
  • Water based activities
  • Drama
  • Art
  • Reading
  • Gaming
  • Studying
  • Learning
  • Cooking
 This list doesn’t have an end! It could go on and on and on.

Once you have identified your passions focus on one of them and think about it, remember yourself doing, see yourself doing it. Notice what happens to your body when you start imagining yourself doing your passion.

When I ask participants in my programs to do this exercise you should see what I see! While their eyes are closed as they are imagining themselves doing their passion, whatever it is, people smile! It is as if they can’t help it. Smiles simply appear on their faces!

It just happened to you too, didn’t it.

If you require evidence that passions drive your energy then here it is! Just notice the smile on your face. 

However a sad fact is that as many of us get older, we stop experiencing our passions. Just when our lives get busier and more serious, just when we need more energy to create the success we desire, we stop living and experiencing our passions. If you think about it, isn’t that just plain crazy?

Our passions ‘leave’ our lives or they simply fade away from being present in our lives. Yet we need our passions in our lives in order to give us the energy to get through some of the less passionate things that we have to do. No matter how successful we become there will always be things that we have to do to create our success that aren’t the most fun in the world to do.

As you consider your passion or passions, are they present in your life now? When did you last experience your passion? When is the next time you plan to experience your passion?

Interestingly your passion doesn’t have to be ‘present’ all the time for you to benefit from the energy it provides. As an example many people have travelling as one of their passions. For many of us such a passion is ‘serviced’ when we have annual leave holidays from our work. So what people with this passion will do is book in and pay for their travelling experiences a long time in advance. As a result they have the positive energy benefits of looking forward to experiencing their passion.

If you don’t have a passion and can’t remember ever having one, you have a wonderful opportunity to include this in your Vision. For example. as part of your personal vision you could write, “In 12 months’ time I will be living and regularly experiencing at least one passion in my life.”

Remember, when planning for success it’s okay to write things down into the Vision section of your plan even when you have no idea about how they are going to be brought into reality. In fact, this is usually true for most things that you write down in the vision section of your plan and why writing them down is so powerful.

In wrapping up, what’s your passion or passions? How are you leveraging the energy that they generate?

Gary Ryan facilitates the OTM Plan for Personal Success® program. Click here to find out more about how you can create a plan for your personal success.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

Carry Your Happiness Forward

“Gary, there are a lot of elements in my life that I am very happy with right now, so I don’t know that creating a plan for the future requires me to do anything. After all, I already have a lot of what I want in my life now.”, a program participant said to me.

“Do you want to continue to have what you are happy with now in the future?” I asked.

“Yes”, came the response.

“Did you have to do things to create the current level of satisfaction that you have in your life.” I inquired.


“Okay. So wouldn’t it make sense that if you wanted to create a future that included many elements of your current life then you more likely to create that future by consciously putting strategies into action? This would ensure that you maintained those elements, rather than leaving them to chance.” I followed.

“Yes, there is no doubt that I would be more likely to carry forward the elements of my life that I am happy with by consciously putting strategies into action to create that future. I can see that even though much of the future I desire is that same as I have now, I still need to be conscious in my efforts to continue to create that future.

“Spot on!” I responded.

This brief conversation highlights a misconception that many people have about creating the future they desire. Irrespective of whether you have current elements of your life with which you are happy, if you want to continue to have those elements in your life having conscious strategies that you can put into action will significantly increase the probability that those elements will continue to stay in your life. This is how you can carry your happiness forward.

Otherwise you are leaving it to chance. If you have elements in your life that you are happy with, why would you want to leave them to chance. Take relationships, for example. Lots of people are happy with their relationships but don’t consciously put strategies into action to maintain and build on the strength of those relationships. Eventually, something goes wrong and the relationship breaks down even though the people involved never imagined that could happen. In many cases people will blame the other person for having ‘changed’. Yet they could have planned to change together and/or plan to be able to sustain individual changes.

What are the elements in your life that you are currently happy with?

How are you planning to keep those elements in your life?

Gary Ryan facilitates the OTM Plan for Personal Success® program which has now had over 5,500 people complete variations of the program.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

What does ‘Realistic’ mean?

Through my work in facilitating the OTM Plan for Personal Success® Program, which has now been provided to over 5,500 people in various formats, I am constantly asked, “Is this goal that I have written down realistic?”.

I reply by helping the person to understand that there is really only one person who could possibly know the answer to that question, and that is them. In addition, it may be a question that does not have an initial “Yes it is” or “No it’s not” response.

Often the only way to find out if something is realistic or not is to go and try to achieve it.

Our mindset plays a huge role in self determining what is realistic and our mindset regarding ‘reality’ is forged at a young age.

What’s your definition of ‘Realistic’?

Recently my 10 year old daughter had a wonderful life experience about taking a chance and doing some hard work to discover  what ‘realistic’ meant for her.

When the school year began in January this year, Sienna was commencing Year 4. In 2011 as a Year 3 student she had participated in her school aerobics team and had attended the inter school championships in her school’s third ranked team. Her primary school’s first ranked team, which consisted of girls from Years 5 and 6 ended up becoming National Champions, which was a terrific result for them. My daughter’s team were State finalists but that is where their journey ended.

Sienna said that she wanted to be in the “First ranked team this year”, but believed that it was “Impossible” because she was only in year 4 and hadn’t even been in the second ranked team last year.

I said, “If you could have what you really wanted, which team would you like to be in this year?”

She replied, “The first ranked team… But it’s impossible for me to get in.”

“When are the trials?”, I asked.

“Late March.” was Sienna’s reply.

“So, you have about six weeks between now and the trial.” I stated.

“Yes. But it’s still impossible.” Sienna re-stated.

“Okay, just go with me for a moment please. Let’s pretend that it is possible for you to make the first ranked team.What would you need to do to give yourself every chance of making the first ranked team?”

“Well, I suppose that I would need to train every day.” Sienna suggested.

“Okay, what else?”

“Maybe I could ask my teachers what they think I should focus on when I’m training so that I’m doing the right things?”

“That sounds pretty smart.” I affirmed.

“Now, you’ve said that this year you want to be in the first ranked team. You’ve also come up with a couple a smart things that you could do to give yourself every chance to make that team. What if you go and do the two things that you have suggested. Do you think that you might have some chance of making the team?” I asked.

“Well, yes.”, was Sienna’s response.

To her credit Sienna did the practice and she asked her teachers what she should focus on.

In March she made the team, along with two other Year 4 girls. They went on to win their Regional Final. They then became State Champions and last weekend won a National Silver Medal.

So between January to August Sienna went from believing that it was impossible to get into her school’s first ranked team, to becoming a National Silver Medalist.

What a wonderful lesson to learn!

If you are clear about what you want, work out what needs to be done to create what you want, then go out and do it, it is amazing what can then become possible.

The lessons in this story are just as applicable to adults as they are to children.

What are your examples of creating your own definition of ‘realistic’?

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

Passion and The Ball of Light by Denis Smith

Passion is the first principle that underpins the OTM Plan for Personal Success® Program. Several years ago Denis Smith held a high pressure sales job, was drinking too much and suffering from depression.

His life lacked passion despite all the trimmings of a successful sales career.

Fortunately he knew ‘something’ was missing from his life and he went on a search to discover his passion. He quickly found photography and realised that he was somewhat of a natural with the camera. Upon uploading his photos to sites he discovered that his ‘good’ photos were the same as everyone else’s. But he didn’t want to be the same as everyone else.

So his evolving passion took him on a journey of discovery where he came across the concept of ‘light drawings’ through photography. With passion comes innovation and he decided to ‘play’ with the concept, creating surreal ‘Ball of Light‘ images in his photographs.

Today Denis has turned his passion into a business. More importantly he is living a life full of positivity and energy. View this short video to learn more about Denis’ story.

Personally I feel energised when I hear about stories such as Denis’ and I thank my good friend Andrew Scott (an amateur photographer himself and a personal friend of Denis’) for recently sharing the story with me.

How present is passion in your life?

Learn about the OTM Plan for Personal Success® Program here.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

Richard St John’s 8 Secrets of Success

As a student of success I like to hear other people’s perspectives and views. This three minute video from Richard St John is one of the most succinct perspectives I have seen. It’s cleverly pieced together too!
I’m interested in hearing your examples for each of his 8 secrets of success. You can view the short video here.

To start things off I’m a big believer in being passionate about what you do. I love helping people get better at what they do and quite simply rejoice when they achieve the success they are striving to achieve! Recently one of my Executive Coaching clients shared how someone who they thought ‘wouldn’t make it’ in terms of the organisational change he was catalysing had, “had her light come on and could now see what we are trying to create!”. Now that’s a ‘Ka-Ching! Moment’ that re-enfoces why I am passionate about what I do.

The energy that you receive from living your passion, in my view helps us to sustain some of the challenges that are imbedded in the other seven secrets.

What is an example that you might have of implementing one of Richard St John’s 8 secrets of success

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

Managing the vision-strategy challenge

A consistent challenge that people face creating their first plan for personal success is defining the future that they desire in terms of strategies rather than what they act actually want.

A common example relates to fitness and health. People will often say things like, “I want to lose 10 kilograms, this is the fitness and health future that I desire.”

Losing 10 kilograms is a strategic goal and while losing 10 kilograms is an outcome, it isn’t what should be focussed upon. It is the lifestyle that comes with being 10 kilograms lighter that is the real desired outcome upon which you should be focussed.

It is defining what they really want that people find difficult to do. Understanding why you want to be 10 kilograms lighter and why that is important to you are the keys to understanding what it is you really desire.

Focussing on the types of activities that you want to be able to do and visualising yourself doing them is far more powerful than focussing on a number. Dewitt Jones, acclaimed National Geographic photographer and an expert on the power of vision explains that the big visions in life shouldn’t be too focussed, too tight. Rather, they should be both clear enough, yet loose enough to leave open a thousand possibilities to bring them into reality.

In terms of a whole of life perspective focussing on losing 10 kilograms is too tight a vision. Focussing on being able to play with your children or grandchildren, being able to participate in a hiking holiday, or dance with your friends are loose visions that have a multitude of opportunities to bring them into reality.

Losing weight may be a strategy that is required to enable you to keep the possibilities alive for you to bring your vision into reality. It is at this point that focussing not only on losing weight but on creating a new lifestyle where you can maintain the weight loss becomes critical. At this level of personal planning you become more focussed on your goals and you take specific actions to achieve them. Such as engaging a personal trainer and training four times per week. These are what Dewitt calls ‘tactical visions’ and are more detailed and specific.

How do you know if the future you are focussing on is what you want or is a strategy to achieve what you want?

The easiest way to approach this question is to reflect on the content of your vision once it has been created. You will discover that you have a mixture of statements that reflect both what you want and the strategies regarding your approach to achieve them.

For each statement in your vision statement ask yourself, “Why do I want this? What will this really look like once I have it? What will I be doing when I have this?” and keep asking this question for each answer that you arrive at, possibly up to five times in a row (this is known as the Five Whys Technique).

In a financial context people often suggest they they want to be rich or to have ‘x’ amount of dollars as part of their vision. Once again money is a strategy that enables you to do want you want to be able to do. Asking yourself, “Why do I want this money? What will I be doing with it?” can help to uncover what you really want and makes it so clear that taking the necessary steps to create the wealth you desire (legally, of course!) becomes more and more doable.

Why is it that people initially struggle with this challenge?
Having assisted more than 1,000 people establish their initial OTM Plan for Personal Success™ the facts are that less than 0.1% (that is less than ten) of those people had previously created a detailed or strategic plan plan for themselves. The reality for the vast majority of people is that creating a personal plan is something that they haven’t done before.

Like most things we do for the first time we are usually not very good at it the first time. This can be frustrating for adults because we like to think that we can quickly achieve an expert standard when we perform a new task, even though our experience has taught us that this isn’t really how we learn.

Learning to use iterative cycles when creating your plan for personal success enables you to more quickly establish a personal plan that both clearly articulates what you want and what you are going to do to achieve your vision. This means that you develop the skill to continually ask yourself, “Why do I want what I have just written? Why is that important to me?”

That said, having an initial plan is more powerful than not having one. David Ingvar’s ‘Memories of the Future’ research highlights the power of having a written plan. In this context having a plan is far more beneficial than not having one at all. If you create you plan and then become disciplined on reviewing it, say once every six to 12 months and also become disciplined at constantly challenging yourself to reflect on why you want what you want, you will, over time create plans that are even more powerful than your first plan. This is normal and part of the learning process that is associated with creating and living your plan for personal success.

Please visit here for more information on the options available for establishing an OTM Plan for Personal Success™.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

Secrets of Young Achievers Exposed – Two Free Chapters from Best Selling Author Dale Beaumont

Secrets of Young Achievers Exposed is a book featuring 12 of Australia’s brightest young talent. This free ebook includes two chapters of the book and features Amy Wilkins creator of Active Kidz and Hugh Evans, founder of the Oaktree Foundation.

Learn about the success secrets of these two inspiring young Australians.

Download your free copy of this ebook here.

Dale Beaumont, one of Australia’s most successful author’s is one of my mentors (even though I’m ten years older than him!). Dale provided direction and guidance in helping me to publish my first book What Really Matters For Young Professionals!

Please enjoy this free gift that Dale has allowed me to pass on to you.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at