The Two Essential Components of Phenomenal Success

If you examine the individuals, organizations, and movements that have achieved phenomenal success, you will note that success is realized by the work of hundreds or thousands of people. Yet the core of every phenomenal success is a Vision that can be traced back to one or two individuals. Think of Bill Gates and Microsoft, Steve Jobs and Apple, or Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Google. If you go back further through history, the trend continues.

So why do these organizations flourish while others crumble? The first reason is Vision.


So what is Vision? And why is it essential?

Vision is not ideas and strategies, though it is closely related to both. Ideas come and go. Some work. Some don’t. A single great idea can launch a business, but it won’t sustain its dominance. The same is true for strategies. Even great business plans need constant adjustment. If you keep doing the same thing for too long, you become irrelevant.

The best way to describe Vision is a philosophy or mental image that encompasses every aspect of an organization. It is a Cause, a Passion, an Ideal. Vision isn’t ideas, but it decides what ideas will be implemented and what will be discarded. Vision determines when to make an enormous shift in strategy.

In short, vision is the guiding light of an organization. Phenomenally successful organizations are able to function so well because every part (especially seemingly unrelated parts) falls in line with a central Vision.

A Vision can be isolated in one or two individuals because it cannot be entirely conveyed with words. Suppose Henry Ford had gone around telling everyone he was going to make an automobile for the everyday man. Would someone have stolen his idea? No. Even if they believed him (which most people didn’t) they wouldn’t have had his Vision of the Model T and everything it could do for the average person. They could have made a different inexpensive car, but it probably wouldn’t have worked.

A Vision is a new way of thinking, a new way of doing things. A true original vision is a rare thing, which explains why great success is so rare and so difficult to sustain. And as if it wasn’t hard enough, Vision alone is far from enough to succeed.

This brings us to the second essential component of phenomenal success: Communication.


Vision without Communication is merely a beautiful dream. Communication is what takes Vision out of a single person’s mind and spreads it to others. Employees don’t do their best work because they get paid well or get great benefits, they do it when they believe in something; when everyone is working together for the same cause. Communication recruits the best talent and attracts the best customers. It’s what makes a vision a reality.

So there you have it. Phenomenal success is simply creating a truly original vision and convincing the entire world you aren’t crazy. The hardest part is having enough confidence in your own vision to communicate it to other people.

If you have trouble creating an original vision, doing the best you can to be different and better than your competitors will likely be enough to earn you honor and distinction.

Do You Have a Vision?

I do. But the communication part still needs a lot of work. I look forward to sharing it with you in the not-too-distant future.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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