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Strategizing for Success

If you want to be a success, you need a strategy. In the game of life, it can make all the difference in the world.

Executive coach Erika Andersen, the author of "Being Strategic," appeared on "The Early Show" Friday, with some advice on how to strategize for success.

Andersen told "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez a strategy is a way to make sure you achieve your dreams.

"Most people have dreams, but they don't approach them in an organized way," Andersen said, "and so they're less likely to come true."

So first, Andersen recommends looking at the challenge, and asking yourself, "What is the problem I want to solve?"

Andersen used the illustration of a mother who has a child with learning disabilities.

She said, "That can seem completely overwhelming. What do you need to do? Maybe what you really need is to find out how you can get the support that child needs to feel successful. If you hone in on that, then you can begin to look toward how to make that happen."

Another important thing to remember if you want to be successful is to look at your life and aspirations realistically, according to Andersen.

"Once you're clear on what the problem is, then it's really important that you know where you're actually starting from. One example I was just using recently is we all watch 'American idol,' and there are some people who want to be the 'American Idol,' and clearly they don't know how to sing."
Rodriguez remarked that the contestants are then surprised when the judges critique them.

Andersen said people should know where they're starting from, and have a reasonable aspiration to strive toward.

Reasonable aspirations, according to Andersen, are not about reaching for the ultimate, but rather something one can actually achieve.

The next step in Andersen's strategy is to look at the obstacles ahead.

"Sometimes what happens is people look at the obstacles, and they get paralyzed," she said.

She said people need to look at challenges in your path, and say, "(There's) something I need to do differently."

People commonly overestimate and underestimate their obstacles, Andersen told Rodriguez.

"You have to be accurate," Andersen said. "If you're trying to climb up a hill and there was a troll, you would have to know how big that troll was."

And finally, when you know what your obstacles are, Andersen said strategy comes in as a pathway to show you what you need to do to achieve your dream.

She said you come up with a strategy of overcoming those obstacles one by one.

Andersen said, "Once you have that direction, you can say, 'Here are the specific things I'm going to do to implement that strategy." '

SUCCESS STRATEGY STEPS:
1. DEFINE THE CHALLENGE
2. CLARIFY WHAT IS
3. ENVISION WHAT'S THE HOPE
4. FACE WHAT'S IN THE WAY
5. DETERMINE WHAT'S THE PATH