You have probably been asked where you envision your business or your life in five or ten years. Many self help books, therapists, and business coaches use this simple exercise to help clients set business goals or push themselves down the right career path. While this exercise can help you determine the direction you want to take with your life, it only scratches the surface of what it takes to be successful in business today.

You should know where you want to go in the future. You should set goals and learn how to work toward those goals. Those things are focused on action, and the action you take is what ultimately leads you to your future. It is in your choice of action that you choose your future.

Yet, the key to business success really lies in what pushes you into action and gives you the determination and strength to persevere in the face of difficulties. Just setting your goals and envisioning your future is not going to get you there. Your life skills and mental determination are what will ultimately get you there.

Take a moment to think about six attributes that all highly successful people share, regardless of what career path they have taken in their life:

1. Assess and embrace personal strengths and weaknesses. Do not hide from weaknesses, but play up your own strengths and work to improve your weaknesses.

2. Use setbacks, obstacles and failures as learning experiences, rather than stopping blocks. Life goes on after failure. You are supposed to leap over obstacles, not stop in front of them.

3. Live a life of study. There is always something new to learn; always something you can do better. You may get to the top, but you will not stay there unless you are consistently studying and making improvements.

4. Work hard for personal goals. If a goal is not worth the hard work, then it is not worth setting. You have to work hard for what you want. The hardest workers deserve the best results.

5. Focus on building a career, rather than just working a job or making money. The career will earn you money, but will be more emotionally fulfilling as well.

6. Understand that success is not a final destination. It is found over and over as you push your career or your business higher and higher. Small successes are just as important as the big ones, because those little ones create the big ones.

You do need to take action in order to create a successful business or build your career to a satisfying point. It is attributes like these that will help you sustain that action long enough to actually experience the success you want to find in your life.

So many people go through that exercise of envisioning where they see their career or business in five and ten years. They come up with inspiring pictures of highly successful business and rich, indulgent lives. Unfortunately, many of them will never make their vision their reality. They will fail because they did not embrace the mindsets reflected in the attributes listed above. They will fail for one or more of the following reasons:

1. They would not admit or accept their weaknesses. What is not faced cannot be improved.

2. They quit when presented with obstacles or setbacks. Rather than keeping momentum and finding ways to overcome problems, they stop and assume there is no way to succeed.

3. They are unwilling to work hard or study. Others who do study and improve life skills pass them up.

Don’t let these mistakes hold you back! You can be one of the few who turn their visions of the future into reality. It just takes the right mindset and dedication to learning, studying, and improving.

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