09/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Cooking Up the Success You Want

I work as a coach and one of my many 'recharge' hobbies is cooking. I consider a meal very similar to a work of art and am concerned not only with the tastes but the presentation. My goal is to get a 'wow' from my dinner guests and I'm most often successful. My style of cooking is very creative and I usually just follow my instincts and intuition with good results (mostly).

However, after a while my 'make it up as you go' style of cooking becomes a routine. I have a set number of culinary ideas and skills and I need to go outside for inspiration and education. I watch TV shows on cooking, read magazines and look online for ideas and to learn more about cooking. I even, and this is the shocker, use someone else's recipes now and then!

Life and business is like this model of cooking. You have a set number of ideas and intuition and you can follow them into any venture with varying levels of success; you may even get some 'wows'. You may even tap into the many sources of inspiration, creativity, training and resources available to keep you growing. This model and method can be useful and helpful and may be all you ever need to be fulfilled and happy in your endeavors.

But, if you are looking for growth, for breakthroughs and the biggest possible future for you and your business you may want to find an expert and follow their 'recipe' for success. In fact, the closer you follow a recipe, as in the cooking model, the more often you'll be able to replicate your successes and create a sustainable, repeatable model for growth and success.

Consider a recipe: ingredients, preparation, baking or cooking time, special instructions and a desired result. If your end result isn't exactly what you wanted then you can make notes and adjustments for the next time. You add an ingredient for a new or more textured flavor, vary baking or cooking time according to your oven, practice some of your preparation techniques, consult a more experienced cook and, in general re-think your recipe. You don't give up eating just because your cake was a bit dry any more than you'd quit your business because you had a few bad sales weeks or divorce your spouse or family because life had gotten a little boring or you're in a rut. So let's take on something that you're interested in causing a breakthrough in as if it was a recipe.

  • Start off by listing the ingredients: what do you do, what do you need, to get your goal. Write them all down as if they were items you could get your hands on and don't edit yourself; i.e. if it's a large chunk of time then just write that down, don't edit yourself because you don't presently know where you'll find the time.

  • What kind of 'processing' does it need? This is the 'bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour' type of instruction. How long would you need to do what you need to do in order to get results? Say for example that you're going to grow your accounts by 10% as a goal: ingredients are 10 new clients, and that means '10 cold calls a day for one month', let's say or, if it's a personal goal like weight loss, 'lose 10 lbs.-- 1/2 hour of working out, 5 times a week for 8 weeks'.
  • What kind of help do you need? Chefs have 'sous chefs' and tasters to give them feedback and be their support when they need it. Can you enlist someone to be a 'taster' for what you're up to? Tell them what you're up to and invite them to be a witness, much the same way that when I serve a dish up to guests I'm looking for a 'wow'. Let them in on where you are now and where you want to be and ask them to check in on you, be your 'help line' if you get stuck and in general be at stake with you for the result.
  • What will the result look like? Have a clear picture of the outcome. I couldn't imagine cooking something without knowing what the result should look like if I've followed the recipe correctly. Comparing my result to the photo in the cookbook lets me know if I've hit the mark or not, no matter how tasty the dish. You have to be working towards some result or you'll feel trapped, in a rut or like a drone working, working, working with no 'souffle' at the end of the tunnel.
  • Let's revisit a little: you're going to have a breakthrough in mind. You'll list what you need, what actions to take and how long it will take for the result. Along the way you can 'tweak' the recipe if you're not getting the next step the way you want it and you'll be asking for help along the way. If you find that your result is not perfect you won't give up or throw out the recipe and start from scratch, you'll adjust, fine tune, add or vary ingredients and try again and again. At the end, you'll aim to 'taste' success and to 'serve up' a 'wow'.

    So now, get in the kitchen and get out of the 'hunger' phase. Thinking about a cake or pie doesn't make it appear; you have to roll up your sleeves and knead the dough. Spend your time looking for inspiration, education and new ideas and reduce everything to its ingredients and step by step instructions so that you can adjust, tweak, spice and fine tune until you get exactly the results you want.

    Following this model will help you create awareness and awareness is key to making any lasting changes or building a successful model or enterprise. Who knows, you may wind up writing your own recipe book for the benefit of others!

    Here's my offer: I'm available to you and to anyone at either 'Star of Your Own Life' ( or 'JM Lynch Training and Consulting' either by email or phone and will come do one free session with any group, anywhere in the world, to help you get started on what you're passionate about, what you're doing to feed your soul or to set the table for your community with abundance and prosperity. Contact me and I'll arrange it with you -- I love to 'cook'.

    By the way, my 'cook book' is written, The Hamlet Secret: A self-directed workbook for living a passionate, joy-filled life, ( and is full of 'do it yourself' recipes for enjoying and savoring life for the tasty dish it can be.

    Bon appetit!