Good, Better or Best?

UPDATED: May 11, 2023
PUBLISHED: November 16, 2009

Are you the best at what you do?

Everyone wants success, but very few achieve the success they dream about. I’m on my journey just like you. In the process of studying, I came to a realization about personal achievement: “going for the gold” is wrong.

Being the best you can be in order to earn the gold, or get the gold, is a surer path to success. What path are you on?

Personal achievement. Success. Fulfillment. Big words that every person seeks. “Get there by setting goals,” they say. “Wrong,” I say.

Now, I’m not saying don’t set goals. I am saying don’t set big goals and think that they’re the direct path to personal achievement, fulfillment or success. They’re not.

In my experience, I have found most people set their goals for the wrong things and reasons. The problem with “big goals” is that they are usually “big dreams.” And to further complicate the goal process, most goals are about “it” or “things” (material stuff like a big house, long vacation, million dollars, luxury car—the usual), not goals about “you” (personal-achievement stuff like a college degree, promotion, getting great at sales, physical fitness).

Most people with big material goals end up frustrated and cynical, with low achievement and low self-esteem, or they just become complacent and accept their lot. Why? And more to the point, What’s to ensure it won’t happen to you?

I’m sharing a personal-achievement (secret) formula. Discovering the formula was an accident, but there are very few accidentally fulfilled people. Success, achievement and fulfillment are on-purpose. The principles successful people execute and live by are the basis (foundation) for their success. I’m presenting the elements I discovered so that you may compare them to ones you execute on your own journey.

Formula or Mantra?

Why are some people able to achieve their goals and others are not? Big question. Is there a formula to follow? I can’t tell you what will work for sure—there’s no universal law of achievement, no universal law of success. If there was, everyone would be successful.

It’s most interesting to me that the people who have “big money” as their ultimate goal rarely attain it. And those who have “being the best at what they do” or “love what they do” almost always attain financial security. Why? They execute the elements of personal achievement.

There are elements of success, and degrees of achievement of success, tempered and limited by an individual’s desire, determination, dedication and drive. It’s a combination of your persistence (never quit) and your positive attitude (I will get it because I believe I will, and I deserve it).

On a radio interview, someone asked me if I had a success secret. “Jeffrey, how did you get to this position in sales? What drives you? Do you have a secret success formula?”

The question caught me off guard. Hadn’t much thought about my formula. Didn’t think I had one. I do have a philosophy, and I live my philosophy. Should I answer with that? No. That’s not a secret. So, I answered with one simple truth that I live by—be the best.

“When I found out I liked sales, I made one goal—be the best.” I said.

“When I discovered I liked writing, I made one goal—be the best. When writing led me to speaking and training, I made one goal—be the best. When I began recording my material, same goal, be the best.”

When I got off the radio show, I rushed to my laptop to capture the essence of what I’d said. As I developed the thought, I realized that there was an elemental process—a formula for personal achievement—best is just one element in the formula. And I figured I’d add the word secret to the formula so that it was more likely to be read. No one likes a formula—but a secret formula—now you’ve got something.

The Six Elements

So, there are six parts (elements) to the secret of personal achievement:

1. Best
2. Vision
3. Love
4. Attitude
5. Personal
6. Student

Best: The operative element of the secret is best. But it’s not the first element; best is element No. 3. If you find (do) something you love (the second element) and consistently strive to do your best, and be your best, all the goals about cars, vacations, houses, and the ever-popular money, will appear. The material things are a byproduct of personal achievement. They are automatically attached to best. So the question is, What drives you to want to become the “best” at something?

Vision: The first element of the secret to personal (goal) achievement is to identify a vision and put it in front of your goals. Got a big goal? Sure you do, everyone does. The big question is, What’s before (in front of) your goal? Do you have a personal vision that will drive you to achieve all your goals? Where do you see yourself?

Love: Several years ago, I made an accidental discovery. It occurred when I examined all the elements of my career, and tried to structure some of my thoughts into a 10-year plan. I asked myself, “What do I do best? What do I love to do? Where have I been most successful? How do I want to spend the next 10 years?” From those answers, I decided my success would focus on selling, positive attitude, customer service, and customer loyalty—writing, speaking and recording. I love selling and the selling process, and the other elements—attitude, serving and loyalty—are an extension of selling.

Once I realized that my choices were also my passion, the vision became clear. Having a personal vision, loving what you do and striving to be your best are elements at the core of success, but unless you expand those elements—a personal vision to see the big picture, and a passionate love of what you do—you will never achieve best.

Attitude: Many people cheat themselves out of achievement and success by having the wrong attitude (element four). Ever hear anyone say, “They don’t pay me enough to…”? Ever think it or say it yourself? Those are six words that will keep you mediocre. Don’t make the mistake of failing to be your best or do your best because someone isn’t paying you. Who are you cheating? Achievement is not about money—achievement is about best. If you don’t think they pay you enough, ask yourself what you’re worth, and go out and earn it.

Having the right attitude about money will make it happen faster than wanting lots of it.

Personal: So much has been written about goals that it has caused those dedicated to personal achievement to moan at the thought of another seminar on “Goal Setting and Achievement.” It’s not a matter of goals or no goals. Goals are a prerequisite for success—the question is, What kind of goals? The secret of goals is to make them personal (element five), not material. Make goals about you, not about it.

Which is a more powerful driving force: to make your monthly quota or be the best at sales? If you set a goal to be the best, the quota automatically is achieved.

The other aspect of personal is based on athletics. Athletes are always striving to achieve personal best—not to beat everyone else (although that’s a great accomplishment), but to beat their previous personal best. That keeps them going. It can keep you going too.

Student: I got clear vision in a Jim Rohn seminar. He said, “Whatever you want, study it first. If you want to be a doctor, study medicine; if you want to be a success, hang around successful people and study success.” Rohn said, “Be a student [element six] first. And always be a student. Not just a father, a student father. Not a teacher, a student teacher.” Wow, what a powerful piece of advice.

From the day I learned my first sales technique (January 1972) I wanted to be the best at sales. I’ve been studying sales for 37 years. That’s why it’s working for me. I’m not saying that’s how it works. I am saying that’s how it works for me. Follow the advice of Jim Rohn—be a student first. With all my heart, that’s how I believe it will work for you.

In the seminars I do, the best audience comment I get is, “Jeffrey loves what he does, and it shows.” If you love what you do, people will say it’s in your blood. And that blood-of-toil begins to manifest itself in your bank account.

Get Real…

I was watching the musician Kenny G being interviewed on CNN. They asked him what drove him to his phenomenal success. He said, “I never wished for fame and fortune. When I found out I loved to play the saxophone, I just wanted to be the best. The rest just showed up.” Cool.

And the real cool part is, if you think that being your best and doing your best is just a bunch of baloney, don’t worry, this information doesn’t apply to you. It only applies to those who will pass you.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or by e-mail at [email protected].
© 2009 All Rights Reserved. Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer, Inc. • • 704/333-1112

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling. President of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service.