SUCCESS for Teens: Small Moves

Every major accomplishment—no matter how big—starts with small steps. No matter how successful someone gets, that success started with one, small step.

We rarely see those first few steps that eventually lead to success. We are hit with images and stories every day about millionaire and billionaire business owners, superstar athletes, singers and movie stars. But we rarely hear about how their journeys started, about all the struggles and failures they endured to reach the level of success they have achieved.

It’s important to teach your teen that success isn’t something that happens to you. It’s something that you make happen through small steps. Sometimes it takes years to reach a goal. It can seem impossible or too far away to achieve. By focusing on the small, positive choices your teen can make every day, the goal can be broken down into smaller achievements reached along the way.

The first step looks harder than it is. What difference does one step make? All the difference. Nothing will get accomplished without taking that first step. So many people never take that first step—not because it’s too hard, but because it looks too hard. Have your teen think of a time when he thought something was going to be much harder than it actually turned out to be. You certainly will never accomplish your bigger goal if you don’t take the first step.

There are no lucky breaks. Sometimes, it seems people just keep getting lucky. Good things just happen to them. However, success isn’t about luck. It’s about preparation and choices. Just putting yourself in a position to succeed can make a huge difference. For teenagers, that can mean educating themselves and learning from others who have succeeded in a field they are interested in learning more about.

Make the steps as small as you can. Any large task can be broken down into small steps. Achieving small victories on your way to a bigger goal can create momentum, which makes the journey to your goal easier. Help your teen create a plan or schedule for achieving the goal. In SUCCESS for Teens, Desiree Bailey, 19, tells how she did this in her first year of college. Whenever she had several papers due or exams coming up, she knew that breaking up her tasks and working on them a little bit every day made her schoolwork much more manageable.

 The second step is just as important. The first step is critical, but so is the second step. Many people start a task but quit way too soon. Without taking the second step, momentum cannot be created. Teach your teen that she will experience setbacks and some failures. She can either quit or learn from her failures. It’s the same when a baby learns how to walk or a child learns how to hit a baseball. It doesn’t happen on the first, second or third try. It might take months. But it’s a process that involves several small steps to great things. 

Purchase the book SUCCESS for Teens at the SUCCESS Foundation site. 

Sponsored by the SUCCESS Foundation® and adapted from the book SUCCESS for Teens®. For more information and to order the book, go to


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