Everton won. Last week, one of my clients and I succeeded in getting our site listed on Google News (I know; you know; but in their infinite ‘wisdom’, this represented A Big Thing). I finally created a logo worthy of my big ambitions for the non-profit I’ve been crafting on the side for a while seemingly longer than eternity.

Beautiful days, and high on a riotous seven of the devils I duly decided to figure out what the hell it we each define as ‘successful’.

What is it, this success they talk of? Does it depend on the weather, on the individual, on a strange series of events that largely passes us by and only on occasions directly influences what our conscious implies, and how we do it?

Some of the greatest achievements in life have been largely out of my control. You know when you feel completely lethargic and then suddenly a call comes in, or an email plink-plonks on to your desktop, and turns everything around?

Those are the things that your subconscious has been urging in your direction all along, but your mind’s focus was simply outwitted. You’ve laid the groundwork, put in an excessive amount of time to ensure the victory of a project, and then all of a sudden the fruits of your labour come home to roost.

It all comes back to realising how monumental your contribution to the world actually is. To be belittled by nothing, to rejoice in your awe. Because you – you – are amazing. Every day you do a dozen things that completely rock. Every hour a legacy of profound proportions pops out of your cerebral cortex and changes someone’s life.

You, my friend, have all it takes to be incredibly regarded. So why don’t you give yourself the credit you’re due?

Right here and right now, I want to share for you my personal insights into the basics of success. By happy accident, thanks to the laws of the universe and a subliminal ‘yay’ for hitting this magic number, there are 10 of them.

After you’ve hungrily devoured every one, I want you to share your markers of success with us at Inspired. Don’t be frightened: this is your first step on the road to being stunning, in your own eyes…

Inspiration

Having the opportunity to widen your horizons, gain access to new ways of thinking, is everything to you. And so it should be – it’s the lifeblood of any creative achievement. Inspiration takes myriad forms: only the other day I joined a ‘virtual book club’ where we all listened to a smashing title from Audible.com and then discussed it at length over Skype with a very real glass of wine in hand. Stunning. open-the-mind stuff. Today I had half a dozen great ideas for future blog posts while watching my beloved Everton turn Bolton over in the English Premier League. Preparing for a Mastermind Group instead of some ruthlessly dull coding tapped an inner well of logic I’d never even knew existed. Sometimes walking works equally well: fresh air is the saviour of the terminally lethargic. What I’m saying is this: in the most unlikely, sometimes ordinary, of places, hides a divine force so mighty that it can change your world completely. Its alibi is inspiration.

Authority

There’s a segue from inspiration to here. With enough creative thinking you’ll quickly gain the ground to become a respected raconteur or frantically followed father of your niche. To become a thought leader takes enormous commitment and wild hours of practice, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dull. With your mind on the job and heart in the subject, you can become a master of your sphere in months. Just make sure to commit some time to it daily and you’ll be where you want to be, and more, more quickly than you could ever believe. Just take Website In A Weekend’s recent post on CommentLuv for WordPress; at the time of asking, 133 comments and counting. That’s a great barometer of progress in an expertise-building context. People want to be around you; you develop a community without even trying. Which brings me on to…

Niche

The most difficult element of all. But it’s also the simplest. When I began blogging in the first place, I was all over the place. No focus. Ford would have had a fit. Second time round I obsessed about being so specific I would quickly start to lose what limited grip I had on reality. A nerd, if you will. The secret is in finding a happy medium that pleases both you and your audience. But then again, it all reverts to definition of success. If you want to blog for fun, then do anything you want. Anything! But if you want to reach an audience exceeding 1, you need to live vicariously through your readers. See what they see, feel what they feel (who knows what their wives will say) and hang where they hang (unless you’re targeting Jesus). There are some very big issues out there. If you find one that tallies with your passions, there are dozens of reasons why you should stick to this and give your own take on the situation as a ‘pillar post’ (an article that defines, and sits right at the heart of, your blog).

Quality

Unless you’re this author don’t churn, don’t blog relentlessly, and don’t create turgid posts for the sake of it. Anyone anywhere would prefer great, invigorating and exciting content than a crap shoot. Use the smile strategy: will my wonderful blogfriends be delirious with joy at least once during the reading of this article? Win a Ferrari! If not, why are you writing it?

Consistency

Set a frequency and stick to it. If you have the strength and your efforts the potency, do it as often as possible, but never let yourself or your reader down because they’ll know. They just know when it isn’t working out, aside from their RSS readers being gloriously unfull and their minds craving caress from your finely-crafted character marathons. If you don’t have the time write a monthly post that will kill with its deadly relevancy and smart thinking. In fact, build a brand around your busy lifestyle. Chances are you’ll create an aura of respectability around you simply by showing your readers your devotion in spite of you having to sweep the floor with a broom up your arse.

PPPI

You might remember this from a long-ago post if you’ve been bothered enough to have messed around here in the past. It’s Passion, Pride, Patience and Integrity (or thereabouts) and it’s the beating pulp of flesh and sinew that provides kinesis to your blog’s body. Long to write about your devotion to x? Fabulously delighted to be involved in y? Tenacity coursing through your bits and pieces like F1 cars through the tunnel at Circuit de Monaco? Want to be as honest and open about your business as an accountant? You’ve got PPPI. Go to the top of the class and the apple is yours for the taking.

Friendship

While I consummately detest the concept of selling products consisting of more hot air than a rising balloon, there are some blog-related membership services doing the rounds right now that are wrapped around the idea that building friendship with your readers is the holy grail. These are – apart from being an utter rip-off since they’re not free – based on sound principles. Johnny B Truant was right when he said that it’s all about having a relationship with the people you write for. Not individually, amorously, or financially: but a good old fashioned bit of banter, empathy and care. Do it – you can’t go wrong.

Mentoring

Sharing knowledge that takes us closer to achieving a common goal is something that can never be underestimated – in power or value. If you’ve got to point 8, which is this one (I understand mathematicians aren’t hot on my trail so such signposting is all helpful, I would imagine), then you’re ripe to be sharing your genius with others. Giving Back is a priority theme of my 2010 Me Manifesto and I urge it to be one of yours.

Value

If everything else slips by the wayside, ensure – always – that you’re providing value. Go the extra mile to give stuff away for which others would expect payment. Knock out some amazing judgement calls that in your experience have moved mountains. Bring to the world your experiences and results. Seriously: that’s all it takes. Get your philosophies and strategies out there and you’ll be stunned how often people have never even considered what you consider may be a routine and mandatory process to success. The simplest things are often the most impressive. What are 10 things you do that, when you discovered them, made you go ‘wow’ – or at the very least, helped you see things from a different point of view? Another useful takeaway: because I spent most of my time online, I figure everyone knows all about social networking. They don’t - there are perfectly normal people out there who, yeaow, haven’t even registered at twitter.com yet! So test the water and keep on adding stuff til they pop overfortified with your inspirational ideas.

Happiness

And this is ultimately what it’s all about. Success begins and ends here. It’s a long street with many crossroads, but if you can keep your eye on what’s truly the most important to you – and follow your heart – then you’ll stay on the straight and narrow.

What are your strategies for success? Share yours, savour others.

To your success!