Dr Peggy Marshall

Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success
“Sometimes it’s the smallest decision that can change your life forever.”
-Keri Russell

Dr Peggy

Dr Peggy

I was at an annual sales meeting last week for my company and had the pleasure of hearing Andy Andrews the author of “The Travelers Gift”. He shared with our group the Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success. His seven decisions are actually principles to incorporate into daily living and include: take responsibility; seek wisdom; take action; make decisions; choose to be happy; forgive; and persist without exception.  A quick synopsis of each principle follows.

Take Responsibility

Many authors have discussed the role responsibility plays in our success.  Jack Campbell in “The Success Principles” advises us to take 100% responsibility for what we do.  Sometimes it is difficult to see what is within our control when our lives are out of control.  However, putting this principle to work requires that we only accept a part of what is happening in order to be able to change it.  It is through owning what is ours that we are able to change it.

Seek Wisdom

Andy told our group that we often seek sources of knowledge and education in order to build wisdom.  A risk here in gaining knowledge is that we typically seek out the same people and sources for information.  The challenge is that most of us associate with people like us-people who think like us.  It is extremely difficult to gain a different perspective when we look for others to validate what we already know instead of trying to ensure that we have the very best information available to us to make decisions.  Chip and Dan Heath authors of “Decisive”  call this confirmation bias and encourage us to reach beyond what we already think we know into not only what might be true but what is possible.

Take Action

It’s easy to dream but much more difficult to take actions on those dreams.  What is holding you back?  Marshall Goldsmith in “MOJO” shares that the best indicator of what someone will be doing tomorrow is what that person is doing today.  Inertia keeps us in repeatable patterns.  When these are patterns of success then we absolutely need to continue the repetition.  However when we continue to repeat patterns that do not take us successfully into our future, these same patterns become our prisoners.

Make Decisions-Have A Decided Heart

Before we can take actions, we need to make decisions.  The biggest challenge to decision making is that once the decision is made we have eliminated other options so we hold back.  Overcoming what we perceive as a loss will help us move more quickly into a decided heart.  Additionally knowing what you are truly passionate about and then following that passion will support your decision making process.  Where in your life have you let go of what you are passionate about in order to follow what is comfortable?  Is this the year to follow your passions?

  Choose to be Happy

The concept that happiness is a choice can often be unnerving.  Shawn Achor in “The Happiness Advantage” shares that happiness is not about the belief that we should be happy in all aspects of our lives rather it is about understanding that we have the choice to be happy.  Frequently our happiness is a result of what we are thinking.  Recognizing that we can not only take responsibility for our thoughts but that we can actually change them is a huge step to becoming more happy.  Bryon Katie in “Loving What Is” offers us an exercise to help with this process.  First ask yourself if what you are thinking is really true.  A second “is it true” question highlights the fact that many times we cannot be certain if what we are thinking is absolutely true.  A third question asks us to examine how we are feeling about the thought.  Ending with the question “how would you feel if you didn’t think this thought” challenges us to decide whether we want to continue our way of thinking or shift our thinking.


Andy shared with us that forgiveness is a decision not an emotion. He advised that people don’t have to ask for it or deserve it rather, it is just a gift that is ours to give.  Without extending forgiveness into the transgressions of others, we are left with bitterness about the situation.  Others can pick up on this bitterness-even when it is unspoken-and tend to shy away interacting with people who live in this state.  A big take-away here is to distinguish between forgiveness and trust.  A good friend of mine used to say “release and remember”.  You let go of the past-release-so that you can move into your future.  However, you make a clear decision about where you will place your trust-remember-going forward.

Persist without Exception

Everyday we run into walls that seem to stop us in our tracks.  We are out of time, money or control.  Just experiencing one of these factors can cause us to pause and for many of us-give up.  Andy shared that this is when we have to continue to look for another way.  Successful people continue to explore opportunities when others cannot find a way.  Ideas come in many forms but cannot come in when we are blocked.  Ways to get unblocked include seeking out your most trusted friends for their ideas, putting the issue aside for a few days to gain perspective, or my personal favorite programming your subconscious to work for you while you sleep.  See Jack Canfield’s “The Success Principles” for more information on this topic.

Andy Andrews gave us an amazing gift in distilling his ideas down to seven principles that ensure success with our endeavors.  Hopefully at least one of them will call to you as you make this your best year ever!

To Your Success!

Dr. Peggy