OK – so you want to be successful in life – and why not? Don’t we all. So here are a few tips I have picked up along life’s way:-

Define what you mean by success

We cannot all be a Pop Idol(or whatever) – but someone has to be. So be clear in your mind what success means for you. It maybe something like winning an Oscar – but don’t dismiss the more humble ambitions like being a good mum or dad, friend, neighbour or work mate.

The world only needs a few of the former – but we need millions to do a good job in the practical, everyday nitty-gritty of life.

Be realistic – but also do not sell yourself short

Above all remember we are not just creatures of time – but of eternity. Make certain you take the longer view, not just short term.

Make a plan

If you do not plan to go anywhere, nowhere is where you will end up. Put together a flexible plan, with good milestones to measure progress along the way. Review the plan regularly to check you are on course – and that the plan was itself realistic.

Get and take note of good advice

Why reinvent the wheel? Learn form others’ success and failures – it’s less painful that way.

Get a good teacher, coach, colleague to help you – someone who will support you, encourage you and offer sound advice.

You’ll never make it on your own

We all need friends to support us and encourage us. Teamwork is the road to success. Show appreciation.

But do not be selfish – as you need others – so others need you. Encourage them in their own pursuits.

Stay flexible

Take new opportunities, and alternatives if they present themselves to you. Maybe your plans are not, with hindsight, the best. Be prepared to amend them in the light of experience and changing circumstances.

Learn to handle setbacks

Setbacks are inevitable. Life has them for all of us. They can be an opportunity to re-assess the objectives, goals and methods you are adopting, they can also be tests of resolve, or they can simply be an annoying nuisance. Whatever they are, others have had them and you will to. Perseverance is necessary.

Have fun and celebrate incremental success

Enjoy the journey – not just the destination. Getting there is part of the pleasure.

Celebrating each step of the way, each objective achieved is important – and don’t forget to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped you get so far.

Always remember – life is for giving – not getting

You will not get to your goals without others’ help. But giving is the real secret of success. A life of giving is more fulfilling than a life of getting. People are for eternity – not just time – invest in your long-term future.

Jesus told the story of a successful business man, with an expanding business who had just taken the steps of increasing his business capacity and capability. But that night he died – and left it all behind. The verdict on his life was simple – he was a fool. He left all his gains behind and went bankrupt into the next world.

One day we will all have to give an account of how we have lived our lives. What will heaven’s verdict be upon you life and mine? Let’s ask God’s help to make a good job of our life which in the end will please him.