Take the Stairs: Seven Steps to Achieving True Success

Posted By Timothy Burns on Jan 24, 2017 |

by: Rory Vaden, TarcherPerigee, December 31, 2012.

Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden is an energetic look at the mindset that creates sustainable success. In some Christian circles, I often hear the mantra, “God doesn’t want you to just survive, He wants his children to thrive.” I enjoyed Rory’s book for three reasons:Book reviews by Timothy Burns

  1. He doesn’t use cliches (like the one above), he teaches and tells memorable stories.
  2. The book’s seven steps are clear . . . simple to understand and admittedly harder to apply.
  3. He doesn’t put much of the responsibility in for your success in God’s hands, or make success a matter of the right confession and beliefs. After teaching, inspiring and motivating his readers, his final chapter’s summary is bolted to the only axle that moves the wheels down the road. You and I have to do what we believe.

Rory tells of how he started his journey in professional success with the Southwest Publishing Company. In college, he spent more than one summer in an unfamiliar city, pedaling books from door to door. Growing up in a Big 10 University’s hometown, I remember the Southwest rep who came to my door, convinced my wife and I to purchase educational books for our kids, and then dutifully came back at the end of the summer to deliver our investment. Hardbound educational books are anything but inexpensive, and our rep did an excellent job getting us to open our checkbook.

As Rory describes, his Southwestern experience was much more than selling books. He learned confidence, he had to overcome his fears, inexperience and discouragement. As a result, he was paid well for his efforts, and after college he chose to give back to the company, and began a consulting and training company from the lessons learned walking up strangers’ front steps and ringing the bell.

Rory uses a comparison between stairs and escalators as his book’s chief metaphor. Too many people in our instant, I want it now, digital world, look for and take escalators through life. It may be easier and faster to get up a few floors on an escalator, but real success, according to Rory, is built one step at a time. I agree with Rory’s approach. You and I have to set our minds right, believe the right things, prepare for anything, and then just get to work. Success in marriage, relationships, work or personal goals flows first out of what we believe, then out of what we do. You and I have to do what we believe, and at the end of every day, we have done what we really believe. Our lives become the fruit of what we’ve practiced and completed, over, and over, and over again.

I appreciate that Rory didn’t make it sound easy. At the same time, he made the lessons memorable. My favorite pieces of pithy truth are these:

  • You and I don’t buy success, we only rent it, and we have to pay the rent every day.
  • Taking the stairs eventually becomes a lifestyle, a mindset, but it doesn’t start out there.
  • It’s OK to feel afraid. Feel the fear, and do what you know you need to anyway.
  • When you do the work, the steps needed to move the ball down the field one play at a time, success will follow.

Thanks Rory, for the encouragement I want and the kick in the pants I need.

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