Cover story in Selling Power, top circulation sales magazine in North America

Noah St. John, an inspirational speaker and the author of Permission to Succeed: Unlocking The Mystery of Success Anorexia (Health Communications, 1999), argues that many people have been misled by the traditional success dogma that offers overly simple answers to complex issues. He says that when he criticizes some of the sacred cows of success literature he often taps into a well spring of disaffection with the strategies that have proven fruitless for many.

“One thing I work hard at,” he says, “is to take the clichés we hear all the time and go underneath them. One is ‘Persistence is the key to success.’Well, what does that mean? Where does persistence come from? What is it? Another one we frequently hear is 'You've got to set your goals.' Well, why is that? And when I get in front of people and say these things they start nodding to themselves saying, 'Yeah, that's what I've been wondering too.'

Relying on these cliches to motivate you is like depending on Snickers bars for nutrition - they give you a lot of energy, but only briefly. That's why people walk out of motivational seminars all pumped up,but pretty soon the system breaks down, and they're left without anything to keep them going for the long hard." what's your purpose? Few would dispute that persistence and goal setting play a role in achieving success, particularly in sales. But instead of focusing on goals and persistence as the primary factors leading to success. Gault suggest beginning at the true source - a sense of purpose.

"People need to be clear about their purpose in life," she says. "Your purpose is what you feel compelled to do or to accomplish, and it's what keeps you on course. It's what gives meaning and direction to your life. So the first step is not to come up with a string of goals, but to clarify your purpose and then get more specific. Everyone should have a personal mission statement. Your goals need to be consistent with that purpose, otherwise you're not going to.