The 3 Steps to Success at Anything

Many seek the simple formula for success. That’s true of content marketing, culinary mastery, improving your golf game, and with life in general.

So here it is:

  1. Attempt
  2. Observe
  3. Repeat

At least when it comes to online publishing and marketing, there’s a lot more training and advice available these days, unlike 15 years ago when I attempted and initially failed. But you still might find yourself putting off the attempt, allowing every little nagging issue to keep you from going live.

Here’s the truth. You’ll never be truly ready, because the process doesn’t actually start until you start.

Successful people start before they feel ready. And the only way to absolutely, positively know if your content rocks is to put it out there.

The difference between true failure and just another leg on the journey to success are steps two and three. Pay careful attention to what happens when you try, figure out why, and carry on with a smarter perspective.

But you’ll never get anywhere without step one. Why not get started?

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Reader Comments (24)

  1. says

    Hi Brian,

    I started blogging two years ago for one reason … I wanted to improve my speaking in a little Toastmasters club. I thought writing my thoughts out would make me a more creative speaker. It’s funny how Attempting one little thing can lead to some pretty amazing changes in your life.

    Yes, start before you’re ready and stop the damn dreaming already.

    Just do, then follow Brian Clark’s step one and two. There, I made a rhyme. See I’m now a creative writer 😉

    I had a lot of fun with step 1. Now I’m working away like an eager beaver on 2 and 3.

  2. says

    So simple yet so profound. But getting to (and through) Step 1 is a massive hurdle simply for fear of not being prepared (enough).

    Excellent advice, Brian. Thanks.

  3. says

    Agreed. There is a massive difference between reading/learning about something, and actually DOING it. Only by jumping in the water will you truly learn how to swim, and the longer you stay away from taking that step, the longer your learning process will be.

  4. says

    I love the simplicity of this formula. Specially in the internet age. Attempt, observe, repeat really does crystalize alot of essentials.

    Frankly, the overabundance of information online can be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand all the resources are wonderful for anyone wanting to establish a presence. But then the deluge of info can be overwhelming and actually inhibit progress, since there’s always something new to read, to learn and discover. It can make you think you are never quite ready to venture out.

    Thanks for advice that focuses on simple principles!

    Mark Mulock

  5. says

    Love the short punchy posts Brain.

    I think most people including myself have an epic fail on the very first portion of the cycle ” ATTEMPT”. If you don’t try you will never know what happens next…

    and a follow on to that statement is one of those famous one liners that will go in marketing history lol….

    “Here’s the truth. You’ll never be truly ready, because the process doesn’t actually start until you start ” ~ Brian Clark

  6. says

    As simple as this is, it really is the secret to success. You cannot have success without attempting something in the first place.

  7. says

    This article is a pretty powerful example of why good content isn’t just long… it’s just long enough to make the point as well as possible.

  8. says

    Excellent post Brian.

    I love this: ”successful people start before they feel ready. And the only way to absolutely, positively know if your content rocks is to put it out there.”

    Sometimes, the only thing we need to succeed in business is to take action.


    That’s the watchword.

    Thanks brother

    Daniel, the web content writer

  9. says

    Short but to the point. START – seems simple but for a lot of people different forms of FEAR come up. I know because I had to deal with FEAR when I started my first venture.

    What I have learned is that you can read 100 books and try to learn everything before you start but the fear will still be there. At a certain point you have to take that leap of faith. No one else can do for you. And what you will discover is that you learn more in the first day by doing than by reading a 100 books. And that experience creates a mindshift.

  10. says

    Been using this as guidance as I navigate our new reality (Newtowner). I must post something; and if it’s not right, it will be closer next time. Great advice for work; better advice for life. THANK YOU.

  11. says

    “Brevity,” wrote Shakespeare, “is the soul of wit.”

    So… witty post.

    The emphasis on action, esp. prior to “feeling,” was outstanding and super encouraging.

    “Faith without works is dead.”

    Yeah, and…

    Content without posting is too.

  12. says

    I like it. I’d have to say, though, I’d add one more step in between “Observe” and “Repeat.”


    So many times I’ve seen great concepts hit Point B, but they don’t record what they did to get from Point A. Then you get into the inability to fully explain the process down the road, because time can alter even the more sure of notions.

    If you take the time to record what you’ve observed, not only can you fully explain your actions, but you can go back later and take new things you learned on other projects and see if those ideas could have directed your action on a different course.

  13. says

    Strongly Agree but there is one thing most of the people don’t even attempt for the fear of failing and many of them when attempt and observe dont want to repeat the process and again they fail and then complain which is not fine…

  14. says

    Excellent article. I’ll be committing the formula to memory. It’s amazing that something so desirable – the value of preparation- can also become a negative when you feel unprepared and put off starting. But few things are perfect from the start. Everything is improved through a process of tweaking. This is a lesson I’m learning gradually.

  15. says


    Thanks for the post. Attempt, observe and repeat uses learning from experience. Affiliate marketing and for that matter marketing in general actually relies on these three same steps. Market research helps much like key word research.

    We are lucky that we can change from short to long tail word searches to determine where our market is looking. Really want to nail down these second and third steps with better observation skills. I have figured out I know a lot less than I realize. The truth is this makes the business continually interesting.

    Thanks for your blog – exceptional materials.


  16. says

    Love this post… short, simple, and sweet. When you read other articles on how to become successful, they list so many different steps to the point where it’s overwhelming. And when people feel overwhelmed, they usually stall putting their content out there. When all we really need to do is attempt, observe, and repeat.

    Thanks for sharing Brian!

  17. says

    Hi Brian,

    Thank you so much for your three steps to become successful…………attempting is more important than just dreaming & most of the people forget it while daydreaming..

  18. says


    Three easy to follow steps here. I would say that it’s very important to asses your situation and idea before starting with a) Attempting.

    Simply being that you will run in circles if your ideas aren’t valid. However this is perfect for mastering your tennis, golf and hockey games.

    Thank you.

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