Winning Ways – Use life’s step-stools to success

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Insights for Constructive Living

by Pat Iannuzzi

We likely all have been in situations where we needed to grasp something that literally was just out of our reach. It may have been a burned-out light bulb on a ceiling, a book on a high shelf or an apple on a tree. No matter how much we raised ourselves up on our toes or stretched our arms, we just couldn’t get to it. The problem was often solved by the use of a step-stool that enabled us to raise ourselves just a little bit higher so we could reach the object we wanted.

The principle of using a step-stool also applies in a figurative sense to our everyday aims and aspirations. We all encounter challenges that hinder or obstruct the attainment of our daily goals. As hard as we may try to overcome them, these obstacles can prevent us from achieving what we set out to accomplish. They seem to get in the way of our success by putting our goals just out of reach. What if we had some metaphorical step-stools in these types of situations as well?

The truth is we almost always have them available. Our challenge is to identify them. We have to assess our current situation and decide what kind of symbolic step-stool we actually need. This requires a realistic appraisal of our situation and an honest self-assessment of our capabilities. It may have to do with asking someone with the required expertise to help us; it may be engaging in some personal development to sufficiently prepare ourselves for the challenges we’re facing; or it may be tapping into an inner source of strength and confidence to enable us to persevere in a particularly demanding circumstance.

Unlike a “ladder of success,” which consists of a series of steps that, when taken in a specific sequence, lead to our ultimate objective, a figurative step-stool represents the use of a single unplanned and unanticipated resource to get us through a tough spot in our lives …

None of us live in a vacuum, and we would probably accomplish very little without the support and cooperation of the people we interact with daily. We take a lot of the assistance we receive for granted; however, there is no good reason why we shouldn’t actively seek additional assistance when needed.

While asking for help from others is something some of us may be reluctant to do, it’s important to realize that an effective helping hand at the right time can be just what we need to help get something accomplished. Also, gathering up a little extra personal strength and determination can serve as a powerful step-stool to give us that little lift to see something through.

A physical step-stool doesn’t usually increase our reach an awful lot. It only provides a slight assist, but that slight assist can often give us a tremendous advantage. It can make something very difficult quite easy. The same is true of more symbolic step-stools. They don’t normally require a great deal of effort or commitment on the part of others or ourselves, but they can make all the difference in the world in overcoming a challenge.

Try adjusting your focus each day in order to spot and take advantage of life’s step-stools.

Pat Iannuzzi of Symbiont Performance Group, Inc. is a performance consultant, trainer and coach focusing on selling, presentation and interpersonal skills. He lives in Litchfield and can be reached at 860-283-9963 or


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