One of the most common challenges we face when we are work towards success lies in our inability to have ‘real expectations’.

Most often we while we put our brains and brawn together to work things out, we hope to have things our way. We expect that our efforts will be rewarded and doors will open when we knock.

Reality however has its way of bring us back to ground. Anyone who has attempted anything worth while will tell you how many stumbling blocks come in the way.


Here are some facts that will show this truth.

Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job as an anchor in Baltimore.

Steven Spielberg was rejected TWICE by the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.

A newspaper editor once told Walt Disney early in his career that he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.

Elvis Presley was actually fired after his first stage performance and told he better got back to being a truck driver.

Henry Ford had failed early businesses and was left broke five times before founding the Ford Motor Co.

Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb


Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, a cricketer lost one eye in an accident but bounced back to play again…with one eye.

Gandhi, a barrister, was not adept at cross-questioning witnesses so took to drafting litigation letters before moving to South Africa….and soon made history.

After super success, Amitabh Bachchan became bankrupt at age 57 but bounced back and repaid his debt of about 90 crores.

In 1991 when Ratan Tata took over the Tata Group he faced serious internal tussles and two companies faced bankruptcy. From there he steered the Group to great heights through the new millenium.

And lastly….
Narendra Modi faced a lot of opposition from his own party when he became Gujarat CM due to his perceived lack of experience. However, he has risen to the post of the country’s Prime Minister today

So expect obstacles and view them just as obstacles – a temporary halt – and not the GRAND FINALE !!!



…thus spoke Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, and pretty right he sure was!

While looking at the big picture it is quite possible to forget the very many little things that make up the entire canvas.

Success comes one step at a time, often one pebble at a time.

Look out for the things that lead up to the event or task.  For example, if you are organising an event, say a birthday party, first sit down and draw up a list. Put down on paper, visualising the birthday party from start to finish and  more importantly write down the sequence, participants, components or things  needed and just about anything you see in your mind’s picture.

Spend some time on this activity so that you do  not rush through . This would in fact form the blueprint of your plan.

So here’s what you do:

You must ‘watch’ this party like a movie in your mind and put down all the elements, then pull back and take a look at your points. Start listing down under different heads e.g. who was at the party, how did they get there?, were they invited over mail , phone or through a traditional invite, did they wear a dress ( as per the theme), what was the decor like, were there balloons, festoons?, how did the cake look, what did the DJ console look like, what music was played, what games were played, how was the food, the lighting and decor etc., etc.

Once you get through this exercise in ‘detail’, you draw up a list and revisit this list as you progress in your organising.

This method is called the ‘Visualisation’ method and is useful in planning and organising just about anything.

The ‘Masters’  also called it the ‘Creative’ method, in that, you actually create the scenario to be played out later in reality.

So, remember, whatever you are doing, get into the details, the nitty-gritty, and be well prepared.

Often, success comes with a one time, limited offer and you ought to be prepared right down to the brass-tacks to avoid losing out!



Another important rule for success is to know the importance of ‘baby steps‘.

Just as  a baby first learns to sit, then stand, then crawl and then walk before he runs, the law of nature determines that we follow a progression.

A tree does not grow right out instantly from a seed. Remember your botanical lessons – a seed sprouts, then grows roots down and stem up and slowly brings forth leaves, buds, flowers, branches and trunk etc., etc.

How does this apply to us?

In whatever you do, take care of the small stuff and the larger things will be taken care of.

Begin with starting small. Just remember to dream big though!


Take care of the nitty-gritties- the accounts, the purchases, the bills, the basics and move ahead.

What would happen if you ploughed in a lot of money ( even taking a loan) and invested in a huge factory, installing machines, hiring labour and purchasing materials- but have not first delivered even a small sample? You would become a laughing stock.

So baby steps are a must. Make a prototype or sample, get your first client, produce or create a high quality, small number offering, sell it, try to break even to begin with and the day you get a profit, plough that profit back into the business as your investment.

So get ready to fly, but only after your ‘baby steps’.




When we decide to begin something new, quite often we find ourselves making a list of what we need to get. That usually means we focus on stuff we need, to start, instead of using what we have at the moment.

Ground Zero – is the best place to begin.

What we are, where we are, what we have- these three key points make for a great beginning.

Yes, there will always be stuff we need to get, to scale up and to grow, but each of us definitely has some great stuff we can use immediately.

Imagine a farmer dreaming of a great produce. He may think he has to have good fertile land ( maybe a few acres), seeds, ploughing and reaping mechanisms, fertilizers, irrigation systems etc., etc.

Now if he has to start and say, ”Well, need to get all of this at once or have it in hand before I begin”, then one can only imagine how long it will take him to even take the first step.

Instead if he starts with the one thing he has and goes step by step, all the while seeking and finding opportunities, suppliers, markets and support, don’t you think the likelihood of succeeding quadruples!

This applies in all we do. At no point do we have all that we need to completeour dream but at every moment we have all that we need to begin the dream!

Come on now, see what you’ve got and like a seed, plant it in the field of your dreams and you will find that the path ahead shows up for you to walk on!

– Mara Coelho,



Your aim should be far above and ahead of where you want to reach.

Remember, gravity is alive!  

– Maria Coelho, Chief Consultant, Almar Business Consulting

I remember  my school teacher always asking us students to aim high – her constant refrain in her bid to encourage us Std X students to score a good percentage.

What she said however, i have come to realise, rings true even today.

Truth be told, it applies to each and every aspect of our lives.

Come to think of it, be it your education, career, relationships, marriage, business, nationalism – whatever you can think of.

What does it mean though to ‘aim high’ and have a goal that is ahead?

In school it meant, if  you want to score a 80% , work for a 90%.

At work it meant, if you want to get noticed prepare ahead, anticipate the data required and be ready with it even before the boss asks for it.

In marriage it meant, exceed expectations of the spouse by doing that which is unasked for but subtly desired.

In civil life it meant, be an opinion maker instead of just a follower and naysayer.

And so on and so forth.

Think about it and get going.


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