If you don’t know Judy Zerafa, you should. She is a latter day Napoleon Hill. Several years ago, she got interested in the subject of life success. In order to learn as much as she could, she interviewed 35 Horatio Alger Award Winners, asking them one question:

“What do you think you know that you think no one else knows that has allowed you to succeed to the degree for which you’ve been honored?”

The people she interviewed were a diverse group. Among them were: Hank Aaron and Wayne Gretzky from the world of sports; Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut; Phil Anschutz, a businessman and philanthropist; Tom Brokaw and Ted Turner from media; actors Denzel Washington and Tom Selleck; and Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.

She parsed their responses into what she calls The Seven Keys to Success:

  • A Positive Attitude,
  • Belief in One’s Self,
  • Positive Habits,
  • Wise Choices,
  • Setting and Achieving Goals,
  • Using Creative Imagination,
  • Persistence.

She took these seven principles and developed specific guidelines for applying each of them in daily life, calling it the Go for It! program. Schools and school districts began teaching the seven keys to success and the Go for It! Institute was born.

Judy realized that schools cannot, and should not, do it all when it comes to helping kids succeed. She believes that families play an important role in the development of children. In the introduction to the Go for It! Family Program she says, “The family has always been—and always will be—the cornerstone of society.” She wrote the Go for It! Family Program to help parents apply the seven keys to success in their own lives and to help their children use them to create their own bright futures. I picked up a copy on Amazon.com and really enjoyed reading it.

I’m writing about the Go for It! Family Program in this column because I think it is a win-win. If you get a copy, read it, and apply the ideas within, you’ll be helping yourself create the product-management career success you deserve. You’ll also be able to help your kids get a head start in life.

I call this column “Common Sense.” Every month, I attempt to provide you with some common sense advice that will help you create the product management career success you deserve. When I look at Judy Zerafa’s Seven Keys to Success, I see common sense: be positive, believe in yourself, develop positive habits, make smart choices, set and achieve high goals, use your imagination, be persistent.

If you apply these ideas in your life and career, you’ll succeed. If you help your kids learn and apply them, you’ll be giving them a leg up on success. Judy’s book is well organized. She discusses each of the seven keys in a separate chapter. Then she provides an anecdote that illustrates each key. She follows this up with suggested family activities for each key.

I like this approach. Judy notes that the seven keys can seem like platitudes. Have you ever had anybody suggest that you should have a bad attitude? I bet not. So she does her best to provide readers with specific ideas on how to apply each key in their daily lives. In other words, this book tells you not only what to do, but how to do it.

And, as I’ve mentioned, I really like the dual focus of the Go for It! Family Program. You can apply the ideas to help you build your career success. You can help your kids apply the ideas to give them a solid start on their road to success. You might even learn a few things from your kids along the way. Kids do have a habit of pointing out the truth.

So do yourself and your kids a favor. Pick up a copy of the Go for It! Family Program. Read it, apply the ideas within and you’ll be turbocharging your life and career and jumpstarting your kids’ success.

  • Bud Bilanich

    Bud Bilanich, The Common Sense Guy, is a success coach, motivational speaker, author and blogger. He is a faculty member at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver where he teaches courses in Organizational Dynamics and Human Capital Management. Bud has written five books on career and life success, which are the basis of his Common Sense Success System.

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