5 Keys To Knowing If You Are On The Ladder Of Opportunity

5 Keys To Knowing If You Are On The Ladder Of Opportunity

“It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the “busy-ness” of life, to work harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it is leaning against the wrong wall……. If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”Stephen R. Covey, Page 98, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Frankly, this is one of the most amazing books I have ever had the privilege to read in my life. Covey didn’t stop there either. He used the same principles to write about teenagers, managers, marriage, etc. It is the type of book that has so much “deep” content, that I find it impossible to only read each page one before turning to the next.


On page 98, Mr. Covey uses the analogy of a ladder, as I outlined above. In the real world, the ladder of opportunity has many rungs. But like any other ladder, you must start at ground level. The strength of those rungs to support your weight is essential to you reaching the next rung. We all know what is at the bottom of the ladder. Let’s see what is at the top:

  1. Recognition
  2. Promotion
  3. Compensation
  4. Responsibility
  5. Fulfillment

Frankly, all of them are meaningless without #5. To have a feeling of fulfillment, we must have accomplished something. We can only accomplish something if we have been given the opportunity. And we can only have the opportunity if we are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. But were we? Did we “settle” for something instead?

On page 101, Mr. Covey states “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things. Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall”.

Some may say it just “fell into my lap”. If this is true for you, you are one of the lucky few who can say that. Some of us were born with a “silver spoon”. However, most of us had to struggle to get where we are. We had to fight and claw. Therefore, we appreciate every moment.

What we learned is that the beauty of a journey is not the destination, it is the journey itself. It is the journey that teaches us the lessons we need to know. The beauty of the journey is being able to stop and smell the roses. Taking that day off when your child has a dance recital or a field trip. Volunteering for that cause. Donating blood or plasma, or both. To enjoy the moment we are living in to its fullest, without fear looming overhead.

Are you sure your ladder is properly placed and that you are following what really matters, not just a paycheck? Your definition of success…do you truly know what it is? If you had to pause before answering these questions, you may want to check and see where your ladder is placed. You may not be in the right opportunity that provides maximum fulfillment.

There is no time like the present to ensure that the path you are on is the one that brings you the most benefit. If you are like me, that benefit may be intangible. Remember, the dollars we earn in this world stay here; we cannot take them with us. The only thing we can take with us is our good deeds. The most valuable possession each of us have is the one thing money cannot buy……time.

Christopher Gould – President

Gould Design, Inc.

2 thoughts on “5 Keys To Knowing If You Are On The Ladder Of Opportunity

  1. What would you suggest if you are 56 years old with a non-compete agreement in your field of 30 years experience and have none of the above in place?