"If you could go out every day to a very large tree and take five swings at it with a very sharp axe, eventually, no matter how large the tree, it will have to come down.
This advice was shared with Jack Canfield when he was in the process of publishing his first Chicken Soup for the Soul book ... the book that quantum leaped his career. Out of this advice, Jack developed the success principle known as The Rule of Five.
Jack recommends thinking about your breakthrough goal or any goal you wish to accomplish, breaking it down to bite sized pieces and commiting to taking five action steps every day toward accomplishing the goal.
Jack also uses the mantra, "Yard by yard, it is hard, but inch by inch, it's a cinch." He also teaches a corresponding success principle and called "The Swiss Cheese Method" where he recommends chunking down large goals into smaller, bite sized pieces that can easily be broken down into specific action steps.
In addition to my work goals, I have a closet project that's been on my mind since winter. I have to walk through the space every single day and it's taking up way too much energy that could be well spent in more productive ways. Basically the upstairs of the cape I live in is "the closet". I have transformed the room at the top of the stairs into a walkin closet as well as the place where everything gets stored. Needless to say, in order to get to the closet part, I have to navigate through tote boxes and laundry baskets full of clean clothes (I don't enjoy folding and putting away laundry!) and other things that end up at the top of the stairs and in that room.
Ordinarily I would spend hours on this project until it was completed. However, the weather has been amazing, my kayak is calling me as is my business development plan that I have to implement before the middle of August. I'm not really up for tackling this project head on. It seems overwhelming, which is exactly why I've been procrastinating on it for so long.
A few days ago, while trying to find something amid the clutter, I decided I've had enough. I set a goal to clean the closet by August 15th. I am using the Rule of Five to accomplish it. Five things a day. Well I revised it a little to energize the effort a bit, after all, I am in summer mode and have more flexibility than during the school year. So I made it a 5 plus 5 and 10 more. 5 articles of clothing folded and put away. 5 articles of clothing hung up. Plus 10 extra minutes a day toward clearing the clutter.
The progress I've already made in just a few days is amazing. Some days I go for a few minutes more past the alarm I've set if I am so inclined, which most days I am, but it's not required. Instead of being overwhelmed, I feel good about accomplishing what I've set out to do. When I go upstairs every morning, I see the progress. My energy has shifted and it feels good!
How can you apply The Rule of Five to your goals? How can you break down your big goals into 5 action steps? Perhaps making 5 phone calls or sending 5 emails or mailing out 5 proposals to advance that business goal? Perhaps doing 5 small things to connect with your kids or your partner throughout the day to support that relationship goal? A step could be a simple phone call, an email, having lunch with a colleague, doing online research, random acts of kindness to help raise your vibration and thus give you more energy to do another 5 things,
Just 5 simple action steps.
The extra added benefit that cannot be underestimated is that when I am in action, cool things begin to happen. It's as if the Universe is conspiring to support me in my efforts by bringing me insights, opportunities, connections and creative ideas. Focused action creates flow and brings forth impulses towards inspired action.
The only action I have left in me righ now is sleep. But before I do that, I will spend a few minutes filling my mind with a vision of my breakthrough goal as that tree, me with the axe and my Rule of Five action list and let my subconscious mind orchestrate the rest as I sleep.
To learn more about the Success Principles, visit
Transition on Purpose