Are you constantly fighting to achieve, but not quite seeing the success you want? Do you look at your failures and cringe, frustrated and eager to improve, but not sure why you fail? I've been in this situation and have been studying the issue over the last couple of years.

Dr. Henry Cloud, a clinical psychologist and leadership consultant, wrote a book titled Integrity which is one of the best books I've read on the subject. In the first chapter he outlines three key ingredients for success, which I thought I'd share with you since they resonated with my own experiences.

Competence

Successful people are good at what they do. If you're a programmer, be great at it. Study, write code, create side projects. Improve. Same for designers. Design passionately and study to improve.

Connections

Be a person who makes alliances with other people. Not just networking, which is sales oriented and one sided, but real human connections. Befriend and give to people. Build trust and those relationships will improve your life.

Character

This is the kicker. You can have both competence and connections, but if you don't have the character to "not screw it up" you're bound to fail eventually. We've all seen or heard about somebody like this - a person so talented it just hurts to watch them fail over and over. The missing ingredient is character. The ability to act on your promises, fulfill commitments, draw clear relationship boundaries, and keep your word.

This article is really just a tickle - if you'd like to dive deeper, I recommend picking up the book and reading it yourself.