The Three D’s to Success in Business and Life

As an executive and business coach, Shirley Dalton encourages her clients to “take massive action” toward creating their ideal lifestyle. What might that mean for you?  

Shirley suggests “Three D’s” as a guiding framework: Decide, Declare, and Do.  

She clarifies, “Massive action can just be a decision. On my 29th birthday in 1981, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 67. Returning home livid after seeing doctors who gave her a prognosis of two years to live, she declared, ‘No bloody doctor is going to tell me how long I’ve got. I’ll be here until I’m 80!

At that time, there wasn’t a cure for cancer. My mother was one of the first people to participate in a worldwide Herceptin drug trial. That drug kept her alive. She went to chemo every week for 14 years and died in December 2004, three weeks before she would have turned 81.

In contrast, [my husband] Ross’s father had Mesothelioma. His prognosis was the same as my mother’s, and he died almost exactly at two years.

Decide, declare, and do. Shirley describes these sequential actions as generating the energy and vibration that lead to success, as long as they are rooted in your values

She shares, “I was living 12 hours away from where I grew up [in Brisbane, Queensland] during another stage when my mom had health issues. She had Edema in her arm and was hospitalized. Ross and I made the 12 hour trip to the hospital in Newcastle, New South Wales, spent the weekend with my parents, and drove back, [after which] I decided, I’m going home. I’m an only child.

After moving back to Newcastle in 2000, Shirley noticed a small ad in a local newspaper for a national franchise manager in the tutoring industry, with Kip McGrath Education Centers. “I had the experience and qualifications they needed. I read the ad, tapped it on the table, looked at Ross and said, “I’m having that job.

Starting at a salary of 40K, she achieved a goal that she had set at a conference earlier that year, that of doubling her income and finding a mentor. The franchise owner Kip offered her three years of management training if she stayed for five years, increasing her salary to 100k three years after her hire.

Shirley elaborates, “I had a three year plan. My first [learning goal] was to be able to say “no.” Every six months it was like putting on a different jacket that didn’t fit and that got comfortable. [I went through a series of] constant stretches for three years, after which I became the Chief Operating Officer.

During her six-year run with the franchise organization, Shirley helped Kip to streamline the company and oversaw the franchises as they multiplied from 200 to over 600 worldwide. Although she moved on to create her own systemizing business (initiated through the request of a girlfriend entrepreneur who asked Shirley to document her procedures), Shirley states, “There isn’t a day that passes when I don’t quote something that I learned from Kip.

What’s the massive action that you are called to take? According to Shirley, “It’s in the doing that we take massive action. Massive action doesn’t mean that you have to throw yourself off a cliff, but [rather] put yourself in your growth zone,” like Shirley registering for a speak-off [speaking competition] that she intends to win. As she says, “it only took two strokes for me to get out of my comfort zone into a growth zone, signing up and paying the fee. That was my massive action.

If you find that you are not getting past “decide” and “declare,” to “doing,” Shirley offers a technique from the work of Florida-based hypnotherapist Rene Brent, whom she interviewed on “Reclaim Your Freedom” [her Internet radio show]. “Write down your goals and place the word “but” at the end of them. See what comes up. That’s how you’ll surface the false beliefs [that are confining you to your comfort zone even though you are motivated to grow]

Shirley urges, “Get inspiration to take the action. Massive action is in the movement that you take toward your goal, so your task this week is to decide, declare and do. Take that massive action, whatever it is for you!”

Shirley Dalton’s expertise includes strategic planning and people development for businesses. She is a two time best selling author, professional speaker, and TV and radio talk show host. You can download a complimentary copy of her coffee table book, “Weekly Thoughts,” by subscribing to her on-line community at