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The 7 Stages to Success and Breakthroughs


Many of us struggle sometimes on the path to self-improvement. Some procrastinate, some fear the outcome so they never finish the learning process, others give up easily. Paul Dorrington has now created a healthy growth-cycle to help others achieve success and breakthroughs.

Paul won the Coaching for a Cause Award at the 2019 International Coaching Awards because he has dedicated his life to helping others through coaching. But, like many others, Paul didn't always know where his passion lies and after struggles in his youth, he decided to change his life completely.

Now, after 27 years of working in the mental health industry as some form of caring professional, Paul put together a growth model for anyone struggling on the path towards breakthrough and success. 

I started my professional life the son of a working-class builder from a family of builders and grew up on a council estate in gang culture.
I left school early and did what was expected of me: work hard, earn money and know my place in a world of educated and successful people who were completely different from me.
But, since 1993, I have committed my life to studying many aspects of mental health, well being and human potential to help people, from all walks of life, build or rebuild their lives and achieve their aspirations beyond adversity.

Why such a radical shift in my life mission and focus?

My teenage and young adult life was destroyed by mental illness and addictions. In complete honesty, my passion and commitment to my education and my career were essential for my survival.
While my friends were partying in Ibiza, I was up all night studying the conceptualisation of psychological health, and disturbance and counselling psychology theory. It wasn’t easy.
As part of my counselling psychology training, I decided to go through my own therapy. 

How could I help other people overcome adversity and build meaningful lives if I wasn’t prepared to do the work on myself?

Fast forward, I am now a professional coach, vocational rehabilitation and mental health recovery specialist and NHS leader.
In addition to winning the International Coaching for a Cause Award for services to the mental health and work and well-being industry, in the same week, I won the NHS Chief Executive Leadership Award.  

What was it that enabled me to achieve these things?

Of course, my core values, passion and desire played a part, but as I look back on my life, I can see it was the permission I gave myself to fail.

It was the acceptance that while working in an industry of high-level academics, I could learn and grow from those around me with an open heart and mind. And more than anything, the permission I gave myself to take imperfect actions and try my best every day, reflecting and learning each step of the way.

With the help of my doctor, therapist, business coach and professional speaking coach, I built up my confidence and experience. Now, I can share my knowledge and skills with large audiences across public, private and corporate organisations while maintaining my NHS lead role and love for my private coaching practice.

While studying as a professional coach, I discovered a book by Dr Carol S. Dweck called Mindset. I was astonished to discover the actions and behaviours that helped me succeed were, in fact, universal and fundamental principles associated with success in business, parenting, teaching, coaching, relationships and life in general.

It's no wonder that it inspired one of the aspects of my REBUILD coaching model.
I used my earlier life studies in counselling psychology models to create a growth review cycle that articulates what I have come to understand as the most important aspects of personal development across the board.

So if any of your clients are on a journey of goal attainment and change, I encourage you to see where they are on their path, and from time to time check in with the betterment cycle. I have found it a great tool for my own coaching toolkit, and I hope it may serve you or those you serve.

The 7 Stages to Success and Breakthroughs through conscious creation 

Stage 1 – Imperfect Actions 

Most people procrastinate when wanting to take new actions out of their comfort zone. The world is littered with unfulfilled potential and great ideas that never come to light.
This is often due to perfectionism or fear of failure Giving yourself permission for imperfect actions from the outset reduces fear and increases creativity. 

Action: Choose a goal, challenge or a task that’s important for you and begin where you are! 

Stage 2 – Yet!

Once you've accepted you are not perfect, acknowledge that you are not there yet. Why? Because it allows a frame of mind that is open to learning and information.
If you think you know it all already, there is no room for new learning, new information and absorbing tools, strategies and skills that can serve you on your journey. 

Action: Continue to take actions towards your goal, challenge or task
... but give yourself permission to grow! Every successful person started somewhere! 

Stage 3 – Review

Congratulate yourself on being brave enough to begin taking action! But understand this, you can't do the same things over and over and expect different results. Review your actions and progress.

Think about:

  • What worked well for you? 
  • What didn't work so well? 
  • What would you gladly leave behind?
  • What are you proud of and want to take with you on your journey of growth and development?

Stage 4 – Learning

Now you are growing and learning from your actions and development, it's time to evolve to a higher level and quantify your creative actions and experiences. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Knowing what I know now from this journey, what have I learned?
  • If I were to teach someone else my learning, what are the key learning points that would give massive value and service?

 Stage 5 – Celebrate 

People are so used to being hard on themselves, especially in traditional perfectionist approaches. To complete this healthy cycle of growth, we must learn to celebrate!
Shifting your attention from self-criticism to growth based reflection and reward is essential to develop new patterns of positive awareness. 


  • Reward yourself with treats 
  • Share your achievements with those you love or appreciate 
  • Take some time for you, pause and feel gratitude. Be present and try to feel good for your achievements 

Stage 6 – Re-evaluate

Now we all have those, 'Ride off into the sunset moments' ... but have you noticed the sun comes up the next day ... and with it, a whole new set of challenges and circumstances?
When the dust settles from your celebrations, time to re-evaluate! 

Ask yourself...

  • What factors or circumstances are impacting on my success?
  • What adaptations would benefit my actions and achievements?
  • What needs to be added or taken away for success in my desired area?

Stage 7 – Elevated Achievement 

You have now learned a cycle of growth and development that will enable your success never before imagined with a traditional perfectionist approach.
If you apply this 7-stage process regularly to your daily life, challenges, and goals, eventually it will become a habit. A habit that becomes instinctual. 

What's the reward for your efforts and hard work? Sustained and repeated ELEVATED ACHIEVEMENT. Enjoy your new skills, learning, and creative life! 


You can read more about Paul and his growth journey in our insightful interview, find it here.

If you would like to find out more about coaching and how it can change your life, just like it changed Paul Dorrington’s and many others’, start by joining us for a free online Introduction to Coaching course. Choose available dates here.