Sign up to be notified of new posts and comments.

Successful Actions and the Standard Operations Procedure Manual

Debra Redalia

One of the people in the world that I most admire is chef and restaurateur Robert Irvine.

I love watching him on his Food Network TV show Restaurant: Impossible because he takes failing restaurants and in a weekend turns them around and puts them on the road to success. After his whirlwind visit, it’s up to the restaurant owners to continue the successful actions Robert has taught them and established. When they do, the restaurants go on to thrive, when they don’t, their restaurants continue to fail and eventually die.

What interests me about this show is not the restaurant, it’s the turnaround from failure to success. Because the same steps Robert takes to rescue restaurants can also be used to turn around any failing enterprise.

What we need now is “Planet: Impossible.” It’s clear that the actions of industrial society are leading to failure in many directions. We need to turn things around and operate on successful actions.

Successful Actions

For many years, Larry and I have been operating on the concept of “successful action,” that is, taking actions that successfully give us the result we want. The opposite is to take random actions, hope for success and end up with a random result that may or may not lead to our desired outcome.

When you figure out that an action is successful and you know you can do it over and over, then you have confidence that your actions will lead to success.

On Restaurant Impossible, one of the successful actions is to prepare food that customers will love and want to come back and eat again. Most of the restaurants have food that is not good. Robert comes in and creates delicious unique dishes that go with the theme of the restaurant. Knock your socks off good plates of food. And the recipes are written down so these successful dishes can be made over and over again, consistently.

Likewise, Larry and I have actions we know are successful that we do over and over again. This may sound trivial but one of our successful actions is that I prepare all the food for both of us. By doing so, we both get to eat food that is delicious and healthy. It’s my role to feed us because if Larry prepared all the food, we would “only eat random stuff, sometimes,” he says. I have the skill and knowledge to do this and so it’s a successful action for me to do it.

On the flip side, Larry takes out all the garbage. He takes the food scraps to the compost pile that his brother loves to maintain. He takes the recyclables to the recycling bin. He takes whatever is left to the garbage can.

Between us, we get fed and the garbage gets taken out, each task done by the person most suited to do it—the one most skilled and who enjoys it and who is willing to take responsibility for it.

We’ve actually worked out successful actions for most aspects of our lives. Any problems we have are clues that we haven’t worked out the successful action or are simply not doing what we know to be successful. Our response, then, is to work out the successful action or restore past successful actions that have fallen out.

It’s a simple process to work out a successful action:

  1. Identify the end result that you want.
  2. Figure out the steps that would successfully lead to that result.
  3. Do those steps and see if those steps produce the result.
  4. Tweak the steps to get the optimum result.
  5. Write it down so you can repeat it and correct future errors.
  6. Repeat the successful action to continue having successful results.

Another direction from which you can approach this is to start with a failed action, one that doesn’t work:

  1. Start with an action that isn’t working.
  2. Figure out the steps that are currently being done that don’t work.
  3. Work out new steps and see if those steps produce the successful result.
  4. Tweak the steps to get the optimum result.
  5. Write it down so you can repeat it and correct future errors.
  6. Repeat the successful action to continue having successful results.

In this same way, with our websites of The Lifely Group we are working out—one by one—the successful actions that lead to sustaining life on planet Earth.

There is a popular formula for success that goes goal+plan+action=success. But just any action is not sufficient. For success to be the end result, you must know and take a successful action that leads to the outcome you want.

When we can identify our actions, determine their success, and correct them until they produce our desired result, we are in control of our lives and produce the results.

I am starting now to take a closer look at my life, find my unsuccessful actions, and correct them. When I do _____, _____ is the result. Is that the result I want?

The Standard Operating Procedure Manual

A couple of nights ago I was lying in bed watching an episode of Restaurant: Impossible I had recorded earlier.

In this episode, one of the unsuccessful actions that was going on was that the owner was trying to correct workers by getting angry at them.

Robert asked why her was yelling at them.

The owner said, “Because I have asked them umpteen times to do something and they don’t do it!”

And Robert replied, “Do you have a Standard Operating Procedures Manual?”


I practically jumped out of bed.

A Standard Operating Procedures Manual???!!??

I had heard the term before but I don’t come from a business or military background, as Robert does. I’ve been a one-person business and a consultant all my life, so I have no experience getting a group of people operating on the same page.

But the concept had arisen in me naturally that any group needs basic ground rules of operation, like civil laws and social manners.

The problem is, we don’t have such “standard operating procedures” for living on Earth. The guiding principles exist in Nature and are followed by all other species, but our species hasn’t been listening.

Now that I know there is such a thing as a Standard Operating Procedure Manual I can see that is exactly what Larry and I have been working on writing with our websites of The Lifely Group. We’re writing the Standard Operating Procedures Manual for Planet Earth. And now that we know that is what we are doing, we can do a better job of it and do it more efficiently and effectively.

For me, having a Standard Operating Procedures Manual gives a framework and guidelines for any endeavor, from one’s own personal life to family, friend, and community relationships, to government, to ecosystems. It gives the opportunity to examine what are the possible successful actions for material and social interactions and create one’s own manual to practice and follow.

Larry and I are going to be working on creating this as a structure for our Lifely activities as well as our personal life and our relationship. So you’ll be seeing more about this as we move forward.

If you would like to create your own Standard Operating Procedures Manual for any part of your life, and fill it with your own successful action, here’s a free resource I’m exploring:
Creating A Standard Operating Procedures Manual: An Essential Business Tool for Every Office

Welcome to Lifely!

Quite simply, this blog is about orienting ourselves and our lives to Life, instead of orienting ourselves and our lives to industrial consumerism. Here we are sharing our own journey. You come too. Read more...

Debra & Larry Redalia
lifepartners + soulmates

For more than 30 years we have been delving into the nature and activities of life together. Indeed, this has been and continues to be the very reason we are together. With delight, we research, explore, observe, and even wake each other up in the middle of the night to discuss how life functions and how we can function as life—even while living in the modern world. We each are different from the norm, but we are different in the same way, so we have been able to think outside of the ordinary together and find the extraordinary workings of life.

Read more about us…
Read more about Debra…
Read more about Larry…