When Goals Matter – Part Two

I should probably warn you right up front that the process of setting truly achievable goals is serious work. It requires some heavy thinking and a substantial commitment of time. If you’re not at a point in your life where you want to have a measure of control over every aspect of it then maybe this post isn’t for you.

 

If however you want to be the driver of your life then read on, I’m talking to you.

 

A solid goal-setting process begins with the investment of some serious time considering what is important in your life. That might sound easy but here’s the deal, what is important in your life isn’t what you say it is, it is what you show it is.

 

For instance, you might say that losing weight and maintaining a good physical condition is an important goal for you. But if I followed you around for a week would I be able to “see” that in you. I’d have my doubts if I followed you up to the snack counter at the movies for your third popcorn refill. 

 

It’s so much easier to say what’s important than it is to show what’s important. Other people see what is truly important in your life, often before you do. Before you set a single goal you need to understand that it’s your actions that really reflect what’s important in your life. So don’t “think” about what’s important in your life, “watch” yourself and “see” what’s actually important in your life. Better yet, ask your mentor or a close friend what they think is important in your life. That could be a huge eye-opener for you.

 

Once you understand what is important in your life then you’re almost ready to set some true goals.

 

I say almost because there is one other absolutely vital step in the goal setting process that most people completely overlook.

 

Before you can set a true goal you MUST set one or more “stop goals.” These are the things you’ll stop doing in order to start doing something else. Achieving most goals means doing something that you’re not currently doing. That means you’ll take on something new, something which requires some sort of time investment. 

 

Most people set this goal without any consideration of where the time will come from. Unless you’re one of the rare people who sits around wondering how you can burn a few more hours before bedtime, you’re day (and night) is already too busy. Setting a goal which requires more time without the time to achieve it is merely setting a fools goal. 

 

If you have no time to invest in achieving a goal then the goal will not be achieved. Period.

 

One of the biggest, if not the biggest mistake people make in goal setting is not starting by setting stop goals. 

 

So, in my next post we’ll start the goal setting process by discussing stopping those time consuming, low return activities that all of us do without even thinking about them. They are often mindless little things but that doesn’t mean they aren’t incredibly expensive in terms of the time it takes to do them.


Until then start noticing how you use your time and ask yourself what you’re doing that really pays no return. If you could stop doing it without anyone, including yourself, really noticing then maybe you should just stop doing it. Think about it! 

When Goals Matter

So, I’m on the tee box of a fairly long par four hole on a world renowned golf course. I hit a perfect drive, long by my standards and my ball rolls to a spot in the middle of the fairway. It leaves me with an easy shot to the green except that the green is well above me at the top of a sizable incline. I can’t actually see the putting surface but my golf map shows me the size and shape of the green so I decide to go at the middle of the green. I figure that’s my best chance at a par on this challenging hole. 

 

Well my shot felt perfect and I was certain when I reached the top of the hill I would find my ball at least near the center of the green. As I approached the top with great anticipation I saw my ball almost perfectly placed in the absolute center of the green. Another perfect shot!

 

In that same instant I looked for the hole to see how long my putt would be. I looked and looked but to my amazement I simply couldn’t find the hole. My playing partners couldn’t find it either. We couldn’t find it because there was no hole. I was crushed, the rarity of two consecutive good shots was for naught. I couldn’t finish the hole because there was no hole. Whatever happened the rest of the round no longer mattered either, I could not reach my goal of making par on this difficult hole.

 

With the goal gone I quickly lost interest in the remainder of the round. 

 

Or at least I would have if that had actually happened. (The part about the green not having a hole isn’t the only made up part of the story, the part about the two great shots in a row is even more unbelievable, at least for me) 

 

Imagine running a race with no finish line… how far are you willing to run knowing there really isn’t a finish? 

 

Imagine paying big money for front row seats to an NBA Basketball game and once you reach your high priced seats you see that there are no baskets. The players will just be running up and down the floor dribbling and passing the ball but never actually taking a shot. I mean why take a shot when there is nothing to shoot at?

 

You wouldn’t pay money to watch that because there is no outcome….the players work just as hard, it just leads to nothing. I’m betting they would be bored almost as quickly as you.

 

As unlikely as those scenarios may seem the fact is that a majority of people go through their lives playing basketball ball without a basket and they run a race with no finish line. You see, a majority of people, actually a vast majority, have no formal goals in their lives. They have nothing to shoot for, there is no finish line to cross. 

 

As a result they lose interest in whatever it is they are doing pretty quickly. They go through the motions of life without really living. They can tell you what’s important to them but you’ll seldom see it in what they do with their time. 

 

Most people spend on average 40 hours planning a vacation of a week or longer yet invest virtually no time planning the rest of their lives. Goals are the plan for the rest of your life. 

 

If you truly want success, long-term lasting success as defined by you and you alone, then goals matter. 

 

The most successful people in every walk of life have goals and a written plan to achieve them. In my next post we will look at where and how you may want to set goals, real goals, achievable goals, for yourself. 

 

Goals will guide you towards greater success and fulfillment in your life so be sure to catch part two of this post just a few days from now! 

How Much do you Want It?

It’s surprising how many people are willing to accept something less than they claim to want rather then just doing the work required to get it. 

I often hear people saying “it’s” too hard or “it’s” too much work. Truth be told, I’ve even said it myself too often. The fact of the matter is, if you don’t want something enough to really really work for it then you probably don’t want it enough to have it. 

Most people are born pretty ordinary. There are clearly some who are born truly gifted and to whom “things” seem to come easier. Note the word “seem” there because if you’re not that person you really can’t say what challenges they may have overcome in order to use their “gifts.”

Then there are those people who seem to have extraordinary luck or abilities that the ordinary person just doesn’t have. I’ve envied those types from time to time. 

But then I remember the saying: The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just that little “extra.”

Once I remember that then I have no need to be envious anymore. I just need to realize that if someone has something I don’t it is because I’ve settled and they haven’t. They were willing to give that little extra and I wasn’t. 

Fortunately for me, there have been many times where I did decide to put forth that little extra to get what I wanted. It may have been extra effort, extra time, or extra sacrifice but it seems like every time I gave extra I received extra in return. 

That doesn’t make me unusual, it makes me incredibly average. Average people get more when they give more. Admittedly giving the little extra doesn’t always result in extraordinary outcomes but without the little extra you have virtually no chance of long-term success. 

Stop telling yourself that you can’t. Stop telling yourself “it’s” too hard. Nothing is too much work if you really really want to do it. All you need is discipline.

Discipline is simply wanting something tomorrow more than wanting the something you can have more easily today. 

So before you sit down in front of that TV ask yourself “do I really want to watch this show now or would I rather do “something” that helps me have a better tomorrow?” Watching the show is easy, that “something” may not be as enjoyable at the moment. 

If you choose to watch TV then know this: you’ve settled. You can no longer say something is “too hard,” you must say it was “too hard” for you. You made the choice.

There is nothing wrong with making choices that result in having less than others have. Just stop saying that you “would give anything” to have more because you’ve made it plainly obvious that in fact you wouldn’t give anything at all. I know that is pretty harsh but that’s reality. 

It’s the reality that all of us seemingly ordinary people need to know. We can be extraordinary, you can be extraordinary, if you decide you want it enough. You absolutely have the ability, the question is do you have the desire. Your future is up to you. You can have whatever you want or you can have what’s easy, it’s almost impossible to have both.

Write this down and live this in 2017: Successful people have developed the habits of doing the things that less successful people simply didn’t want to do.

Will you begin 2017 by developing the habits that will pay dividends for all your tomorrows? Will you give that little extra to achieve extraordinary results?

You will if you want it enough!

Where Success Comes From

Success comes from commitment. 100% commitment. 

Yoda said it best, there is no try, there is do or do not but there is no try. Committed people don’t try, they do. When they fail they take stock of the causes of the failure, learn what they can, make a new, better plan and try again. 

I’ve often heard that relationships are a 50-50 deal. If you do your part and the other person does their part then it should all work out. That might sound good but when was the last time anything worked out when someone give it a 50% effort. 50% effort doesn’t get it done, it doesn’t get anything done.

Successful relationships require a 100-100 commitment. When both sides of a relationship are 100% committed to it’s success then you have a real chance at success.

It’s like that in every part of life, business, sports, achieving goals, your own health, whatever the case may be anything less than a 100% commitment makes you vulnerable to failure. 

Success comes from commitment, a commitment to do. The best of intentions and the best thought out plans mean nothing without a commitment to take action.

Commitment is not easy so don’t be afraid to ask for help to stay committed. Find someone who cares enough about you to hold you accountable for those things you’ve committed to do… or not to do. Ask them to help you stay on course. This is where a coach or mentor can really help. 

Share your commitments broadly, let lots people know about your commitments. Yes, that adds pressure but the pressure of accountability is one of the keys to success in any area of your life.

One of my favorite analogies for commitment is the breakfast analogy…. If you had bacon and eggs for breakfast this morning than two creatures made that possible. A chicken was interested in your breakfast but a pig was committed to it.

People interested in something are often deterred, people committed to something seldom are. 

Are you merely interested in your success or are you committed to it? 

I Can and You Can Too

Few things in life give me as much pleasure as doing something someone says I can’t do. Now, I’m not talking about breaking rules although I have been known to improve a few rules by doing something outside the guidelines. What I’m talking about is doing something that someone says I don’t have the ability, knowledge, or tenacity to do.

When someone says I can’t my first thought is I can if I decide I can. You can too!

The very first step in the journey to success is deciding that you will succeed…no matter what. Babe Ruth, the great American Baseball player said “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” You may not be the fastest to the finish line but perseverance, the ability to finish what you start is an absolute necessity when seeking success.

Do you know who won the 1968 Olympic Marathon in Mexico City? I don’t know either…but I do know who came in last. John Stephen Akhwari a Tanzanian runner cramped up during the race due to the high altitude of the city. At the 19 kilometer point during the 42 km race, there was jockeying for position between some runners and he was hit. He fell, badly injuring his knee and shoulder. But he continued running, finishing dead last among the 57 competitors who completed the race. The winner of the race finished in 2:20:26. John Stephen Akhwari finished in 3:25:27, when there were only a few thousand people left in the stadium, and the sun had already set. A television crew was sent out from the medal ceremony when word was received that there was one more runner about to finish.

As he finally crossed the finish line a cheer came from the small crowd. When interviewed later and asked why he continued running, he said, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.” In my book John Stephen Akhwari was a huge success that day. Anyone can start something but it takes a successful person to finish it.

When you think to yourself that “I can’t” you make it much less likely that you will. When you say “I can’t” out loud you make it virtually certain that you won’t. 

Some clever person once said “Success comes in cans…failure comes in “can’ts.” That’s almost too clever to write but the fact is, it’s true. Thinking you “can’t” is like giving yourself permission to fail, worse yet, it could even give you permission to not even try. 

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t succeed and never, never, tell that lie to yourself. 

Remember, winning doesn’t always mean coming in first and winning doesn’t always mean performing the best. Sometimes winning just means finishing what you started even when most everyone else believes you can’t. 

 

Negative Voices

Stephen Curry is a professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors. He was recently selected as the 2016 Most Valuable Player of the National Basketball Association (NBA). With his selection he became the first player in NBA history to be selected unanimously for this very prestigious award. 

Most of his fellow professionals were effusive in their praise of his abilities and agreed with his selection for the award.

Most.

One fellow NBA player said that while Curry was unquestionably a great player whether or not he was of MVP caliber was a little more debatable. 

Curry’s response was …. nothing. He did tell one reporter that he had learned long ago to pay no attention to the negative voices all around him. He added that their only goal was to “mess” with his head. You kind of get the feeling that one trait contributing to Curry’s success is that he controls the thoughts that go into his brain.

Friends, colleagues, co-workers, and even family members will sometimes tell you that you cannot succeed. They will say “that” was tried years before and didn’t work. They will say “don’t reinvent the wheel” or “if it ain’t broke don’t fit it,” and even more negative type statements. Some may have your best interests in mind but many, even most, will not.

You need to be very careful when listening to those comments because you may start to believe them if you’re not.

There will always be people who think you can’t succeed but here is an absolute key to your success; make sure you’re never one of them. Do not, never ever, talk negatively about yourself to yourself. Never never never tell yourself that you cannot succeed.

Always, always, always believe in the incredible power of you!

It’s easy to focus on the negative because negativity can seem to be everywhere. It requires discipline to see what’s good. Virtually every problem brings with it an opportunity and successful people find that opportunity. Successful people know that just because something “ain’t broke” doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be broke and rebuilt…. better.

All that matters at the end of the day… well nothing really matters at the end of the day so long as you have another day to do better, to be better, and to appreciate all that you have received, both the bad you’ve learned from and the good you’ve been able to share.

There will always be negative voices trying to mess with your head, make sure you don’t add your own to the noise of negativism. When you control what goes into your brain then you also control what comes out.

Where Success Comes From – Part One

Very successful people aren’t necessary different than less successful people, they just do different things.

Success comes from doing. 

I could leave it at that and this post while very short would still be pretty good. But it’s really not as simple as just doing something to succeed. In order to succeed you must do the right something and you need to do it at the right time. 

Doing something may make you busy but being busy doesn’t make you successful. Doing the right something makes you productive and being productive is very likely to lead to success.

So what are those right “somethings” that successful people do? I’ll share that with you over the course of the this post and the next one. I found the graphic that accompanies these two posts online and I’d give credit to the person who created it if I only knew who it was. While I didn’t create it and despite a few grammatical errors, I think the 12 “somethings” are absolutely spot on. 

Successful people pursue goals. If you walked out of your house in the morning and had no idea where you were going then you would never know when you had arrived. You would never know that you had successfully completed your trip. Working towards success without goals is very much like that. Without goals you’re merely wondering around your day never being certain that what you’re doing will get you where you want to go. Goals, real meaningful, clearly articulated and written goals, are essential in your search for success.

Successful people are productive. They use their goals to plan and organize their day. They know that no matter how busy they may have been if they didn’t do something to get at least a little closer to one of their goals then they were not productive. They don’t fool themselves into thinking a busy day means they accomplished something, they measure their productivity with their goals.

Successful people decide. The have the ability to make decisions and act upon them. They realize that not every decision will be right but they also realize that almost 100% of “non decisions” are wrong. So they get as much information as possible to make their decision, then they act on that decision. Failure to make decisions when a decision is needed will lead directly to failure.

Successful people don’t make emotional decisions. They inform themselves with facts and logic. They seek out advice from those they trust, they use their experience, they use the experience of others, and they are brutality honest with themselves. Successful people know that emotions are temporary and they don’t apply what could be a permanent decision to fast changing circumstances.

Successful people know that good is the enemy of great and that absolute perfection is the enemy of progress. Sometimes they won’t get everything they wanted from their plan but they will move forward anyway. They understand that perfection may yet arrive and it’s okay if it doesn’t come until tomorrow so long as they make progress today.

Successful people embrace the unknown. They are okay with being uncomfortable because they know that comfort hinders growth. They know that in order to succeed they must do things differently than less successful people and that the differences will never stop. Long-term success requires continuous, continuous improvement and they know that all improvement requires change. So change they do!

We’ll finish this two-part post in a few days with the final six “somethings” that successful people do on a regular basis. Until then, do something!