Tag Archives: goal setting

5 Things You Must Focus on to Achieve Your Goals

focus-mattersGoal-setting is an important activity for those who yearn to live an accomplished life. Yet, many people do not set goals and others who do, don’t set them well.

There was a purported study inaccurately attributed to Harvard or Yale about about the impact of setting goals. The ‘study’ concluded that 83% of the population didn’t have identified goals.  It further showed that 14% had goals but only a mere 3% of the population had written theirs down. It went on to say that years later, the 3% with written goals had earned 10 times more than everyone else. (The statistics vary based on whose interpretation of the ‘study’ you read.) As it turns out, that study never happened.

‘Facts’ aside, it reinforces the concept of writing your goals down.

An actual study conducted later by Gail Matthews, PhD at Dominican University revealed 3 important conclusions:

1. Be clear on your goals and write them down.
2. Develop a plan on how you are going to achieve them.
3. Develop an accountability mechanism.

I haven’t conducted a study. However, I have been active in the performance improvement and performance enhancement field for a surprisingly long time (read, “decades”).

Here’s my take on the 5 critical components of what it takes to make magic happen.

1. Have a clear goal
OK, this is a pretty consistent first step across all platforms so I won’t spend a lot of time on it. Yet it is still one many people skip.  Don’t be one of them. ‘Nuf said?

Know where your end destination is, whether its later today or later in life. Pick a specific, measurable ‘what’ you will accomplish and a ‘by when’ it will be done.

2. Know your “Why”
Knowing why you want to achieve the goal is at least as important a motivating factor as knowing what it is you want. Accomplishing goals, especially big, hairy ones, will likely take an inordinate amount of effort. You’ll probably NOT have smooth sailing along the way, so having a deep urge, a deep longing, an important reason to continue in the face of all of the crap on the road is critical.

3. Feel your success
Imagine how you’ll feel once your end goal is reached. Will you feel fulfilled, safe, secure, happy, proud, satisfied, excited, peaceful, powerful, confident? What ever the emotion, start ‘practicing’ feeling it NOW, even before you have the ‘thing’. Don’t wait until you get there, feeling that ‘future’ emotion now will make life more enjoyable, help support your motivation factor and actually help draw in the resources, ideas and connections to help you get there.

Time will pass more easily if you’re not waiting for the future to feel good. Be that feeling now.

4. Think about how you’ll make it happen
I was listening to Brian Tracy speak at the Arizona Chapter of the National Speakers Association earlier this month. He had conducted a study of high achievers. He said there were two factors that distinguished top performers from everyone else.  First, they had big, clear goals. And, secondly, they thought constantly about how they could achieve them.

I would veer away from the idea of constantly thinking about ‘how’.  I would say, constantly focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘feeling’, but allow for the creative process, for divine intervention, coincidence, providence, unexpected inspirations to light the path forward for you.

5. Be happy now
This is related, but slightly different that point 3. The tip here is to focus on things that RIGHT NOW are going well: things your grateful for, things you’re happy about TODAY.

I was listening to Marshall Sylver, host of the Million Dollar Television Network. He was also talking about focus and achieving goals.  He said  “You get what you focus on.” So instead of focusing on all of your problems, focus on what you want more of in your life.

Pharrel Williams also was definitely on to something with his inspired song, Happy. The words, energy and message resonated with people around the world. The song extols the virtues of being happy.

In one verse, he describes the feeling of letting things roll off his back. “…Here come bad news, talkin’ this and that. Give me all you got, don’t hold it back. I  should probably warn you, I’ll be just fine. No offense to you, don’t waste your time. Because I’m happy!”

So, to quote another song from way back, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” Focus on what matters. Your goals, your dreams, your happy, grateful, positive feelings and what you want are what really matters.

5 Secrets for Making Time Work for You

What are you doing with your time? If you’re like many people, your days rush by you leaving you exhausted or exhilarated and frustrated or ecstatic. Maybe some days, you feel all four of those emotions.

What is the key to keeping the pendulum hovering over the exhilarated and ecstatic positions?  Focus.

Knowing what to focus on though, can present a real challenge for some. Stephen B. Covey provided invaluable guidance in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. But that was published in 1989 before many people had email.  Mark Zuckerberg was just 5. The internet was the bastion of academic universities and world wide web was still in its infancy.

So how do we profit from time today?

1. Set long- and short-term goals
When you know where you’re headed, the pathway becomes more clear. When the path is clear, the correct daily actions along the path are more easy to discern. Without direction, any action keeps you busy but won’t necessarily get you anywhere you truly want to be.

2. Do something everyday that scares you
Miracles happen outside our comfort zone. Our routines and habits keeps us ‘safe’, in the mind’s eye at least. Unfamiliar activities are seen as dangerous and a threat to our survival. Yet, no true progress is made if you keep doing the same thing over and over again. My husband makes the distinction between people who have 20 years of experience vs 1 year of experience repeated 20 times. One person is more likely an expert; the other, not so much.

3. Track your time
It’s a tedious practice but can yield frightening results that will motivate you to make changes. Pick, in advance, 2 – 3 ‘typical’ days in your upcoming week. Every 15 minutes, make a brief note about what you did with the previous 15 minute time frame. Review your activities after 2 – 3 days and notice which ‘rabbit holes’ sucked up your valuable time. Make a vow to yourself to avert time wasters and energy drainers. Delegate. Negotiate. Procrastinate (on those things that aren’t worthy of your time and talents).

4. Clump like tasks together
If you have a lot of calls to make, do them all at once. Shifting from a phone call to an email to an office visit down the hall to working on a report uses up valuable energy. Allocate time to completing similar tasks during one period. Your mind won’t have to make so many transitions. You’re less likely to get distracted during one of those transitions and will feel more productive once you’re accomplished a list of things rather than the onesy-twosy items you may fall victim to.

5. Set a courageous, unpredictable revenue or salary goal
With this big number in mind, evaluate every task against the value of your time. Ask yourself, “Would a person who makes $’X’ be spending their time on this activity?” Even if you have a job with ‘constrained resources’ available, this is still a valid practice. It will cause you to prioritize your activities in terms of their real value and help you look for other, easier ways to accomplish some of your goals.

Focus is the key. Focus your energy, your time and your talents to accomplishing specific tasks. Put mental blinders on and stay with a task until it (or some predetermined portion of it) is done.

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7 Requirements to Turn a Dream into a Business

One of the things I hear over and over again when I work with my clients is “Wow!” I never thought of that!”

There’s something about the process of talking out loud with another person skilled in thought facilitation that generates insight, creativity and innovation that simply isn’t possible on one’s own.

A recent new client spent an afternoon with me sorting out the ideas in her head about the business she dreamed of launching.

To quote her, “We’re caught in our own heads and world and thoughts. We need an outside agent to pull the ideas out.

As I evaluate what it is I consistently do that evokes the sparking of new ideas that provoke committed and inspired action, I’ve boiled it down to seven things.

1) A proven process
Depending on the client’s goal, one or more of several processes are employed to guide the client toward the desired end result. Whether it’s defining the perfect market, evaluating your readiness for the venture or surveying the competitive landscape, you can’t just have a random, meandering conversation that goes nowhere.

Surely there must be flexibility in the system, but having a definitive track to start on, helps the process flow smoothly.

2) Mirrored thought
Ideas when articulated become more clear. Even faulty thinking is identified more rapidly when expressed out loud.

Often just repeating what someone says makes them come to grips with it’s truth or fallacy.

3) Shared observations and recommendations
Years of experience in banking, technology, marketing and management have generated a practical perspective and literally thousands of opinions :-)  on a variety of topics that can be invaluable to someone who isn’t quite sure how to proceed on their quest. Well-informed counsel can make life easier.

4) Appropriate doubt
“Are you sure about that?”. Another client was about to take action that was fundamentally a good idea, but about to be implemented without appropriate research and advice. Questioning her encouraged her to seek other professional advice that equipped her with the proper strategies and approach to protect her investment in her business.

We are enamored with our own ideas. The intent here is not to rain on anyone’s parade, but to help avoid the pitfalls of certain decisions. By identifying potential risks in advance, plans can be made to minimize them or avert certain situations altogether.

5) Support that evokes commitment
By the same token, we sometimes doubt our abilities. Belief in an idea and the person holding it will go a long way to building their confidence for making it happen. Think about it. When some has believed in you, didn’t you feel you could conquer the world?

6) Action planning
All of the brilliant insights are of little use if not applied in the real world. Goals are accomplished one step at a time. Knowing what those steps are keeps you from procrastinating or wasting time flailing around on non-productive activities.

7) Follow up and follow through
Most people are more likely to get something done if they’ve told someone else they will do a thing. When commitments are made and kept privately, there is too much temptation to let them slip or to replace them with some other activity.

Going public with your goals and reporting on your journey will help ensure that the journey actually happens. Getting support and coaching along the way, empowers the experience of accomplishment.

I believe accountability makes magic happen. When we’re held accountable for making progress on our dreams, it opens the door to a life of purpose, fulfillment and prosperity.” -Loretta Love Huff

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Goal Setting: Why You Have to Know What You’re Looking For

Right before our wedding anniversary, I bought a small gift for my husband. I put it in my office and eagerly awaited the delivery date.

The night before our anniversary, I went to get it to wrap it but couldn’t find it.

Disappointed and anxious, I looked everywhere. On the desk where I thought I’d placed it. In my purse where it might have been if not on the desk. In our bedroom where it shouldn’t have been. In the closet, kitchen, office (again)…everywhere.

No present, present.

Our anniversary came and went. He knew he had a gift coming because we were together when I got it. I had to confess though that it had disappeared somehow, but that I was confident it would turn up. (One of my beliefs about myself is that I find things that I ‘lose’.)

Anyway, about 3 days later, I found it! It leapt out at me from…on the desk! How could it have been there all the while and never have been seen? It’s as though it had a  Harry Potter invisibility cloak on it.

Well, quickly I discovered why it had gone unnoticed.

I had taken it out of the bag it came in and just the tiny gold box that held the gift was ‘visible’.

I wasn’t looking for a tiny gold box. I was looking for a white bag, folded over with a little box inside. A simple distinction, but missing it meant looking high and low for three days!

Three days and it was there the entire time!

My point in telling you this story is to reiterate the importance of setting goals and being really clear what you’re looking for, knowing what the desired end result will be.

If you aren’t clear about what you’re aiming for, you might never notice that it’s happened. You’ll keep searching and whining. And you’ll miss the satisfaction of the celebration you could have had if only you had known precisely what you were seeking.

How to Know If Your Business Loves YOU

There are several prerequisites for having a business that loves you as much as you love being a business owner.

It’s tempting to delude yourself into accepting less than you deserve because you’re so enamored with the concept of being a business owner.

The reality of it can be a much different story.

When we live in a state of delusion, we’ll accept less than we deserve. We put up with and tolerate behavior that is not conducive to our well-being.

So how do you know if your business is being true to you? How do you know if it’s putting you above all else? How do you know if it would take a bullet for you?

“What’s a body to do?”, you ask.

Establish criteria and expectations that will allow you to lead a lifestyle that inspires you.

1. Schedule vacations

Without proper planning, you could end up working throughout the entire year. When you do your business planning (you DO do that don’t you?), decide how much time you want to take off and then block it out on your calendar. You don’t have to know where you’re going to go (although that helps), you just need to commit to when.

2. Work in your sweet spot

Most people go into business because of a passion or area of expertise thinking that’s how they’ll spend most of there time. Then they realize there is so much more that’s required in running a business. When you’re new you may not be able to afford all of the help you need, but before you think you CAN afford it, start outsourcing tasks you hate or aren’t good at. Doing so will actually free you up to be more creative and thus afford you the time to work on things that will generate more sales.

3. Value your time an expertise

You deserve to be paid what you’re worth. Focus on sharing your gifts with others for recompense in addition to the pure joy of it. Don’t undervalue your knowledge and passion. People need your unique perspective and want help from someone who knows more than they do.

4. Work with people you adore

This is definitely one of the big perks of being in business. You get to choose your ideal clients. This is particularly true if you’re in a service business. You target the kind of folk you want to work with. You don’t have to make an ‘offer’ to everyone if you’re not interested. Or, you could add a premium to the price so it feels more palatable to you. I don’t strongly recommend that option. It’s one thing to charge more for work you enjoy less. It seems almost mean to do it for such personal reasons as not liking someone. Just say ‘no’ and move on.

5. It pays you well

I remember talking with a graphic designer 20 years ago when I first started my jewelry design business. I sold hand-crafted earrings and necklaces at Art & Wine festivals in northern California. As we were chatting about my new business (I was very excited), I revealed how much I paid in entrance (booth) fees for the more popular shows. Her reaction was “Oh. I guess you’re happy to just break even.”

I looked at her in dismay. “No”, I said. “I almost always make a substantial profit. And on those occasions when I don’t, I know it’s an aberration and I don’t do that particular show again (unless it was just rained out which was a rare occurrence).

Pristine Beach East Zanzibar
Image via Wikipedia

That jewelry business paid for a 3 1/2 week trip to Tanzania for a safari, a week in Zanzibar and a week in the ‘bush’ with the Masai. It was a great way to start off in the business world. And even today, my pricing reflects the value I provide to my clients not just the minimum to ‘break even’ and cover the bills.

So, if your business loves you, you’ll enjoy your work and your clients. You’ll have time to relax and enjoy live.

You’ll be valued by your clients and you’ll be paid what you’re worth.

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