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Setting & Achieving Goals

11 Skills That Will Make You Super Successful

Once you have defined success for yourself your path there will become apparent.

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How does someone become off-the-charts successful? Some say it’s luck. Others say it’s hustle. The truth is, success only comes with a combination of both, as well as a few other ingredients.

Defining success can be tricky because it’s so subjective. Some people want to make a million dollars a year. Others want to make a good living and have three weeks of paid vacation time a year so they can travel. Then there are those with the desire to build something of their own, and still others who want to find ways to make money passively so they can spend more time on their hobbies.

Whatever your definition of success, these 11 skills can help you achieve it faster.

1Stop replaying negative thoughts in your mind

A recent article in The New Yorker reveals that when we remember the past, we do not remember it in the way we think we do. The images that come to mind aren’t like old films being replayed in our heads. In fact, every time we remember something, the memory changes based on the way we remember it.

The more you replay negative thoughts in your mind, the more you are practicing feeling that emotion – which means the more you believe it. Soon you’ll start to believe you aren’t good enough or talented enough, and you’ll never become successful.

The key is to recall memories or mistakes you’ve made in the past, and see them through a lens of learning. Reframe them as moments of growth.

Related: Crucial Skills You Need To Be An Entrepreneur

2Construct a positive environment for yourself

positive environment

So much of success depends on our environment. Rarely do we give this enough credit. Where you work and where you spend the majority of your time has a huge impact on what you accomplish and how you feel about it.

The right environment will help you feel more engaged in and enthusiastic about your work. A negative environment will suck the joy and inspiration out of you.

The same goes for your home, and perhaps even more so because home is where you go to recharge your batteries at the end of the day. Find ways of making your home feel like the retreat it should be. For example, get a little feng shui in your life by clearing the clutter and creating an environment in which you can truly relax and feel comfortable.

3Get clear on your why

As Simon Sinek would say, “Start with Why.” You have to know why you want to do something in order to succeed over the long term. Sometimes the why isn’t immediately obvious, and you have to follow your curiosity in order to find it. That’s okay. But if you’re merely following the money, or are chasing validation or the idea of “being seen as successful,” you’ll never find your why. Those motives simply aren’t sustainable enough.

Your why is your inspiration and your bigger purpose. It’s what drives you, even when everything seems to be falling apart. Sinek tell us that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Identifying your why is key to knowing how to hook your audience or would-be clients and customers.

It takes time to find your why in everything you do. But start looking, and soon it will make itself known.

Related: Entrepreneurial “Skills” For Competitive Advantage

4Listen to your gut, but double-check with your mind

double-check with your mind

Most of the time we know the right answer long before our logical mind does. We can just feel it. That doesn’t mean you should make decisions based solely on your emotions. What it does mean, however, is that you should also give that emotional part of you a say in the matter.

As it turns out, your rational mind also plays into your gut instinct. Your intuition is built on your firsthand experiences. It’s your brain’s ability to project how something will play out based on past experiences and practices.

The best thing you can do is to trust your gut – but then double-check with your logical mind. Run the numbers. Play devil’s advocate. Make sure you’re being rational, but still let intuition drive decisions.

5Visualise your success

Visualisation principles have been proven to work in everything from professional sports to business and beyond. Those at the top of their professions have long been using this technique to help them perform their best. The more clearly you can picture doing something in your mind, the easier it will be to pick up a new skill or instill a new habit.

Visualizing yourself living the life you desire and doing the things you want to be doing is a key to your overall life journey and success. That’s not to say you should spend all your time sitting at home hoping and wishing. It just means you need to hold your vision firmly in your mind’s eye and then go for it!

Related: Business Skills Boost For 12 Start-up Enterprises

6Practice more than you preach

practice

Anyone can talk about success. What’s hard is putting your nose to the grindstone day after day. In order to become successful, you’ll need to master skills worthy of that title in the first place. And you also need to fundamentally believe in what you’re doing.

You need to know your purpose and follow through on your core beliefs and values. After all, nothing will destroy your credibility like a lack of connection between what you say and what you do.

So say what you’re going to do, follow through with it and, above all, believe it.

Keep walking the walk and you’ll achieve your goals while inspiring others to do the same.

7Communicate effectively

Soft skills are often the biggest differentiators between those perennially aspiring to be successful and those who achieve success.

Effective communication is a skill. It’s something that takes practice, and requires that you invest heavily in not only understanding others, but also yourself. You have to be the master of your own ship before you can instruct others on how they should be sailing.

Recognise when you get frustrated, and know how to manage your negative emotions. At the same time, it’s important to understand when it’s appropriate to give constructive feedback and when it’s best to save words for later. Communication is an art, and it takes time to learn how to perform well.

Related: 10 Best Skills To Learn Online Today

8Commit to your goals

goal-setting

Once you make a commitment to yourself, it’s on you to follow through to the end.

There is a difference between being involved in something and being wholly committed to making it happen. To succeed, you must fully invest yourself in your goals and be determined to see them through.

Consider this: if you don’t want to commit to your dreams, someone else will. And nothing is more agonising than watching someone else achieve your dream.

It may take years to fully learn how to commit to something. But learning to commit is key because it is the one skill most easily transferred from goal to goal. If you can prove to yourself that you can be persistent in one domain, chances are that you can be persistent in any area of your choosing.

But you have to do it once, and really see it through to the end, in order to fully understand what it means to commit and accomplish a goal.

9Never stop optimising

Part of the “success process” is continuing to optimise and learning to make the best use of your resources over time.

As soon as you stop trying to improve, you’re no longer working toward success. At best, you will remain stagnant.

The process of developing, constructing and reconstructing is part of a journey that never ends. It’s a skill to be able to constantly look for ways to improve. But just like anything else, the more you practice it, the better you’ll get. Keep testing new strategies and collaborating on different methodologies. Pioneers are those who push the boundaries and carve their own path in life.

10Ask questions, constantly

You should never stop learning. Ever.

We learn by asking questions, not telling people the answers we think we know. Therefore, the more we question, the better answers we get.

Part of becoming successful is taking the time to ask others for guidance. Those people are usually those older than you who have already achieved what you’re looking to accomplish. There is so much value in asking questions. For starters, asking questions makes your brain more open to forming new patterns and considering different possibilities.

The deeper your questions, the wiser you will become. And in the process, you will learn to understand yourself better. That self-knowledge will ultimately give you a sense of peace and happiness.

11End each day in reflection

It’s easy to get stuck on the treadmill of life, running from one thing to the next without considering how everything you do is interconnected. But if you want to have sustained success, you need to make time to reflect at the end of each day.

Setting aside even five minutes to consider what went well and what didn’t will give you an awareness of the issues and flaws that you need to address.

Reflection, whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly or yearly, is a key part of continuing to improve and refine over time.

Without reflection, you might as well have blinders on. Take a step back. See the bigger picture. That will allow you to make more astute decisions about where you want to go.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Deep Patel is a young writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of A Paperboy's Fable: The 11 Principles of Success. In the book, he interviewed 15 industry luminaries including professors, entrepreneurs, CEO’s and General David Petraeus. In addition, Patel has served as script editor and creative consultant for the comedy She Wants Me (2012), produced by Charlie Sheen. He has also been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post,Entrepreneur Magazine and Elite Daily. Patel is currently finishing up his second book, The Gray Veil.

Setting & Achieving Goals

How You Can Turn Those ‘Near Wins’ Into Successes

As a start-up, there’s nothing more devastating than losing a deal you thought was yours, or realising your great idea isn’t the game-changer you thought it was. But there’s an upside to those ‘near misses’ — they’re excellent opportunities to learn from and perfect your offering.

Tumi Menyatswe

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By good fortune, I started my career in a commonly misunderstood and widely overlooked sub-sector within the aviation industry, load control. Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know what that is. In simple terms, load control focuses on the safety of passengers and the weight and balance of an aircraft. The work ensures that the centre of gravity is always within certified limits and structural weight and balance restrictions are never exceeded. A huge responsibility, even for the trained and desensitised.

For most of us hyper-ambitious individuals, when we don’t get to ‘the top’ as per the initial plan, we tend to wonder whether it was even worth it to start our journey. We lose our centre of gravity. Being one of the two selected candidates (after a nationwide search with over 500 applicants) for a world-class management trainee programme and later moving on from that ‘fairly clear path to success’, I’d always felt like I had failed, and dismally.

Let me explain. The programme was aimed exclusively at nurturing new talent within Global Load Control. It was industry-specific, and when I secured such a coveted spot, I felt on top of the world — my path was clear. Except it wasn’t. I realised I wanted a different environment where I could get exposure to working with entrepreneurs, especially because by then I had spent time within the Cape Town start-up ecosystem. I knew exactly why I was moving on, but it still felt like I’d failed.

Here’s the harsh truth: Nearly winning is failure, but that’s okay. We learn from failure. I’ve established my own core values and I’ve dared to speak up and write my own narrative. I’ve learnt to own my purpose. The road hasn’t always been easy, but in hindsight, it’s definitely been worth it.

Creating a compelling need

I have an innate ability to choose industries that aren’t open to changing their status quo. I then intentionally challenge and critique how the systems in those industries have been operating. This means things rarely go my way. It’s the entrepreneurial mindset, whether you’re starting a business or employed, to question everything, and that’s my mantra — I always ask ‘why?’

The problem is that even though I know I have a solution my customers need, because I’m challenging the status quo, they don’t always see things my way.

Related: For Vusi Thembekwayo, Focus Leads To Big Wins

As an entrepreneur, I’ve learnt that understanding the reason behind the multiple ‘not yet’ and ‘nos’ from your ideal first customers is a gift. But in order for you to claim that gift, you have to be committed to the process of understanding your customer’s needs.

Multiple authors and experts will tell you that however good your product or service is, the simple truth is that no one will buy it if they don’t want it or don’t believe they need it. And you won’t be able to persuade anyone that they want or need to buy what you’re offering unless you clearly understand what it is your customers want.

One aspect that isn’t being sufficiently discussed, is the fact that committing to that process is going to be uncomfortable and even painful in some cases. Really digging into your customer’s business to the point that you can offer them a real solution that they need takes confidence, resilience, hard work and sometimes even a thick skin if your customer or prospect pushes back. You need to really believe in your solution — but you also need to be willing to change what isn’t working.

Entrepreneurs are people too, and let’s face it, no parent wants to hear that their baby (or business or business idea) is ugly. Nurturing a positive view of yourself, finding ways of developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience as an entrepreneur. And yes, that means that sometimes you have to face the truth and change what isn’t working in your business. When facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion because that terrible feeling of not winning at first will wear off, eventually.

Stimulation for further achievement and mastery

When we don’t complete projects perfectly, it can feel as though we’ve failed. However, ‘near wins’ are important steps in achieving our long-term goals. Near wins are almost, if not always, more important than actual wins, as they set in motion a constant pursuit of improvement. In her brilliant TED Talk Embrace the Near Win, Sarah Lewis deep dives into the concept of the near win and how it’s instrumental in achieving success.

I, like most people, have experienced my own set of near wins. According to Sarah, that’s okay, because failure is what we experience on the way to mastery. And mastery is ultimately more important than success. Sarah defines success as a single moment. Something that comes and goes and is a byproduct of effort. However, what she calls mastery, is the act of working towards something. A system for continuing to set and reach for goals. As I’ve personally learnt, being engaged in that system is a crucial element in mastering your goal. Purposeful efforts make life interesting.

Stay on your own leading edge

More will always be required of you. That’s a fact. Recovering from failure requires sufficient strength and an ability to support your sense of well-being while managing the stresses brought about by failure.

The trick is learning the art of bouncing back. The term most often used is resilience. The Road to Resilience, a publication of the American Psychological Association and the Discovery Health Channel, offers a useful definition. “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress — like family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. Find ways that are likely to work well for YOU as part of YOUR own personal strategy for fostering resilience and overcoming failure. Along pathways to success and mastery, entrepreneurs, change agents and leaders alike will find adversity, doubt, and near wins. How you manage those is what matters, so learn and adjust where necessary.”

Related: 3 Personality Traits You Need For Success: Grit, Determination And The Will To Succeed

One last thing I would like to stress is learning to cope with who you are as a person. Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. I know it’s a cliché but it’s also essential to your overall well-being and success. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience. Protect your peace because you can’t possibly function in chaos. Remember this, the dark moments that will come will also pass, so focus on getting that shine on. Cheers to celebrating your next near win.

As an entrepreneur, I’ve learnt that understanding the reason behind the multiple ‘not yet’ and ‘nos’ from your ideal first customers is a gift. But in order for you to claim that gift, you have to be committed to the process of understanding your customer’s needs.

Staying motivated

  1. It’s called ‘the entrepreneurial journey’ for a reason. It might take you a bit of time to see the value of some lessons and that’s okay, the light bulb will go on eventually.
  2. Accept that you don’t know everything. While you may start to build a business and it actually begins to work, don’t think that you’ve become a Mrs/Mr know-it-all. Continue to learn from your customers and the people around you
  3. It’s not all about you and your idea. Your business will exist because there’s a value exchange between yourself and your customer. Be very clear about what that value is and how you can keep improving on it
  4. Find a mentor. By that I mean someone who’s actually built a business and succeeded, not an entrepreneurship activist. Inspiring entrepreneurship activists are fine, but it helps to have a solid sounding board and that takes experience, and someone who has experienced failure themselves.
  5. Breathe. Starting a business is hard, growing one is hard and running one is hard. Doing this day in and day out can be exhausting. Remember to celebrate the small wins and avoid the notion that you have to land some fantastic, outstanding client or reach thousands of customers before celebrating. Rejoice over the first customer or transaction, or over squashing a minor coding bug in a few days.

WATCH THIS

Embrace the Near Win by Sarah Lewis

“My triumphs are not merely the result of a grand achievement, but of the propulsion of a lineage of near wins.”— Arctic explorer Ben Saunders

Sarah Lewis is an art historian and critic who celebrates creativity and shows how it can lead us through fear and failure to ultimate success

In her talk Embrace the Near Win, Sarah Lewis shares the following insights:

  • Success is a moment, but what we’re always celebrating is creativity and mastery. The secret is converting successes – big, small and near misses – into mastery. This starts with the value you give to a near win.
  • Success is achieving a specific goal, but mastery is knowing that it means nothing if you can’t do it again and again.
  • Mastery is not the same as excellence. It’s also not the same as success, which is an event, a moment in time, and a label that the world confers upon you. Mastery is not a commitment to a goal but to a constant pursuit.
  • In other words, the pursuit of mastery is an ever-onward almost.
  • Mastery is in the reaching, not the arriving. It’s in constantly wanting to close that gap between where you are and where you want to be.
  • Success motivates us, but a near win can propel us in an ongoing quest.

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Setting & Achieving Goals

6 Reasons Why Concrete Goals Are Essential To Entrepreneurial Success

Making dreams come true is a precise, step-by-step process.

Timothy Sykes

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Believe it – there is a right way and a wrong way to approach setting career goals. In a nutshell, the more specific your goals are, the better.

If your professional goals are nebulous, like “become rich” or “gain success,” you may be psyching yourself out without even realising what you’re doing. Setting specific goals gives you the motivation and focus to begin making them a reality.

Ready to readjust your goal setting methods?

Related: The 7-Step Formula For Goal-Setting

Here are just six reasons why you need to set specific goals to get ahead in your professional career to get ahead:

1. They keep you motivated

Setting specific goals allows you to get really clear on what you are working toward in your career and why.

For instance, if you have a vague goal like “Make more money,” it will supply similarly vague motivation. When you reach the first sign of resistance, that goal will seem unattainable and too hard, and you’ll be more likely to give up.

On the other hand, a specific goal like “Buy a condo in San Diego” is very specific and gives you something specific to work toward and to help you maintain motivation.

2. You’re more likely to achieve specific goals

Goal Setting Theory is the culmination of research that began in the 1960s by Dr. Edwin Locke and Dr. Gary Latham. In researching the connection between clear goals and performance, they found that there was a relationship between how difficult and how specific a goal was and people’s performance of a task. Further, they discovered that specific and difficult goals led to better task performance than vague or easy goals.

Related: You Need This One Trait To Succeed In Reaching Your Goals

Basically, research shows that when you have specific long-term goals, you’re far more likely to perform better, which will ultimately make achieving said goals far more possible.

3. You can break big goals into mini goals

A benefit of setting specific goals is that you can then get tactical about how to make them a reality. Namely, you can break each goal down into mini goals or milestones.

Say that one of your goals is to increase sales for your business by 25 percent this year. You can set specific dollar amounts as milestones for each month or quarter.

Having mini goals like this will help you stay inspired and will give you an impetus to put specific actions in work to make them happen.

4. You can adjust as needed

gpsSpecific goals are kind of like a career roadmap.

However, just like your car’s GPS, sometimes you need to shift the destination for various reasons. It’s easier to shift or adjust a specific goal than it is to change a vague one.

For instance, say you are approaching your very specific goal at a more rapid rate than anticipated. To keep yourself motivated, you can look at that goal and adjust it to meet your current circumstances. This way, you always have something to work toward and can continue to push yourself in positive ways.

5. They will make you more confident

There’s nothing like the sense of accomplishment that comes from setting a specific goal, working hard and then finally attaining it. It makes you feel confident and secure in your own abilities.

Related: Follow These 8 Steps To Stay Focused And Reach Your Goals

When you’re imbued with this sense of self-accomplishment, it has the effect of making you feel more self-confident. Self-confidence can help you advance quicker in your career and improve your performance, which helps keep you working toward your goals with ease.

6. They make you more ambitious

Once you’ve set and then attained a few specific goals, you’ll believe in yourself even more. This means that as you progress in your career, your goals will become even bigger and more ambitious.

By continually setting specific goals and adjusting them to remain aspirational, you’ll create a powerful source of inspiration that will serve you throughout the course of your career and life.

Set specific goals from now on and you’ll see a big difference over time!

Related: Feel Like Quitting? These 9 Women Prove Grit Can Lead You To Massive Success

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Setting & Achieving Goals

How You Can Do Big Things

The secret to achieving impossible dreams is accretion — slowly and steadily working towards your goals.

Erik Kruger

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When you realise that accretion is about the accumulation of all the things that you do and all the decisions that you make, you start to see the importance of aligning everything in your life in the direction of your goals.

In 2005, four Navy Seals were sent on a mission to extract a high value target. Unfortunately, the mission didn’t go according to plan, leaving the Seals to fight for their lives. Three of them were killed in action. The other was shot, fell off a cliff, and in the process shattered his back and legs. He also bit off half of his tongue, and endured multiple gunshot wounds.

Yet, despite the fact that he couldn’t walk, he managed to crawl 11 kms to a nearby village and to safety.

When he was asked how he did it he said that he took a stone in his hand, stretched his arm out in front of him and drew a line in the sand. All he wanted to do was get across that line.

As soon as he managed to drag his feet across the line, he drew a new one. In fact, he kept drawing lines and crossing them for 11 kms.

Related: Follow These 8 Steps To Stay Focused And Reach Your Goals

That is how he did the impossible. One line in the sand at a time.

The Paradox

Motivational speakers love telling us to take big actions; to think and act big. Although I can appreciate the sentiment, and sometimes it’s apt, I think that it often has a counterproductive effect.

It scares people. It implies that there is also the possibility for massive failure. But it’s not just about the actual failure of a project or business. It’s the internal dialogue that goes with it.

The inner voice that starts telling you that you aren’t good enough. That you shouldn’t even try. I’m sure you can relate. We all have a judger inside us that rears its head when we are trying to do meaningful things. That criticises every move and decision. The judger has a great ability to prevent us from taking any action at all. Let alone massive action.

The Way

It’s for this reason that I always encourage entrepreneurs to simply focus on the line in front of them.

Keep in mind the direction you want to move in, and the goal you would like to achieve, and then start by crossing that first small line. And when you’ve done that, cross the second.

As you continue, you pick up momentum. Your actions become bolder because you become more confident.

Soon you find yourself taking bigger and bigger decisions and actions.

But they were born from the thousands of small decisions and actions that you took before.

Related: 7 Steps To Achieving Our Higher-Level Goals

Accretion

I talk about this principle often.Accretion is the accumulation of all of your compounding efforts, small wins, abilities, knowledge, and experiences. Over time this process accumulates and perpetuates what you feed into it.

When you realise that accretion is about the accumulation of all the things that you do and all the decisions that you make, you start to see the importance of aligning everything in your life in the direction of your goals.

The reason I am writing to you today is because of the body of work that I have accumulated through the writing of my daily email. An email that has gone out more than 580 times. Every day without missing a beat.

It’s my line in the sand that I cross every day. And the result of it has not simply been an accumulation of 580 emails. It has been a successful business, the opportunity to become a coach, to speak on stages with well-known businessmen, and write this column for Entrepreneur magazine.

Remember that consistency breeds success.

I’d much rather bet on the guy who consistently executes well than the guy who hits a home-run every now and then.

Draw a line in the sand.

Cross it.

Then tomorrow, do it again.

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