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Setting & Achieving Goals

Learning, Earning and Returning: The 3 Stages of a Fulfilling Life

Your success can be the catalyst for the success of others, and that is the most satisfying success of all.

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I attend many networking meetings, frequent educational seminars and conferences. I am a member of the Miami Young Presidents Organisation and other business groups which promote business learning and networking.

With 30 years of the above experience, just last week I attended a conference and heard an expression which will have an everlasting impact on my life personally and professionally. The speaker, an accomplished banker and philanthropist, told our business audience that you should break your life into thirds and live by the expression: Learning, Earning & Returning

Related: 12 Reasons Entrepreneurs With Type-A Personalities Are Unstoppable

I wish I was so profound and philosophical that I could have thought of this powerful expression – but I didn’t. However, I will share my own perspective plus the speaker’s thoughts on this mantra.

Learning

The first third of your life you should be learning. Learn in school, learn from mentors, read, become a sponge and absorb everything. Dedicate your early years to learning – both academically and in your everyday life. Challenge yourself and push yourself.

Having three children who currently range from middle school to college, I see how important education is. And yes, your study habits do start at a young age. The discipline to learn and to want to learn begins in grammar school (when colleges will not even look at your transcripts). My oldest is now currently a sophomore at the University of Michigan in the Ross Business School and I am truly envious of her and how much she is learning.  The foundation of her academics can only benefit her regardless of her ultimate job – and her passion to learn and succeed has become infectious to my younger children.

Regardless of which college you attend – or candidly, don’t attend, (if this path is not your calling), you can learn in many ways. Reading books, listening to audio books, attending free meetings, finding a mentor.

Of course, life is not fair. Some of us do have advantages (financial, contacts, etc) but that’s life. If you do not have these advantages, work harder and prove to yourself and others that you can overcome and persevere.

Earning

earning-money-working-for-a-living

The second third of your life is earning.

Work – odds are that you will be working to earn a living to support yourself and your family. Depending on your career choice and many other factors (too many to quote in this article), your annual compensation will vary. Find an industry you love and work hard to earn to your greatest potential.

Without sounding naïve, earning money is very important to sustain our quality of life, the basics of course and some luxuries of affordability. Whether you are earning until retirement and beyond, the quality of your work for both financial and personal reasons is immeasurable.

Returning

The third part of your life is Returning.

When the speaker first mentioned “Returning,” I didn’t understand in which context it was being used. Did Returning mean going back to your town to really understand your roots and where you came from? Did it mean returning to your childhood friends and re-establishing those lost relationships? The speaker used Returning in a philanthropic way – whether you earn $50,000 or $500,000 annually or anything in between, the latter years of your life should be returning to help those less fortunate.

Related: Personal Branding Pitfalls Women Should Avoid

Yes, the gift of giving should start in your younger years. As we mature, (I just turned 50 a few months ago, so I guess that means I’m either more mature now or just getting old), I do “get it” regarding helping those less fortunate. It’s not just about giving money. It’s about getting involved. There are many great causes – business related, family-related, religious and otherwise. Pick one close to your heart and contribute whether it be with your money, or your time – or both.

Entrepreneur is a business magazine, so allow me to spend a few minutes on the relationship between  business and philanthropy. Doing the right thing is always the “golden rule” – but it’s amazing how getting involved in a cause will also positively affect your business.

Don’t join an organisation with the sole purpose of exploiting relationships. Do it for “returning” and you will enjoy generous “returns” on your investment. Over time, you will develop authentic relationships with like-minded people who hold similar passions for a specific charity.

Remembering

And in closing, please indulge my poetic license. How about adding “remembering” as the fourth mantra to the previous three already discussed.

Yes, remembering where we came from, remembering who helped us along the way, and remembering our responsibility and obligation to the past.

Enjoy these simple, yet powerful expressions and remind yourself that these words and more importantly, their meanings, are a great platform to live the remainder of your life.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Jeff Shavitz is the CEO of TrafficJamming, a virtual membership group for business owners and entrepreneurs comprised of many business services to help drive customers to their companies. He is a serial entrepreneur who has has written four business books including “Size Doesn’t Matter – Why Small Business is BIG Business” which hit #1 on Amazon. Contact him at 800-878-4100.

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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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Setting & Achieving Goals

Working Hard Or Hardly Working? 5 Hacks To Get More Out Of Your 8-Hour Day

Time is a finite resource and your most valuable currency.

Ron Guerrier

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With the coming of a new year, most of us have once again resolved to make ourselves into better people – the people we were meant to be. Last year’s resolutions may be only a fading memory, but this year, we’re sure, will be different.

Sadly, that’s probably not true. Eighty percent of New Year’s resolutions are broken by the second week of February, according to an article in U.S. News & World Report by clinical psychologist Joseph J. Luciani.

If you’re an entrepreneur, maybe you’ve vowed that this year you’ll be more productive. Are you doomed to be disappointed like everyone else?

Not necessarily. According to some psychologists, if you experiment with small potential solutions to your problem, big changes are possible. You may need, in other words, some handy hacks.

The wise words my aunt shared with me more than a decade ago still resonate today and guide how I structure my daily routine and schedule: Time is your most valuable currency. It’s the one finite resource we work with daily where we can’t simply create more should we come up short in a given day. This can be especially true for entrepreneurs, who are consistently challenged to do more with fewer resources.

Related: 5 Ways to Tweak Your Morning Routine for a Better Day

So, to get more out of your day and ensure you’re maximising your most valuable currency, here are five small changes to experiment with.

Stop multitasking

Research at Stanford University showed that people who are media multitaskers are less productive. Those who can juggle many tasks at once certainly appear to be productive. But, this study showed that that is an illusion. It was assumed that these people had some sort of ability – perhaps a better memory – that enabled them to accomplish what others could not. But, it turns out that they may just be more easily distracted.

Concentrate! (But only for 52 minutes)

concentrateIt’s counterintuitive, but research has shown that people who take short breaks during the day are more productive. One study demonstrated that the most productive 10 percent of workers, worked on average for just 52 minutes before taking a break. And the perfect break was 17 minutes long. The idea that breaks can make you more productive is not new. Back in the 1920s, Henry Ford realised that his company could get just as much work done by limiting the work week to five days and the work day to eight hours.

Related: 14 Of The Best Morning Routine Hacks Proven To Boost Productivity

Get an app for that

If there is a task that hinders your productivity, see if there is some technology that will help you do it better. For example, if you’ve lost business because you’ve repeatedly missed customer calls, think about forwarding your office phone to your mobile device via voice-over-IP, or VOIP. It’s technology that has been around for a while and can keep you in touch with your customers no matter where you are.

Delegate

If you’re a person who believes if you want it done right, do it yourself, you could be wrong. Smart entrepreneurs know what they’re good at, and they know that delegating the rest may be more efficient than doing it themselves. It may take some time to determine which responsibilities you should hand off to others, but that time could pay off by freeing you up for more productive tasks.

Eliminate some meetings

Meetings can be an enormous waste of time, so attend only those that are absolutely necessary. Is that luncheon with the local chamber of commerce likely to generate some leads or not? If not, find a better way to drum up business. If you can’t eliminate meetings, try to make them more productive. One way is to keep them short, 30 minutes or less. Another is to create an agenda and send it out a day ahead of time.

Related: 10 Things Successful People Tell Themselves Every Day

If none of these experiments work, maybe the problem isn’t you. According to a Harvard Business Review article, some people just aren’t comfortable with techniques designed to make them more productive. They feel these techniques impose a regimentation on them that interrupts the flow of work, damages the quality of their work experience and even hampers their productivity.

So, if you’ve tried techniques to make you more productive and they haven’t worked, don’t sweat it. Just focus on other resolutions instead. Didn’t you sign up for a new gym membership?

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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