Goal orientation is a way of thinking practiced by optimists and all successful people. In future orientation, you first develop a clear, ideal picture of what you want to accomplish sometime in the future. With goal orientation, you crystallise that image into specific, measurable, detailed goals and objectives you’ll need to accomplish to achieve that ideal future vision.
Successful people develop the habits of personal strategic planning. They sit down and make a list of exactly what they want to accomplish in the short, medium, and long term. They then use a powerful, seven-part goal-setting methodology to create blueprints and plans of action that they follow every day.
Once you develop the habit of setting goals and making plans to accomplish them, it will become as natural for you as breathing. By following a proven goal-setting process, you’ll increase the likelihood of achieving your goals by as much as ten times, by 1 000% or more. This isn’t just a theory; it has been proved and demonstrated repeatedly by almost every person who practices it.
In February 2003, USA Today reported on a study of people who had set New Year’s resolutions the year before. They found that only 4% of the people who had made New Year’s resolutions, but had not put them in writing, had followed through on them. But 46% of those people who had written down their New Year’s resolutions carried them out. This is a difference in success rates of more than 1 100%!
Related: Goal Setting Guide
The seven-step formula
Many formulas and recipes exist for goal-setting. As a rule, ‘any plan is better than no plan at all.’ Here is one of the best and most effective goal-setting plans or formulas you will ever learn.
Decide exactly what you want in a certain area, and write it down clearly, in detail. Make the goal measurable and specific.
Set a deadline for achieving the goal. If it’s a large goal, break it down into smaller parts and set sub-deadlines.
Make a list of everything you’ll have to do to achieve this goal. As you think of new items, add them to your list until it’s complete.
Organise your list of action steps into a plan. A plan is a list of activities organised on the basis of two elements: Priority and sequence.
In organising by priorities, you determine the most important things you can possibly do on your list to achieve your goal. The 80/20 rule applies: 20% of the things you do will account for 80% of your results. If you don’t set clear priorities, you’ll ‘major in minors’ and spend much of your time on small and irrelevant tasks that don’t help you achieve your goal.
In organising by sequence, you determine what must be done before something else can be done. You create a checklist. There are always activities that are dependent upon other activities being completed in advance. What are they, and what is the logical order or sequence of completion?
Identify the obstacles or limitations that might hold you back from achieving your goal, both in the situation and within yourself. Ask yourself, “Why have I not achieved this goal already?”
Identify the most important constraint or limitation that’s holding you back, and then focus on removing that limiting factor. It could be a certain amount of money or a key resource. It could be an additional skill or habit you need. It could be additional information you require. It could be the assistance of one or more people. Whatever it is, identify it clearly and go to work to eliminate it.
Once you’ve determined your goal, developed your plan, and identified your major obstacle, immediately take action of some kind toward achieving your goal. Step out in faith. Do the first thing that comes to mind. But do something to start moving toward your most important goal.
Do at least one thing every day that moves you toward your most important goal. Make a habit of getting up each morning, planning your day and then doing something, anything, that moves you at least one step closer to what’s most important to you.
The habit of doing something every single day that moves you toward an important goal develops within you the power of momentum. Daily action deepens your belief that the goal is achievable and activates the law of attraction. As a result, you begin moving faster and faster toward your goal, and your goal begins moving faster and faster toward you.
Now that you have the formula, here’s how you achieve your goals.
Don’t let life and ‘busyness’ derail you
Accomplishing a goal can be hard work. But even if a project is something you are passionate about and want to complete, distractions such as social media, doubts and other tasks can make it nearly impossible to concentrate on it. Don’t fret. We’re here to help.
Check out these eight steps to help you prioritise and clear your mind.
1. Stop multitasking
Instead of trying to do a million things at once, take a step back and tackle one task at a time. And while your inclination might be to start your day with busy work — like checking emails — and then move on to the harder things, you should first try to get your brain moving by challenging yourself with a bigger, more creative endeavour.
2. Block out your days
A good way to hold yourself accountable when it comes to quieting the noise all around you is to specifically block out time in your day — maybe it’s 30 minutes or an hour — to spend on a given project. Colour code your calendar or set a timer to make sure you are accomplishing the goal at hand.
3. Get your blood pumping
You can’t focus if you’re stuck inside and staring at a screen all day long. Turn off your computer and phone, and go for a walk for 20 minutes. The fresh air and the movement will clear your head. Also make sure that you are drinking enough water and getting enough rest.
4. Help your technology help you
A platform like RescueTime, a software that runs while you work and shows you how you are spending your day, could help you understand why something is taking longer to complete than it should. Options like Cold Turkey, Freedom and Self Control block out the Internet entirely to keep you off your Twitter feed when you should be meeting deadlines.
Get a recommendation for a yoga or meditation class, or even make it an office outing so everyone can get some time to quiet their minds. Or look online for a plethora of apps and platforms whose stock and trade is mindfulness, like Meditation Made Simple, Calm and Headspace. For slightly more of a monetary investment, you could look into wearable tech like Thync, a device that produces electrical pulses to help your brain decrease stress.
6. Change up what’s in your headphones
While background noise might help block out a loud office or construction outside your window, you need to be careful that what you are listening to isn’t distracting you more. Music with lyrics can sap your focus from the task in front of you, so consider trying classical or electronic music instead. Or use a playlist that is familiar to you, so you aren’t tempted to turn all your attention to the new sound.
7. Streamline your communication
If you find that all of your focus gets trained on getting your inbox down to zero, think about how you can get yourself out from under a relentless deluge of email. Ask yourself and your colleagues to think about whether this conversation would be most effective through email, on the phone or in person. Taking five minutes to walk over to someone else’s workspace will save you the time and energy invested into a redundant email chain and clarify how you want to attack a problem more quickly.
8. Find an environment with the right kind of noise
To be most effective, you need to strike a delicate balance between too much noise and total silence. According to David Burkus, an associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University, “some level of office banter in the background might actually benefit our ability to do creative tasks, provided we don’t get drawn into the conversation,” Burkus wrote in the Harvard Business Review. “Instead of total silence, the ideal work environment for creative work has a little bit of background noise. That’s why you might focus really well in a noisy coffee shop, but barely be able to concentrate in a noisy office.”
Become a master of time
If you’re serious about achieving your goals, not only do you need to set those goals the right way, but you also have to get serious about avoiding distractions and becoming too immersed in the bad habits that you know you need to quit. Time-wasters need to fall by the wayside, and serious grit-and-bear-it hard work needs to take its place.
One of the most effective skills you can have in life is powerful and effective time management. If you’re not managing your time well, there’s no way you’re going to reach your goals at work and the life outside of it. Sure, you might make some progress. But your time management will be an uphill battle if you don’t take your time seriously. People who squander and waste the precious little time they do have, know all too well how difficult achieving even mildly difficult goals can be.
The truth is that time is the greatest equaliser in life. No matter who you are, your age, income, gender, race or religion, you have the same amount of time as the next person. Whether you’re filthy rich or dirt poor, your time is the same. It’s not about how much time you have. It’s about how effectively you manage your time.
The trick? Find a good time management system and work it. There are many. It’s entirely up to you which one to choose. But if you don’t want to become part of the 92% statistic of people who fail to achieve their long-term goals, then you need to pay attention to how you use the precious little time you do have in this world.
What are the best tips for managing your time?
- Set goals the right way. There’s a right and wrong way to set goals. If you don’t set your goals the right way, then you’ll lack the proper targets, which will force you to fall off track. But when you set them the right way, the sky is the limit.
- Find a good time management system. One of the tips for managing your time is to find the right system to actually do it. The quadrant time-management system is probably the most effective. It splits your activities into four quadrants based on urgency and importance. Things are either urgent or important, both, or neither. Neither (quadrant 4) are the activities that you want to stay away from, but it’s the not-urgent-but-important quadrant (2) that you want to focus on.
- Audit your time for seven days straight. Spend seven days straight assessing how you spend the time you do have right now. What are you doing? Record it in a journal or on your phone. Split this up into blocks of 30 minutes or an hour. What did you get done? Was it time wasted? Was it well spent? If you use the quadrant system, circle or log the quadrant that the activity was associated with. At the end of the seven days, tally up all the numbers. Where did you spend the most time? Which quadrants? The results might shock you.
- Spend your mornings on MITs. Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” His point? Tackle your biggest tasks in the morning. These are your most important tasks (MITs) of the day. Accomplishing those will give you the biggest momentum to help you sail through the rest of the day.
- Instil keystone habits into your life. Charles Duhig poignantly coined the keystone habit in his book entitled, The Power of Habit. In architecture, the keystone is the stone that holds all other stones in place. Similarly, keystone habits help to not only solicit other good habits, but also help to eliminate bad habits. Focus on keystone habits and you’ll get much better at managing your overall time by making your habit development much easier.
- Schedule email response times. Turn off your email throughout the day. When your email is pouring in, it’s easy to get distracted. Schedule time to read and respond to emails. If there’s something urgent, someone will call or text you. But when you have your email open, those distractions interrupt your thought flow and it’s harder to get back on track.
- Eliminate bad habits. One of the biggest time-wasters we have are our bad habits. Whether it’s Netflix binge-watching, excessively surfing social media, playing games, going out frequently to drink with friends, or so on, those bad habits take away the precious little time that we do have. Use your time wisely by eliminating your bad habits if you’re serious about achieving big goals in life.
- Take frequent breaks when working. One study suggests that you should work for 52 minutes and break for 17. You might not have the luxury to do that. But you should take frequent breaks. If you’re an entrepreneur working for yourself, this is crucial. It’s easy to run on fumes and not even know it. Keep your mental, emotional and physical states at peak levels by breaking frequently.
- Make to-do lists in the evening for the next day. Every single evening before bed, make a list for the next day. Look at your goals and see what you can do to help move you closer. This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. But by making to-do lists, you’re effectively setting goals for the day. Daily goals are easier to achieve while helping to move us towards the longer and bigger goals. But that happens by creating to-do lists.
- Declutter and organise. Studies have determined that clutter in our environment causes us to lose focus. When we lose focus, we lose time. If you want to avoid that, declutter and organise. Don’t do it all at once. Start small. One drawer today. A shelf tomorrow. Maybe a closet the next day. Just one per day. You build momentum and eventually find yourself turning into an organising warrior.
Keep up your momentum
(AKA Learn to see the bigger picture to keep your eye on the prize)
We all have goals. How to achieve those goals is not as complex as you might think. Sometimes it’s just about taking a step back to see the bigger picture.
Here are three important lessons to learn about achieving your goals as you take on the day (each and every day).
1. Focus on what you need instead of what you want
You might think you want that big house and three cars, but do you really need it? This is such a simple way to set authentic priorities, yet so few people get it.
A simple ‘want’ is nothing but a fantasy. You need to be passionate to achieve what you want to achieve or it’s never going to happen. It must almost be tinged with desperation.
2. Learn the lessons from all of it, positive and negative
Life is never all good or all bad, so we have to learn from both. When you find yourself basking in all that is positive in your life, think about how you managed to succeed. How can you replicate that same success? On the other hand, you need to be able to grow on the negative. Think about why you failed and how you can avoid doing that again.
Set aside some time every week to reflect on your successes and failures. It’s the only way you’re going to grow to a point where you can achieve your goals. Don’t over-think every project afterwards but if you can take one lesson from each experience you know you’ve done it right.
3. Stay focused on the prize
It’s easy to lose focus when you’re taking on multiple ventures at the same time. To make sure you stay focused on the prize always have a plan for the short-term, medium-term and the long-term.
Question everything you’re doing. Ask yourself: “Is what I am doing right now contributing towards my short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals?” Making sure that you’re studying hard is key here.
If the answer is no then you know you need to rethink what you’re doing. Staying focused on the prize is what will prevent you from wasting your time on the tasks that don’t matter.
The main lesson is to think before and after
Think about what you’re about to do and whether it takes you closer to your goals. Think about what you have done and determine whether you could have done it better or whether things turned out the way you wanted them to.
It can be hard to stop when you’re in the middle of something, but this is the most important part of all. Once you manage to do this you’ll get more results for every action.
Your goal-setting (and achieving) checklist
Here’s the simple reality of achieving success. Unless you have goals, you have no way of knowing whether or not you’ve already reached the pinnacle of your life. But all this tends to be a bit easier to suss out if you have those goals in hand. Setting goals is easy — we all do it. Sticking to them is harder.
Here’s how you can stay on track.
Write goals that align with your values
There isn’t a huge difference between corporate goals and life goals. If your career goals aren’t supporting your life goals, you are bound to have a miserable existence.
Set goals that you can control
Too often, we set goals that depend on other people. Unless every aspect of the goal you set is under your control, you have very little likelihood of ever achieving it.
Set goals that you don’t think you can achieve and work your tail off to get there. Anyone can follow the advice of lesser men and set clearly achievable goals, but that’s for under-achievers and slackers. There is nothing wrong with setting your sights higher than most might believe practicable.
Give yourself time
If you begin with the end in mind, that is to say, if you start by visualising where you want to end up in life, the things you need to get there are pretty easy to plot out.
Plan for success
Don’t worry that your dreams aren’t realistic or that you might not achieve them. Don’t ask ‘What if I fail?’ Instead, ask, ‘What if I succeed?’ Worrying about failure is pointless and destructive; the surest way to be a failure is to spend time worrying about it. Your goals won’t just accomplish themselves; you will have to have a plan, and you’ll have to work that plan.
Manage your risks
You will never achieve goals you didn’t set, but then again there are precious few guarantees in this life. While most of the things you will do on your journey to success will carry some measure of risk, that’s okay. Just be sure that you consider that risk and weigh it against the reward.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Your Worth Is Not Measured By Your Productivity
Clients don’t ask too many questions if they’re getting regular updates and feel as though things are moving along.
We live in a world that glorifies the term ‘being busy’ and down plays terms such as ‘burn out’ and ‘mental health’. After all, that’s how we measure success right. It’s ok to be burnt out, because it means you’re successful and pushing yourself. It’s unthinkable that a woman can achieve her goals if she only works an 08h00 – 17h00 right. Wrong. I recently left my corporate job, with my comfortable salary, to pursue the unknown. I’m still ‘busy’, the only difference is that I’m more flexible now.
What that means is that I can take time away from work to cook dinner, attend a family birthday etc and work my schedule around that. When I worked in corporate that flexibility was not offered. It’s about making time for the things that matter, while still ticking off my to-do list and making sure my clients feel happy, secure and taken care of. Clients don’t ask too many questions if they’re getting regular updates and feel as though things are moving along.
1. Forgive yourself
It took me some time to learn to forgive myself. For putting my career above my friends, my family and myself. In my first week as a freelancer, I had been working late nights and on the Friday afternoon I crashed at 2pm, had an hour-long nap and then carried on. I kind of beat myself up for that. Accusing myself of being lazy, telling myself I didn’t have the luxury to have a nap during the day and I was disappointed with myself. I had to learn that it’s OK to give yourself what you need, when you need it, to thrive.
Whether it’s a late afternoon power nap or saying no to new business when you’ve reached capacity. It’s OK to do you, forgive yourself for being human.
It’s easy to stay motivated when things are going well. It’s a different story when things aren’t going well. Remember why you started your journey, remember your training and reach out to your network. Never be ashamed of your hustle. 90% of my current business came from me reaching out to my current network. It’s amazing how once you start doing things you love; how many people want to help you succeed and support you. They need to know what you’re doing first, to offer you their business.
I also remember, when I first started telling people I had left corporate to start my own venture I always received 1 of 3 responses:
- Wow you’re so brave, that’s so inspiring. I wish I could do what you’re doing
- Wow are you sure that’s the smartest thing to do right now, you know the economy and blah blah blah
- Oh wow, it must be so nice being a lady of leisure, do you go for coffee dates with friends and watch series during the day.
The doubters used to scare me because, to be honest, I had a little bit of doubt myself. ‘Can I really do this, will I succeed?, what if I fail?’, those are questions I kept asking myself. Now I use the comments as motivation, whatever the comment is, you’re inspired by me, great, keep watching…. You don’t recommend I start my own business in this economy…. Cool, please watch this space. You think I drink margaritas and tan all day, ok, watch my success, while I’m sipping on this pink drink. You need to be so mentally strong to be an entrepreneur and it’s your responsibility to stay motivated.
Routine is important when you’re a business owner. There will be days where you work a late night and need a little extra sleep in the am, I encourage you to get back into your routine as soon as possible though. On the days where you don’t feel like doing your work – those are usually admin days. Hack the system, go for a run, have a coffee, do what you need to do to re-set your mind and then get back into it. No-one is going to stop you from self-destructing, so keep the discipline and grind! No one is going to force you to do it, so you must force yourself.
While being your own boss is tough and comes with a different set of concerns, remember why you started. Enjoy the peace of mind and happiness, realising you are in full control of your destiny. Celebrate those small wins. It’s difficult to be motivated and disciplined, to find work and keep it. Celebrate your successes, a million people are killing 8 hours a day working jobs they hate, wishing they had the courage to pursue their dreams. You’re already doing that, you’ve taken the plunge and you have a responsibility to succeed. Enjoy the process throughout the way. There’s nothing as rewarding as gaining a new client, getting great client feedback or completing a job well done.
When I worked in corporate I would kill myself to pull off a campaign, giving up sleep, family time etc. Knowing I did a kick-ass job, never once receiving praise from a client. When I heard my manager ask why she never thanked us, her response was ‘But we pay you to do this, it’s expected, please don’t ask me to thank you for doing your job, when I’m paying you to do that job’. That’s when I realised I would have to find fulfilment and enjoyment from within.
You will mess up, it’s inevitable, you’re human. No matter how good you are, how committed you are or motivated you are, it will happen. Get up and keep going, pick up your crown and keep marching on. There’s no use crying over spilled milk. Whether you’re in corporate or you’re your own boss, remember these 5 tips, modify and apply them to suit your situation and remember that your worth is not measured by your productivity. You can be successful while taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. It’s time to shine!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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.
6 Reasons Why Concrete Goals Are Essential To Entrepreneurial Success
Making dreams come true is a precise, step-by-step process.
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.
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
Specific 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.
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!
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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