Specific Goals and Hitting Them

18 08 2017

Goals.  How do you hit them?  How do you place them within sane and profitable range?  How do you avoid the extremes of setting the bar too low—being unchallenged and bored—and shooting unrealistically high (and being discouraged and defeated)?  Where is that happy in-between where you can reach the cookie jar by standing on your tiptoes?

A few years back, a colleague and I were discussing the importance of setting goals that were challenging yet attainable.  My friend told me that when he was an insurance salesman, he and his fellow agents would huddle in the mornings and lay out their sales goals for that particular day.  His buddies would generally shoot for the moon:  “I’m gonna sell ten policies today.”  He would set more modest but sufficiently difficult targets: “I’m going to sell two of this policy and one of that package.”  And he would usually hit the mark, while his co-workers failed to meet theirs and were thus discouraged.

There’s an old adage that says “slow and steady wins the race.”  This, of course, is a nod to Aesop’s famous story of “The Tortoise and the Hare.”  Through patient plodding, the much slower and ungainly tortoise won the race over the faster but cocky hare.  If you persevere, you win.

This is not to discourage the practice of giving yourself a worthy but difficult task.  But it is important to keep a healthy balance between mediocrity and insanity.  Those who avoid the shoals on either side generally sail on to success.

What are your goals for 1) continuing education—whether at a learning institution or through self-education via reading, listening and viewing, 2) physical fitness and weight loss, 3) strengthening your relationships, 4) improving your vocational skills?  Have you written them down, which is critical to their fulfillment, having engaged your conscious and subconscious mind by doing so?  Do you have a process, broken down into manageable bites, so you can meet these targets?

Here are some of the benefits one derives from setting goals and then hitting them:

  • You get the benefit of meeting the goal itself. If you lose that portly thirty pounds, you feel better about yourself and have become healthier.  If you learn a new skill, you can use that to help others, elevate your station and earn more.
  • You receive a boost in self-confidence and self-respect rooted in genuine accomplishment, rather than fantasies.
  • You strengthen your goal-attainment muscles because you are encouraged that, yes, you can do this!

Set goals.  Set them high enough to stretch you.  Write them down, with concrete dates and metrics indicating you’ve met them.  Then hit them!

Suggested Resources:

Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want — Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible (Brian Tracy)

Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! (Tony Robbins)

 

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“Don’t Be Seduced By Low-Hanging Fruit”

10 12 2015

Avoid Low Hanging Fruit

Recently, I was reviewing some future vocational pursuits, and courses of study to prepare for them, with a mentor of mine.   He admonished me twice, “You must not be seduced by low-hanging fruit.”  He went on to encourage me to set vocational and educational goals that were neither too easy nor out-of-this-world in difficulty, but instead targets in which “you have to stand on your tiptoes to reach.”

That was a new twist.

My own human nature and the bent of our times drifts toward, even craves, things that require little or no effort.  Low-maintenance relationships.  Things you can “wing.”  Problem-solving that demands no more than easy, black/white, either/or solutions that don’t have to grapple with the complexities of our times and its issues, which are impatient of petty annoyances like nuance and clarification.  Or, better yet, long-term thinking.  (Current immigration debate and Donald Trump come to mind.)

The challenge for growth is something that requires stretching.  We all know this when we get to the gym.  But we tend to forget this once we’ve showered and leave the environment where sweat is accepted as part of obtaining the prizes.

What goals are you setting for yourself?  Do they cause you discomfort or are they well within your current competencies and are guaranteed to cause you little frustration?  Little effort can only yield small rewards.

These are necessary questions, because low-hanging fruit is cheap and easy.  But, you have to climb to get the good stuff.

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The Cardone Zone and Full Commitment

17 02 2014

Grant CardoneA friend and colleague of mine has recently turned me on to yet another personal development trainer, Florida real estate mogul Grant Cardone.

While listening to an audio book of his today, Sell or Be Sold, he made this provocative statement:

“I’d rather be fully committed to the wrong thing than be half committed to the right thing.”

I have to admit, his statement rattled me.  Now, I’ve listened to enough of his material to know he’s definitely not arguing for getting behind a losing cause.  “Choose well” is his advice.

But his unnerving statement highlights an important truth, one we’ve discussed here on The Upside:  “Wherever you are, be all there.”

There is energy in full, unbridled passion for what is important to us.  When we decide “This is it—I’m getting behind this effort, this value, this goal, taking no prisoners, come hell or high water,” stuff begins to unlock, paths open, your subconscious mind begins serving you and the target you’ve set.

Life is far too short to live in half-hearted fashion.

What are your goals and are they compelling enough to motivate you to burn your bridges and trash your excuses to make them a reality?

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2014. Here We Come!

31 12 2013

 

4:26 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

New Year, just south of seven hours from now.

Resolutions being formed.  Regrets (too much bad food and bad blood in 2013) being mulled and, hopefully, forgotten.  Goals being articulated, fleshed out—progress ahead.

“Your time is gonna come” (apologies to Led Zeppelin).  I believe that this is the year for your time to come as well as mine.  I really do.

So……..

  • Smile more, even if you don’t feel like it.
  • Laugh.  A lot.  Laugh at yourself.  And have fun doing so.  After all, you’re only human.
  • Choose friends, surroundings and stimuli with care.  This year, jazz and classic rock have saved my neck over and over when the mood swings come and I want to drown in despair, cynicism, and negativity.  Thank you Miles Davis and Led Zeppelin.
  • Read.  Watch.  Take notes.  Do your homework.  As Brian Tracy reminds us, “All skills are learnable” and “To do something you’ve never done before, you must become someone you’ve never been before.  That is exciting and filled with promise.
  • Love your family and friends enough to communicate with them eye-to-eye and voice-to-voice, not simply through Facebook, Twitter, and texts.  The sound of another human being is magical.  No, it’s eternal.
  • Be a thermostat.  Everywhere.  Set the bar high with your example.  Office, factory, stage, classroom, living room.
  • Read anything by Seth Godin.
  • Read anything by Brian Tracy.

Ah.  Night is falling.  Celebrations starting.  Be safe and responsible—get a driver or a cab if you need to.

Happy New Year!

Cheers

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Producing or Preparing to Produce?

14 10 2013

Producing or Preparing to ProduceSixteen years ago, I worked as the associate to a man who’d enjoyed a successful career as a real estate broker.  We worked together in another field and I admired his diligence and commitment to excellence.

He told me about a valuable lesson he’d learned in real estate.  He said, “In real estate, every minute you spend doing less important things is time away from your primary location: To be in front of customers.”

He was told that if he did not sell on weekends and work Sundays, he’d never make it in real estate.  He had at that time–and still does, as far as I know–an ironclad commitment to make sure he spent plenty of time with his wife and children.  He told his colleagues, “I won’t work weekends but I will succeed.”

And he did.  One of the primary reasons, he explained, was that he spent very little time in the office, and, thus, put himself in the presence of his clients.  While his fellow realtors spent a lot of time putting together fancy office spaces and such, Gary was selling.  And only Monday through Friday.

In life, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.  Gary taught me this.

Here’s a couple of good questions to ask yourself with respect to your work, your skills and talents, your pursuits, and goals: Am I working or making plans to work?  Am I actually producing or just preparing to produce?

I have to confess I’ve dawdled away far too much time making impressive plans to do something valuable and productive, making good use of my skill sets.  I’m trying to prune away the unnecessary time wasters (too much social media, pointless web surfing, etc.) and set about actually doing something that will help others, my own, and myself.

Well…how about you?

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Do The Math

8 09 2013

You-Do-the-Math-560x374There’s a common saying in self-development that goes like this: “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”

Axiomatic.  But it doesn’t always register.

My wife and I are currently laying out our long-term goals—as individuals, as a couple, as two people created by God with certain bents, acuities, desires, and abilities.

Oh, and destinies.

After a year of unsuccessfully trying to sell our home, we’ve chosen to settle in the region we’ve occupied for most of our marriage (over twenty-five years).  We have business plans, educational paths to chart, places we want to visit, new experiences we want to enjoy, new relationships we wish to cultivate and proven friendships we want to nurture and enjoy.

One of the phrases we’ve used in recent years is “do the math.”  We’ve used this on ourselves.  We’ve employed it when guiding our children.  We’ve shared it with friends.

If you are passive; if you don’t have goals; if you don’t expend the effort to find out what your purpose in life is, you will then spend your life working for those who do.  They have plans of their own.  And they are working to see them realized.  If you don’t chart your own course, you will spend your life fulfilling the plans of people who’ve charted theirs.  They will even let you!  And what do they have planned for you?  Not much (as Jim Rohn has said). Passivity exacts a terrible price.

Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.

Doing the math means taking an honest appraisal of things—what you’re currently doing with your God-given skills, who you work for, the relationships you have, and then summoning the courage to see that, without being proactive, things will stay as they’ve always been, the status quo blissfully undisturbed.

Specifically:

  • Girls, if a guy’s a bum now when you’re dating him—lazy, abusive, possessive—he’s not going to change if you marry him.  You’re better than that.  Move on.
  • If your company keeps you at low pay even after repeated promises of wage increase, you’re probably not going to get the raise.  Or if you do, it will be modest.  Update your resumé, pound the pavement and find something better.  Or go into business for yourself.
  • If the people you run with are pessimistic, complacent, and perennial comfort zone inhabitants or whiners, they are affecting you.  If you spend a lot of time with them, you will become like them.  That is a law as certain as gravity. Modify your circle.

We’re excited to say the least.  There’s so much more ahead of us.  We are doing our dead-level best to own up to this reality: If we’re in the same spot in our growth in 5 years, we have only ourselves to blame.  Not God.  Not friends.  Not the economy.  Not the President.  Not our employers.

Challenge:  Write down at least 10 very specific goals for the next year as well as 5 years down the line.  I double-dare you.  Include a definite process for attaining them.

Then go!

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Sanity. Ah, the Joys!

1 09 2013

Sanity EinsteinAlbert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Well.

The year is two-thirds over.  Autumn starts in three weeks.  Many of us laid out goals at the top of this year.  How are you doing in the attainment of yours?

One of the most important things one can do is take an honest inventory of one’s life and determine what works and what doesn’t.  What sorts of things are you doing, what kind of company are you keeping, what kinds of attitudes do you wear like clothes that may be bringing you closer to your goals in life?  Or are steering you farther away from hitting your potential as a human being, created in God’s image with a purpose?

Doing this takes courage because it usually means making adjustments, sometimes radical changes to keep the ship from the shoals.

It’s quite easy to let habit turn into routine.  Fair enough.  But often, routine can create a rut or even lead us into the ditch.  We get so accustomed to the bland, gray sameness of each day.  Our lives mirror the storyline of the motion picture Groundhog Day.  It is like a broken record and we are as stuck as the stylus.  Our potentials and abilities largely stymied.

Time for a change.  Change of job.  Change of location.  Change of peer groups.  Anything to break out of the black hole of stagnation.  It will take an effort to overcome the seductive and paralyzing narcotic of your comfort zone and its inertia.

Here are some tough and practical questions you must wrestle with if you desire sanity and growth:

  • With whom do you spend your discretionary time?  Companions can either make or mar a life.  We cannot stress strongly enough the importance of choosing friends carefully.  The best friends you have are those who have the effect of bringing you to a higher level by their presence.  Cultivate these.  And you must limit your involvements with pessimists, dream-killers and critics.  Their influence is hurting you.  It just is.
  • Are you using your gifts and abilities to their full potential?  This may be the time for a career change.  Some of us are bound by the “golden handcuffs” of a large salary and benefits package.  You really need to ask yourself if the pay and benefits outweigh that uneasy sense of not doing what you are best prepared to do.  Is earning a lot of money worth the feeling that you may be falling short of your ultimate design and purpose?  Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, when courting PepsiCo chairman John Sculley in 1983 asked the famous question “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want to change the world?”
  • Are you a lifelong learner?  My wife gave me a Kindle Fire® reader a few Christmases ago.  Along with a sizeable library that I recently downsized, I am using it to my advantage in this important area.  There are so many free books out there!  Are you seeking to learn something new every single day, to advance and to grow?  Or will you settle for mediocrity, falling short of the great call upon your life.

Here’s to growth, to change, to doing things differently going forward.  To sanity.  Ah, the joys!

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