How to get what you really, Really, REALLY want

Years ago I came across a line that changed my life. It said, “If you don’t go after what you want, you could spend your entire life settling for what you can get.”

Ouch! At one time, that described me. But no longer. No way!

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I see so many people doing … settling for so much less than they could have in their lives, their work, and their relationships. That’s why I’ve dedicated my entire professional life to helping people get what they want.

If you want to stop settling and start getting more of what you want … which means you’re going to have to change a few things … you need to put these beliefs in your head.

► Belief #1: Understand that change is not for the happy; it’s for the less-than-totally happy ones.

Before you change, you need a desire to change. And that may or may not come naturally. As outlined in the book Even Eagles Need A Push, the author David McNally states unequivocally, “Who you will be, what you will be, and where you will be, will be the result of your willingness to adapt, to change, to learn, and to grow.”

So what if you’re not as happy as you’d like to be right now. No problem! Change is not for the happy. As opposite as they might be, disgust and resolve are two of the great emotions that lead to change.

► Belief #2: You must decide to be happier and more successful.

You must first decide that you truly, deep down, want to be happier and more successful. Nobody wakes up happy and successful. It isn’t something you fall into; it starts with a decision you make.

As financier John Pierpont Morgan observed about 200 years ago, “The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”

Of course progress always involves some risk. “You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first!” writes author Frederick B. Wilcox.

What risks are you afraid to take? What risks do you need to take to get more of what you want?

► Belief #3: If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.

It’s a toughie to swallow, but true nonetheless. If you want greater happiness and success, you can’t be a member of NATO — No Action Talk Only.

Or as I tell my audiences and coaching clients, “You can’t talk your way out of a situation that you behaved yourself into.”

The truth is … change involves desire, decisions, and DOING. Or put another way, a change of mind results in a change of heart, which results in a change of action, which results in a change of feelings.

All of that can be a little scary … doing something you’ve never done. So heed the advice of educator L. Thomas Holdcroft, “The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post.”

► Belief #4: Anything you can tolerate, you’ll probably not change.

Another ouch!

Oh sure, you may whine, gripe, and complain about your weight, your spouse, your kids, your job, your team, or letting your phone and e-mail ruin your life. But as much as I hate to say this, you have no right to complain about any of those things if you don’t do something about them or if you just keep on permitting them to happen.

When I push someone about the things he or she needs to do, they’ll often acquiesce and say they agree with me … “in principle.” But I’ve learned a long time ago, when a person says he approves of something “in principle,” it means he hasn’t the slightest intention of putting it into practice.

You need to quit tolerating the stuff that is “good enough” or “getting you by.” If you want deep, permanent, and pervasive change, you’ve got to chase after it, like Lieutenant Colonel Michael Oster, the Recruiting Commander of the South Dakota Army National Guard, did.

In fact that’s the very reason he brought my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program to his team and organization. He later wrote, “GREAT experience. For the first time in our lives, we have finally grasped the concept and process for effective goal setting and goal achieving in our lives.”

But people ask me, “Dr. Z, what if take some risks and don’t get the success I’d like?” I refer them to Robyn Allan, a dance show producer and performer, who says, “Many of us are afraid to follow our passions, to pursue what we want most because it means taking risks and even facing failure. But to pursue your passion with all your heart and soul is success in itself. The greatest failure is to have never really tried.”

► Belief #5: Worry is worthless.

Worry is thinking about everything that has gone wrong, is going wrong, and will go wrong.

To worry about what you can’t change is useless.

To worry about what you can change is a waste of time; either change it or forget it.

Personally, I like the way professional development expert Dale Carnegie put it. He said, “If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.”

► Belief #6: The secret to your future is in your daily routine.

If you want anything great, more than likely it will come out of a whole host of small things that you do on a regular basis. That’s why change involves discipline.

David Livingstone, the great 19th century explorer, knew that. He said, “I am willing to go anywhere, anywhere, anywhere — so long as it’s forward.”

So ask yourself, what are you doing on a daily basis to get more of what you want instead of settling for what you can get? And what else could you be doing to get more of what you want? Do more of that … now!

Internalize these six beliefs and behaviors and you’ll be well on your way to getting what you want out of life, work, and your relationships.