Today is one of the most important days in the history of the United States … because the results of the decisions made today will affect hundreds of millions of people around the world … almost forever. And tomorrow some of you will be happy, others furious, and still others relieved or scared.
The good news is … no matter who is elected on the top, middle or bottom of the ticket, you still have the power to determine your own personal destiny, to a very large extent … IF you master the process of setting and achieving your goals. I really believe that.
Unfortunately, the world is filled with people who have no idea how to set and achieve healthy, positive, productive goals. And so they struggle and scramble through their lives and careers at best, or they crash and burn at worst.
Take Chris Farley, the comedian and actor, for example, that so many of us enjoyed. On December 18, 1997, he was found dead of a drug overdose in his downtown Chicago apartment. His death at 33 was no surprise to his friends, because he had been in and out of various rehab facilities in an effort to clean up his life. Shortly before his death, Farley told a reporter,
“I used to think that you could get to a level of success where the laws of the universe didn’t apply. But they do. It’s still ‘life on life’s terms,’ not on a movie-star’s terms. I still have to work at relationships. I still have to work on my weight and some of my other demons. Once I thought that if I had enough money in the bank, if I had enough fame, everything would be all right. But I’m a human being like everyone else. I’m not exempt.”
In fact, nobody’s exempt from struggle. And in some way or another, everyone is going to be deeply affected by the results of today’s Presidential election. So how can YOU make sure you are still in charge of your life and career?
Last week I gave you the first two steps in setting and achieving healthy, positive, productive goals. Read on for the next four steps in getting the results you want to have in your life and career.
As I stated in last week’s Tuesday Tip, you must first focus on your goal and second plan out your give back. Then…
3. Establish a Deadline.
Once you have a goal in mind, decide the exact date you intend to have the money you desire, the relationship you want, the career goal you hope to achieve, or whatever else your goal might be. In other words, your results must have a deadline.
You see, tasks without deadlines never get done. Just take a look at the stack of stuff on the corner of your desk that’s been sitting there for weeks and weeks or months and months. Most likely, you don’t have a deadline to go through all that stuff and get it done, so it won’t get done for a long, long time.
Likewise, goals without deadlines are no more than fanciful wishes. But specific dates on which you expect to see results create a sense of commitment and urgency. That’s why you tell your coworker you “want the XYZ report at 2:00 p.m. on Friday” rather than saying, “I’d like it later this week.” Due dates mean you mean business.
Get rid of all the fuzziness in your deadline … just like you get rid of all the fuzziness in your communication. In fact, that’s what one appliance salesperson should have done. As my wife and I walked by, the salesperson asked, “Washer? Dryer?” I said, “No, I’ll just hose her off when I get home.”
4. Create a Plan.
The well-known success researcher Napoleon Hill said, “Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.”
Other ancient sages have said C + B = A … or Conceive + Believe = Achieve. In other words, if you can Conceive what you want and how you might get it, if you can Believe it is possible to get it, chances are you will Achieve it. So put a plan in your mind.
And note this – Hill does not say you should put your plan off until you’re ready to achieve it. No! Create your plan NOW. As Edward Everett Hale, a 19th century clergyman and author noted, “I cannot do everything but I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
(F.Y.I. Few skills in life bring bigger results than knowing how to set and achieve your personal and professional goals. It’s one of the skills I help you master when you book my program on UP Your Attitude: 6 Secrets That Turn Potential Into Performance.)
5. Write Out Your Plan – AND Your Results.
In my Journey-To-The-Extraordinary experience, I tell the participants that the top 3% of winners write out their goals and write out their plans to achieve those goals. When it comes to getting results, the act of writing is magical. It propels you beyond wishful thinking to … almost … automatic action.
Actually Hill says, “WRITE out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, have the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.”
While Hill is referring to the achievement of a financial goal, the same writing process can and needs to be applied to any goal you want to achieve. WRITE it all out — in one or two sentences.
And yeah, I can hear some of you whining. You’re not the writing type. Or you don’t have the time to write out your goals. Well maybe, just maybe, that’s why you haven’t achieved all you are capable of achieving. As Sir Francis Bacon advised, “If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must employ methods never before attempted.”
If you’re a manager who wants to ensure an employee’s follow through, you might ask him to write down your instructions. If you’re giving directions over the phone, you might ask the other person to read back what she has written. You wouldn’t let the other person off the hook without making sure they got the message, so why would you let yourself off the hook by not writing out your plan?
6. Use Your Written Goal Statement as an Affirmation.
As you know, tomorrow’s harvest is planted today. So if you plant the right thoughts in your mind … with repetition, repetition, repetition … you dramatically increase the chances of getting what you want.
Hill put it this way. “Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ, SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY” … or any other goal you want to achieve.
Basically, this step calls for concentration. As Orison Swett Marden, the founder of Success Magazine notes, “Concentration is the master key to all success. It is the fundamental law of achievement. The man who does not concentrate will be a half success, a mediocrity or a complete failure.”
I can testify to the power of affirmations … so much so that I carry them around with me all the time. And graduates from the Journey-to-the-Extraordinary experience are frequently amazed at the power of affirmations and the success they bring.
Bob Wernimont from the Sygenta Company said, “For many years I’ve heard that you need to write down your goals and say affirmations, but I didn’t know how to do it. So I never did it … until I came to the ‘Journey.’ Using the practices you taught us, my confidence, listening, conversing, motivation, energy, enthusiasm have all improved dramatically. The practices remind me of my goals and push me toward the accomplishment of those goals. I plan to continue.”
Of course, it takes me about three hours to teach the Journey attendees how to do goal setting and affirmations, but once they’ve learned the exact process, they’ve got a tool they can use for life.
And just for your information, the Journey I’m teaching this Thursday and Friday in Chicago is sold out. But in case you want to plan ahead, my next offsite Journey will be in Minneapolis on May 4-5, 2017.
So there you have it. If you want to get more out of life, if you want to ensure the achievement of your goals, follow this six-step process. It summarizes some of the best wisdom of the ages.