In my role as a conference speaker I’ve had the opportunity to meet and mix with many successful people and I’ve discovered that there is a common factor in their success. What is that common factor? It’s that they’ve done the necessary preparation for success. They understand the six P’s— proper preparation prevents pretty poor performance. They know that:
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity!
And it doesn’t matter what business you are in, what role you have, where you are on the ladder of success or whether it’s your personal or business life there is always opportunity available. The problem for most people is that they never bother to do the preparation.
And what does that preparation consist of?
Simply setting your goals, in other words knowing where you are going, how you are going to get there and when you’ll arrive. Goals are dreams with dates on that turn them into concrete meaningful, attainable objectives.
The problem with dreams are that they exist only in your mind and you can change them as easily as you change your mind. Because most dreams start with the word “someday” they are a mirage like island called “Someday Isle”— that never appears.
So, no matter what your talents, skills or station in life is right now, why not decide to get on the success express and set some realistic, achievable goals.
To do this, you need to ask yourself 3 questions.
Where am I now?
Where would like to be?
How am I going to get there?
And although you can have a vision of where you’d like to be in 5 to 10 years you should be looking at the answers to these questions 12 months from now.
Its important, if you have a life partner, to do this goal setting with them otherwise you might find that your goals are inconsistent with theirs and therefore you’ll have little chance of achieving anything that makes both of you happy.
When setting goals it is important to set them for both your personal life and your business life because you cannot be happy in one and unhappy in the other. If you are to enjoy a balanced, fruitful and rewarding life then all aspects need to be in synchronicity.
I’d suggest that you aim to set 5 or 6 key goals for yourself, perhaps 3 business and 3 personal. I certainly don’t suggest that you set lots of goals because good time management teaches that it is difficult to manage any more than 5 extra tasks at one time. Far better to set fewer goals and, as you achieve them, devise new ones to replace them.
Basically, a good goal comes in a format of:
What do I want to achieve by when?
And to assist you in setting your goals its important that you know the SMART formula to remind you of the important components of well set goals. (I’ve mentioned what SMART means before but for the sake of completeness will repeat it here; if you know it, skip it!)
S is for specific and your goals should be as clearly defined as possible so that you know exactly what you are aiming to achieve without doubt or ambiguity.
M is for measurable because if you can’t measure it you can’t make it. Important in the goal achieving process is to reward yourself when you achieve a goal and, if you have no measure of success, you can’t achieve that.
A reminds us that our goals should be attainable and not so far out of reach that it is too big a stretch to achieve them…. its better always to set smaller goals and have the euphoria of achievement than the disappointment of failure.
R means relevant in that goals must be congruent with what you want to achieve in your life. There is no point setting a goal which may be nice to achieve but which has no impact on you attaining those things you want out of life.
T means time bound because every goal you set must have a deadline otherwise you can keep deferring them indefinitely. Once you put a time deadline on a goal you have something by which you can gauge your success.
Now there’s something you must do when you’ve set your goals and that is to commit them to paper because, once you’ve written them down you’ve got them set in concrete. You’ll not be as prone to change them as you may be if you just have them in your head.
Don’t be afraid to revise your goals due to changing circumstances but not because you are not achieving them. The only thing certain in life is change and, as a consequence, there is nothing wrong with adapting or modifying your goals to suit those changing circumstances.
The wonderful part of goal setting is that 60% of the effort is in setting those goals which means that only 40% of your effort is expended in achieving them. What this tells you is that, when you’ve set well balanced, meaningful goals to which you are committed, you are more than halfway to the success that you desire.
In setting your goals it’s good to have a few thoughts to ponder on about your ultimate objectives in life and you may find the answering the questions on the following pages helpful.