You can do anything.
Small business owners, like everyone, need large and ongoing doses of inspiration to keep them on track and in the right mindset. With that in mind, a number of years back I read a stack of motivational books. I really connected with how energizing they could be. To help condense and clarify what I thought were some of the most important points regarding goal achievement, I wrote the piece below and put it into distribution through my social networks. And people shared back that they liked and appreciated it.
Now as the calendar quickly slides into 2014, I felt it made sense to revisit the piece and put it out there once again. I think it has particular relevance to folks like me, business owners who face each day with a mountain of challenges and decisions and threats and opportunities, each seemingly destined to make or break the businesses we work so hard on each day. We’re very lucky to have the freedoms we have, but those freedoms can come with the feeling that we aren’t in control of our fate. By following the 7 steps I outline below — we not only control but mold our fate. You have no limits, in work or in life. You really can do anything.
To begin, here are 11 important points to remember:
1. Simply put, if you truly want to do something, either in business or in life, you will. Just make sure you’re serious, fully committed, and really want to achieve what you set out to do.
2. Never, ever think you’re not smart enough, or strong enough, or deserving enough. That’s faulty programming inflicted on you from your past, so toss it out. Those who achieve great things – or anything, for that matter — do so because of perseverance and discipline, and each and every one of us can develop those traits. It just takes work. If you’re disciplined, and you keep pushing forward, and you never quit, then you will succeed.
3. Pick what you want to do. Then do it. Repeat after me: If you really want it, you will do it. Say that three times in a row, each day. And learn to believe it, because it’s the truth.
4. Never, ever make excuses for your failures, or blame others. It’s because of you. That’s great news, because you have the power to change it.
5. Stop thinking. Start doing. No one ever is defined by their good intentions, but rather what they’ve done about them.
6. Chronicle your journey. I know, you hate doing that, but it really is helpful. Log your progress, your successes, your slipups. Write them in a journal. Or keep a blog about them if you’d like to share your experiences. Whatever suits you best.
7. Fall out of love with easy. Nothing worthwhile is easy. If you run a startup, if you’re married, or are a parent, or have family, or friends, or work, or go to school…..pretty much if you breathe air, then you know what I mean and you know it’s true.
8. Reduce time to small components. Think about today only, because that’s all that matters, and that’s all you have to work with. Do what you need to do today to work towards your goal. Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow.
9. Don’t beat yourself up for missing a day in your regimen. Beat yourself up for missing two days, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
10. Every day that you fulfill the promise you made to yourself, you will feel great. Every day you blow it, you’ll feel awful. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s much, much, much better to feel great.
11. If you turn the statement above into a rationale to quit because you’re blowing it too much and you’re sick of feeling awful, then we go right back to number 1: you didn’t want it enough. So that means you’re just not at a point in your life to tackle the goal.
Follow the plan you’ll create below. It’s simple, and if you follow these steps, you will succeed.
1. I want to ______________ (fill in what you want to achieve….Be more effective in my business. Get more customers. Be a better parent. Learn a new language. Run a 5k. Improve my golf game. Learn to play the drums. And so on.)
2. Here’s what I specifically need to do to achieve my goal: (Develop 2 new accounts per quarter. Play catch with my son and daughter on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday. Buy a Rosetta Stone “Learn Italian” program. Run every second day, eventually getting to three miles).
3. Today I will (specifically):
4. Every succeeding day I will (specifically):
5. In one month I will be this far in my goal:
6. In two months I will be this far in my goal:
7. In three months I will be this far in my goal:
At the end of three months, congratulate yourself on your successes, and reflect on what you learned. Maybe even take a short break (but not if you’re being a better parent, that’s 24/7). Then revisit your goals, and modify them as you move forward to the next level. Your goals might shift somewhat, and you might need to change your direction.
Repeat. Keep at it, with focus and perseverance, and you’ll achieve whatever it is you want.
And if you don’t, then you really, truly didn’t want it enough, now did you?
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