Goal Setting is the First Step toward Success

What will 2010 bring?  Will you determine your success or will distractions – e.g. the economy, competition, healthcare, Afghanistan, or life in general – determine your destination?  You are either driving toward your destination or being moved by the circumstances of life towards destinations unknown.  Yogi Berra said it best: “If you don’t know where you are going, you will end up somewhere else.”

I have spoken many times about the five key ingredients for success:

1)      Belief – You’ve got to believe in you, your company, products, etc;

2)      Goals – Know where you are going;

3)      Burning Desire – An attitude to get the job done;

4)      Wisdom – You must always seek the wisdom of experience; and

5)      Time – The cultivation process is what causes people stress.

January is an opportune time to reflect, evaluate and reassess one’s GOALS.  Unfortunately, this discipline is absent in the masses.  People do not lack the discipline to focus, they lack the skill of discernment; consequently, most people are focused on the distractions of life instead of their personal destination.

The best way to set your course and know your destination is by establishing your GOALS.  To most people the word “GOAL” is the dirtiest little four-letter word in the dictionary.  However, if you want to get into the success curve, you must write your GOALS.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy idea. There is no such thing as a “worthy idea” that unethically takes from others.  Though focusing on your goals may sound a little selfish, it is in fact personal accountability, i.e. using your talents and opportunities for their highest and best use.  Where personal accountability abounds, the whole culture is transformed. Remember, if you correct the man, you will correct society.

A.L. Williams describes the competitive marketplace this way: “You can beat 50 percent of the people by being honest, you can beat the next 40 percent with hard work – it is the last 10 percent where the dogfight begins.”  If your desire to be in the fight is strong enough, you can beat 97 percent of that 10 percent by setting goals and applying the other four ingredients to those goals.

Think about a sailboat, if you do not have a rudder or sail the boat will go wherever the wind and currents push it, however a rudder will allow you to go exactly where you desire and a sail gets you there faster.  Your goals are the rudder of your life.  The question becomes are you being pushed by the wind and currents until you eventually crash, or is your rudder in the water, with your hand firmly on the handle and your sails hoisted high?

Imagine you are driving to Mount Rushmore – the destination is your goal.  Will you encounter obstacles along the way?  Detours and obstacles do not determine if you will arrive or not.  Your persistence and determination will show you how to overcome each obstacle thrown in your path and stay on course to accomplish your goal.  Knowing why you are going to Mount Rushmore is more important than how; you will figure out how if you know why.

The bullet is an excellent example of setting goals.  When shooting a rifle at a target, the closer your target (short-term goals) the more laser-focused your aim.  If you set a series of proper short-term goals they will add up to accomplishing the long-term goal.  The further away (long-term goal) the higher you must aim to allow for the drop of the bullet over the distance.  You must aim higher than your target.  Now aim (determine your worthy idea), fire (get started with passion) and proceed with the speed of burning desire to accomplish your goal, and travel directly through any obstacles.  A bullet is moving so fast it has no time to notice the distractions; it arrives where aimed.  Eric Wright commented, “Successful people realize that distractions are only visible when your eyes are off the target.”

It does not matter if you are the secretary, office manager, courier, vice president or CEO, you must personally set goals and corporately set goals.  I will never forget the story of a garbage collector named Ernest.  People would stand outside of their houses waiting on their garbage to be picked up.  Ernest would make their day with his smile and warm greetings of, “Hello, you have a wonderful day.”  When asked, “Why are you so happy, you’re a garbage collector?”  Ernest replied, “My goal is to be the world’s best garbage collector and the only way to do that is to make everyone’s day a little better.”

Now that’s a worthy idea being progressively realized!