Every occurrence in life is based on probabilities. If, for example, you flip a coin in the air, there's a 50/50 chance of it landing on heads or tails. And the same truth applies to extraordinary success at work or even at home. Certain actions have a low probability of bringing about success, while other activities are very likely to work out.
That being the case, I've noticed that EVERY highly successful person sets goals and then follows a procedure that turns those goals into the payoffs they want. So it's time to ask yourself a question. Do you have goals written down for today, tomorrow, six weeks from now, six months from now, and six years from now? I hope so ... because your level of success is almost perfectly correlated with your willingness and ability to set goals and on your discipline for taking action on those goals. Here are five steps to get you started:
1. Think about tomorrow ... today.
The past has one primary purpose ... to teach you something. That's it. Learn from it and move on.
Humorist Will Rogers said, "Don't let yesterday take up too much of today." He knew if you spend too much of your time thinking about the "If only's ... If only I had a better education ... If only I didn't have this awful job ... If only I had a better partner ... or whatever," you're basically stuck. You're not moving toward the fulfillment of any new goals.
Think about the goals you want to achieve in the future, but think about them today and every day.
2. Free up your imagination.
Most people fail to become as successful as they could be because they suffer from a clamped-down imagination. They can't imagine they could do more, be more, or have more. But when you learn how to free up that part of your brain, amazingly powerful things happen.
After Dennis Wicklund, the Treasury Manager for the United Health Group, attended the "Journey to the Extraordinary," he told me, "I had heard about the goal-setting, self-talk techniques you were teaching and I thought it was some kind of weird 'new-age' stuff. Not at all. You told me exactly how the mind works, how to feed it the goals I wanted to achieve, stay positive, and achieve more goals than ever before. The entire 'Journey' was wonderful, but your goal-setting, self-talk techniques were Great, Great, Great. I'm a better person for this. And I'll have to admit I felt like a sponge when you were talking. Your insights were fascinating, and your techniques have changed my life on and off the job."
It's what a freed-up imagination will do for you. When Disney World was opened in Florida, a tourist came up to Mike Vance, the Creative Director at Disney headquarters, and said, "Isn't it too bad that Walt didn't live to see all this?" Vance replied, "He DID. That's why it's here."
By contrast, if you don't have a freed-up imagination, you won't achieve the great goals you could have achieved. When Walt Disney bought his first plot of land in Anaheim for what would eventually become Disneyland, he asked his friend Art Linkletter to walk the property with him. After explaining his goals and vision, Disney asked Linkletter if he'd like to go in on the deal. Linkletter said no, that he would pass on this investment. Years later, Linkletter would say that every step he took back to his car that day cost him $3 million.
3. Dedicate yourself to quality.
Goal setting and goal achieving is not some sloppy, haphazard, I'll-get-to-it-when-I-feel-like-it activity. No. As I discuss in my upcoming book, "The Payoff Principle," the real Producers in life produce real results because they know "good-enough" is never "good enough." They are dedicated to quality.
What does that mean? That could be a whole seminar. But in part, quality comes from loving what you do. As we finish the winter Olympics, I'm reminded of Bonnie Blair who won five gold medals for speed skating in the 92 Olympics. Whenever she was interviewed, no matter what the question, Bonnie would answer, "I LOVE to skate." And when Larry King, who has interviewed every famous person in the world during his 40-year TV career, was asked if all these people had anything in common, he said, "Yes. They all have a passion for what they do. They all love what they do."
But dedicating yourself to quality also means dedicating yourself to hard work. Even though I'm sometimes called a "motivational speaker," the title makes me cringe just a little. Too many of the so-called "motivational speakers" seem to imply that you can have anything you want without having to work for it. Not true. As author and pastor Robert Schuller indicated, "Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation."
4. Stick to it.
Disney even created his own word for this ... sticktoativity. It was his way of saying, "Hang in there. Keep on. Persist. Refuse to give up." Without it, your dreams aren't going to be realized. Period!
Vicky Ernster, a Benefit Specialist for the Olmsted Medical Center, said, "At your 'Journey to the Extraordinary' program, I learned how to define my goals, write out my goals, and then stick with them until they were accomplished. In addition to that, I got so many techniques on how I can deal with my employees and family members starting with the implementation of a customer-service attitude. This stuff works."
5. Have fun as you work on your goals.
You might think the great Producers in life are those who do nothing but work. I mentioned work and persistence in points 3 and 4 above, but that's just a part of the story. Great Producers have always balanced the achievement of their goals with fun. In fact, I would even argue that those Producers had the energy to achieve so many of their goals because they made sure they had fun in the process.
Whenever President Teddy Roosevelt's children left the Oval Office, he would shout after them, "Have fun." When Billy Graham, who has preached to more people than any other person in history, was celebrating his 75th birthday, he was asked what he wanted to be remembered for. He replied, "I want to be remembered as a person who was fun to live with."
And when the media bashed First Lady Barbara Bush for being overweight and a bit dowdy ... compared to her predecessor, the fashion-conscious Nancy Reagan, Barbara had fun with that. Mrs Bush said, "Nancy Reagan adores her husband and I adore mine. Nancy fights drugs; I fight illiteracy. Nancy is a size 3 and so is my leg."
You've heard people say you can have everything you want in life. That's a bit of a stretch. But you can have almost everything you want in life ... IF you know how to set goals and then implement the correct steps. Try these for starters.