The last part has to with the actual achievement, so let's use a historical event to put all of this in to perspective. At one point in history, man made the decision to go to the moon. To be more specific it was to go to the moon and bring him back. If you think about this goal it certainly fits the criteria that I laid out in part one doesn't it? Know what you want! We had the specifics, we had the by when, the what, we even had the why, and we all knew how much it would suck if we didn't beat the Russians, right? All of that played into an emotionally charged goal that not only charged up the people directly involved, but it charged up the whole country. When John Kennedy got up in front of all those people at Rice University and publicly said we choose to go to the moon, that certainly was a commitment to be and do whatever it takes, wasn't it? So all of the aspects of step one are in place.
The second step is Take Action...NOW! Think of all the people that were involved in the project. Just from a numbers scale there was massive action taking place. Think of the deadlines that needed to be met, especially in light of the underlying need and massive desire to beat the Russians to the moon and back. I don't know if you've ever seen the mini series on HBO "From The Earth to The Moon", but it is fascinating the massive amounts of thought and activity and learning that occurred to make the mission a success. Once everything was in place, think of the massive effort to simply launch the rocket and pull away from gravity.
The third step is to KEEP ON KEEPING ON! Another reason so many people fail to reach their dreams and goals is that they quit, and the reason they quit is that things don't go smoothly. Imagine all of the setbacks that the scientists had to endure and learn from and overcome to get everything ready for that first trip to the moon and back. If you ever get to watch a documentary about the moon shot, I highly recommend it. It's a fascinating tale of how to achieve anything in life. So what's the big deal with setbacks and bumps in the road. The real big deal is that most people, for some reason, don't expect them. Most people have this notion that success is a straight line from point A to point Z with smooth tracks on a relatively flat terrain with regular stops for bathroom and leg stretch breaks at every letter from B to Y. The truth is very different than that. The truth for ALL of us reaching for something BIG is that not only will the path be bumpy, curvy and all that. The truth is that the whole trip we'll need to lay the tracks and put down pavement while we're in motion. Using the moon shot example, not only did the people on that project have to overcome all sorts of adversity just to launch, once they did launch that wasn't a straight shot either. It was constantly adjusting, sometimes by a little and sometimes by a lot, to get them from here to the moon. Once they got there, it was a whole new ordeal to get back.
So here are the points for Step 3.
- Create a system of accountability.
- Resolve up front that you will succeed and you will never quit.
- Learn with every success and setback
- Am I getting closer or farther?
- What's working?
- What's not working?
If you do those things, eventually you'll reach Step 4 Success! Once you've reached your destination there are things to be done as well. Remember to CELEBRATE! Take the time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Take the time to reflect on the journey that you've just taken and all that you've learned.
As the directions on the shampoo bottle says, rinse and repeat. Set your next goal. There's no better time to set another goal than fresh off the victory of accomplishing a goal. If you sit around and wait, I promise you that you'll get lethargic, again. The best thing you can do is to set the next goal, and repeat the steps...on to the next thing.
Having said all that, consider this for a moment. A while back I heard someone say that the most important part about setting and achieving goals isn't even about crossing them off the list. The greatest benefit of getting after Big Hairy Audacious Goals or BHAGs is the person you will inevitably become in the process getting after them. It certainly has been that for me. This is a picture of me when I was about 24. I'm the one on the left. By the time this picture was taken, that kid on the left had already attended a handful of seminars and workshops and had big dreams and goals, but he also really cared mostly about drinking a lot of beer. As a matter of fact I'm pretty sure this was taken just before a huge party we threw that night for my friend Philip. When I look at this picture and I contrast that to who I am today, I'm amazed at the difference.
You see, the truth is that time is ticking away all the time. Eventually five years will go by and then ten. Next thing you know twenty then forty years will have gone by. I think about all of these people I see around who all had some dream or goal, but never learned to get after it. Making excuses or justifying their reasons why they had to wait became their inertia. They never set out on that journey of discovery, and because they never took the first step they never found out who they could become. Don't let that be you. Work the steps. Know what you want. Take action, now. Keep on keeping on. Succeed. Repeat. If you make this a part of your life you'll find that The Ultimate Success Formula really does work, even if you never actually hit any of your goals. How is that possible? I'm not saying don't hit your goals, hit all of them, most of them, some of them. But the greatest benefit you'll receive is that you'll discover who you really are, and that's an experience that no amount of achievement could ever replace.
Until next time...