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Scoring Your Goals
by Ana L. Palles
Whether right brain or left brain, we all have skills that shine in particular areas. For many of us, the need to wear multiple hats exists whether we are self employed, part of a large corporation, or fall somewhere in between.
Often building prosperity and success in business is a bit of a challenge. If part of the corporate world, you could be among those workers stuck in a downsizing or abusive work environment. If you are an entrepreneur, you could be struggling with economic pressures and rapidly changing market conditions.
In either case, the path forward into a more prosperous future is surprisingly similar. Figuring out how to get to your objectives begins with identifying where you are today and what is your desired destination. Here are a few tips to help you start planning your next steps forward.
1. Identify your Goals
What is your Goal? Only you know it. You can't reach your target if you don't know what it is. Athletes are the role models in exemplifying this concept. All of them have a goal that they have set for themselves. It doesn't matter if it seems way out of reach, the goal is there and they focus on taking one more next step that will bring them that much closer to the end result.
In the corporate world, we hear about the importance of leadership and setting a vision. Your teams cannot deliver unless there is a clear idea of what the goal is. What does it look like? What are we trying to achieve? Is it bigger than a breadbox?
To arrive at your destination you must have a way of recognizing it once you get there. How do you know that you've succeeded? How do you know how much further you still have to go?
See the goal in your mind. You have to feel it, taste it and imagine yourself in it.
Sounds like we're talking about the principles of manifestation here? Yes, we are. All of these concepts are interrelated. Don't get hung up on buzz words or confusion about different tracks. Focus instead on the consistent message. Figure out what it is you want to accomplish. Identify those goals.
This could be as simple as stating a target sales goal, getting a better job, making black belt level in Karate, moving into a larger (or smaller) home, or becoming a premier customer service organization. Identify your goals and say them out loud. Say them a few more times. Is the picture getting clearer? Are you smiling? You should! You have a vision in your pocket and many a fortune has been made as a result of holding that vision front and center.
2. Write it Down
Whether you're the entrepreneur or an employee, it is important to articulate your goals and then hold them in front of you like a bright lantern. Start out by finding a restful place where you can sit quietly and meditate or simply daydream so that you can see yourself in the midst of your work day, accomplishing your stated goals.
Have a pad of paper next to you, or a pocket-sized digital recorder, so that you can capture your brainstorming. Write your goals down, talk to yourself, and explain them out loud.
Some people talk about having an elevator pitch ready about the project or business you are currently driving. The elevator pitch is nothing more than an exercise to get you to synthesize your goal statement down into a clear 30 second snapshot.
You have to express your goal in order for you to paint a picture for yourself and the others that are going to help you along the way.
3. List Values and Priorities
Now that you've figured out your goals, it is important to also understand your top priorities. List them out on the same sheet of paper as your goals. This list of priorities will become a checklist for you. You are defining a means to not only validate your goals, but to create a guide that will help you make future decisions.
For example, financial security might be one of your goals. Imagine that shortly after you've put this vision out into the world, you receive a job offer at your company representing more money and a promotion. However, this job requires extensive travel and an expectation of consistent overtime. If one of your priorities happens to be time with your family, the conflict between the goal and the value may result in a stressful situation.
An individual's core values are central to their being. Making a decision to go against these core values often result in ongoing internal conflict and stress which can translate into physical ailments. Be very careful here because sometimes the increase in the revenue stream can be negated by the additional expenses incurred with childcare and impacts to your health.
If, for example, you've been struggling with heavy debt burdens, accepting the job and coupling it with a debt elimination plan that places you in a financially stable place after a year, might be a good short-term step. In this scenario, it is critically important to work with financial experts as you transition into the planning phase. Tapping these experts is free in many communities. Take advantage of this help.
Remember, it is important to make a short list of your top values or priorities not only to validate your goals and objectives, but to refer to it later on as decisions need to be made. You will be surprised how key this step really is in helping to streamline your progress and decision-making process.
4. Your Plan
You have identified your goals, you've written them out and you have your list of values. Now you need to figure out how one begins to turn a goal into an accomplished reality.
Don't get overwhelmed. You have done this before. If you've ever followed a recipe or gotten hired for a job, you've already gone through the drill.
First things first. Get yourself a big piece of paper and some colored pens, pencils, or whatever you like to use to write and draw. We're going to have some fun.
At the top of the paper, write your goal and draw a little symbol for it. As an example, let's pretend that our goal is to build our dream home. Write the words "dream home" and then draw a small picture of a house around the words. That's at the top of the paper so an eye on it the entire time!
The next step is to begin brainstorming on the major components needed to build our dream house. We know we need blueprints, permits, foundation, framers, electricians, plumbers, graders, and many other things.
Make boxes all the way down the center of the paper with each of these words inside a box. Start with the first box you identified. Let us suppose it is the framer. Can the framer start right away? Of course not. Begin identifying what tasks might precede framing. The architecture, permits and the foundation engineers would come before. Of these, the architecture might well be the first task. Place a number 1 in the top right corner of the box and begin to draw lines from that box to the next step. This might be an engineering review, followed by construction permits.
You don't have to have a comprehensive list of boxes or remember to identify every single task. That comes later. The objective here is to begin drawing out for yourself something that gives you a visual representation of your next steps. You will find that once you get this first draft down, you will feel a huge sense of satisfaction that you have taken an abstract idea and begun creating the structure that will support its fruition.
The same technique applies for any other goal you wish to accomplish. Take for example, becoming financially solvent. You may want to write those words and then draw a dollar bill around it in green marker. Make it bold and bright!
Think of all the positive steps that will help you reach your goal. For example, speak with a debt counselor and arrange for automatic repayments. Or, go after that better paying job you've been eyeing. Make it bright, colorful and positive!
5. Your Affirmation
Motivational speakers remind us that what we think about expands and that we attract what we ask for. It is for this reason that we are taught to focus on seeing our accomplishments, expressing our gratitude for everything that we have, and letting go of what no longer serves us in our life. This can be toxic relationships, jobs and even clutter in our homes.
Money or financial success is often a primary concern for many of us. For some, there is a tendency to dip into what is termed a poverty consciousness.
This has less to do with the actual amount of money that you have and more to do with attitude and fear. How many times have you heard about people who, as children, lived in a one-bedroom apartment, with a large family, in a poor neighborhood, and yet spent most of their childhood years not realizing that they were poor?
How many times have we read in the newspaper about someone who dies living in abject poverty and then it is discovered that the person was worth millions?
Poverty consciousness is fear that we won't have enough and that there isn't enough for everyone. People that are gripped by this fear never do have enough. It is not a healthy nor success-producing approach to life.
You can begin to change your attitudes and your relationships to your fears by creating affirmations around your goals. Take that same piece of paper on which you wrote out your goals and values, and across the bottom, write an affirmation for each goal in bold, bright script. Some examples might be
- I accomplish what I set out to do.
- I love my life and the people I share it with.
- I am skillful and smart.
- I know how to achieve my goals.
One last thought. Focus first on sketching out a big picture. Use bold, bright strokes when creating an image for your future. You will find that it is not all that hard later on to fill in the details. Sometimes, you may even find that you have unexpected help come along. Perhaps a friend or partner comes along that begins drawing a picture in a vague corner of that big master plan. Somehow, unexpectedly, they create beautiful threads with which to weave a complete picture. No one said the road had to be traveled alone. Trust in yourself and trust in your process.
We all need a helping hand, and refreshment for the heart.
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