There’s a very good chance that you struggle to achieve your goals, and the problem is not you. It’s how you see your goals.
Most of us, when we set out to accomplish something have very vague goals. Things like I want to start a business, or I want to be financially stable, are wonderful things to aspire to. But, these are the kinds of goals that will never be accomplished unless we do one key thing.
Two years ago I was mentoring a young man that had a vision of “being in business”.
We talked for a while and I discovered that In his culture, being a “businessman” was highly regarded. That was why he wanted to be in business.
Then we worked on defining what kind of business. Was it a restaurant, does your company make a product? Do you provide a service? The term business is very broad, and in order for him to accomplish his goal, he needed to narrow his focus.
Once we had his vision in focus, we were able to clarify his plan, and how he would monitor his progress. His plan was dependent on his business, and the plan for a restaurant is very different than a plan for a product or service-based business. We also considered any obstacles that could potentially steer him off course.
Finally, we worked on controlling his frame of reference. Knowing where to direct his attention improved his ability to communicate his vision, improve collaboration and attract resources to his business.
Now, he and his partners have a company that provides a service to the global hospitality industry and have attracted investors that provided millions of dollars in start-up funding.
When I decided to go back to school and finish my degree, I used the same framework.
- Why: I wanted to finish something that I wasn’t able to complete when I was younger, and I did it for my own personal satisfaction.
- Each term, I would begin by narrowing my focus to only the courses in that semester.
- Once I had my focus, I created more clarity by developing my plan for the semester and setting up how I would monitor my progress.
- I created a plan to not only do the work, but how I performed on assignments, and exams. I knew exactly where I stood at all times.
- I controlled my frame of reference by continually looking at my plan and my progress. I would visualize success through each term.
- Even when obstacles came along, like the pandemic, and a medical emergency that required surgery toward the end of my second to last semester, I was able to bring in the support of my professors and classmates and together we accomplished our individual goals and our collective goals.
Every time I embark on a challenging goal I start by narrowing my focus. There are a number of tools that can help with this, and my favourite is Asana where I can create goals, projects, and tasks to be completed.
Here’s how I used it to clarify my plan and monitor my progress during my three years at school:
- My big goal was to finish my degree with an 80% average.
- Within that goal, each course has its own project.
- At the beginning of each term, for each course project, I would create tasks for each assignment, project, and exam.
- Each task would be given a start and a due date.
- As each task was completed, it would get checked off, which gave me real-time feedback on my progress.
I controlled my frame of reference by looking at my plan and progress daily. The closer I got to the end of the term, the more focused I became.
This did two things:
- it helped me to see how close I was to accomplishing what I wanted, and
- it helped reduce the stress that so many people experience as the term was coming to an end.
I could see that there were only a few items to complete for each course. That raised my energy level and reduced my stress
This process is completely transferrable and I’ve used it successfully to help my clients achieve financial stability, and grow their businesses.
What are your big goals?
Are they to start a business, or to achieve financial stability?
Are you struggling to complete them?
It might be that you just need narrow your focus, clarify your plan, monitor progress, and control your frame of reference.