When people talk about success, many think in terms of financial success or fame. But what about the true hallmarks of success?
Nobody knows the secret to guaranteeing success in life and business. If they did they would wrap it up, chuck a bow on it and sell it to the world. Like I said nobody knows the secret, we do however have an idea of what it takes to get there in the long run.
If you ask some of the most successful people in the world what their goals are they aren’t going to list sales targets and profit margins. They will tell you what they hope their business can achieve but also what they hope they can achieve personally. For example, everyone’s favourite billionaire Mark Zuckerberg sets himself one personal development goal each year. In 2014 he set himself the goal to teach himself speak Mandarin and by the end of the year was able to deliver a 30-minute speech in the Chinese language.
If you look at your business only in terms of increasing your wealth, you could set any goal and make it happen, and then walk away with a hefty portfolio. But it does not work like that.
The trick is to align the two. When you are clear on your goals, and these goals feel good on a gut level because they’re aligned with your values, you’ll find it easier to make strategic decisions about where and how to focus your energy and time.
If I asked you what you want out of life and what you want out of your business, could you give me a clear answer right here on the spot? Most of us cannot, and that’s why we flounder. Identifying exactly what you want personally and in business, is difficult but important work.
Most people will talk about their goals like this: “I want a university degree, and I want to master (my field of interest)…”
Let me challenge this thought process with a simple question every two-year-old loves to ask:
Why do you want a university degree? Why do you want to master something you’re passionate about? Why?
Goals like getting a university degree are “means goals” and not “end goals.” You do not get a university degree just for fun (usually); you get it so that you… ah, there’s the real goal. The challenge is identifying the real goal and training yourself to think in terms of that goal.
Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People suggests, “Begin with the end in mind.” Fast-forward to the point of achievement. WHY did you want to do this? What compelled you? What’s your core reason for being in business in the first place?
I’m willing to bet you have “some” idea of what you want out of life, but you have not yet put pen to paper and made it real. I strongly encourage you to do that now by thinking about your “why.” You can apply this process both to your personal and to your business goals:
1. Who are you? Ask yourself:
How would my colleagues, friends and family describe me?
What am I most proud of?
What are my strengths and talents?
What can’t I stop thinking about? What do I love to talk about?
What would I spend my time doing if money were no object?
What lights my fire? What motivates me?
How do I fill the space where I live?
What do I spend my time doing? How much of my free time is spent on my passions?
What do I spend my money on?
Where am I the most disciplined?
2. What do you want in life? These are more “states of being” than actual goals, although they can be thought of as goals, as well. Your values serve as the foundation of your life – the reasons you do what you do and want what you want. In business, these are the values that will generate success. Some people value financial security; others value free time, or community service and contribution; others cannot live without the ability to express themselves artistically.
What are three things most important to you? These are the non-negotiables, the life experiences you refuse to compromise on. Choose from this list, but don’t limit yourself to this if you have values that are your own:
|Relationship with children and family
|Owning your own business
Ideally, the top three get 80% of your time and energy. Look at your self-awareness exercise and match your values to your self-awareness answers. This will help clarify your business goals so you can chart a course aligned with your passions, desires, strengths and values.
Your values inspire you to action and ultimately drive your success. As they say, “Do what you love and success will follow.” Now that you have matched your attributes to your values, you can start to create business goals that will be fueled by your passions and your values.
Promise yourself that fear won’t stop you from setting big goals. As Richard Branson said, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.” Don’t wait for a time that you feel entirely comfortable or confident to complete the task as it may be too late.
Think not about your fear but about your WHY. What else motivates you to take the first step, to pull long hours, cope with setbacks and frustrations, figure things out as you go and persevere until you’ve achieved success? Let that be your driving force!