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Posts Tagged ‘Goals’

Most people start the new year setting goals conveniently disguised as New Year’s resolutions. However, people who do this are focused on the wrong thing. Before they set their goals or resolutions, it behooves them to first establish a North Star.

 

polaris-north-starJust as it is used in nautical terms, your North Star is a fixed point you can use to guide your life and ensure that you are heading in the right direction. It can serve as an unshakeable marker that will guide you through the turbulent waters of your life.

 

With that in mind, before setting your goals it is beneficial to think about and declare your North Star. If you don’t, you are essentially sailing rudderless, aimlessly floating in an ocean of possibility hoping you will reach a destination you desire. Or even worse, you may end up setting goals that are not aligned with your North Star, thus setting a course in the “wrong” direction.

 

My inspiring friend Dan Galperin (www.manpowerproject.com) once asked me a question that serves as a beautiful and fun way to establish your North Star. He asked:

 

What are the 5 impossible goals of a lifetime that would blow your mind?

 

Once you have declared these lifetime goals, they can serve as your North Star and guide your annual goals. Your goals each year should align with, support, and further your North Star – even if by just a few small steps at a time.

Here are the 5 Impossible Lifetime Goals I declared this year as I set my North Star.

  1. Plant 10,000 trees.
  2. Have $5 million in the bank.
  3. Become a Best-selling author.
  4. Be in a relationship with a stunningly attractive (inside and out), amazingly sensual, incredibly spiritual woman.
  5. Speak in front of 10,000 people.

Rather than struggle with your New Year’s resolutions this year, most of which are broken because they are not inspired by a person’s North Star, why not start 2017 by electrifying your life with a declaration of your North Star!

 

“Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a year.”

– Matthew Kelly (& Bill Gates)

 

When dealing with goals, especially lifetime goals, don’t get overwhelmed by the magnificence you are declaring for yourself. You do not need to accomplish everything by tomorrow. Thinking that way is a sure recipe for frustration, which will likely lead to you giving up.

 

Rather, take your time and design a thoughtful, measured plan taking you from Point A (January) to Point B (December). Break your goals into smaller milestones which you can accomplish over the course of the whole year. By doing so, you will ensure your success and witness exhilarating progress toward your dreams.

 

This is the best way to succeed for the year . . . and your lifetime!

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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A few weeks ago I met with a new client who shared an immensely valuable distinction, especially for this time of year. The client has a $60 million business, wants to grow it to $100 million, and then consistently keep it performing at that level.

 

As you can imagine, this CEO is really busy. He is intensely focused on building and managing his business, not to mention the many additional commitments he has to his family, friends and other interests.

 

Not surprisingly, during one of our early conversations he talked about the challenge of managing all the demands on his time – the competing needs of the business, the infinite requests people make of him, etc.

 

He then shared a distinction that I thought was brilliant . . . and a bit painful to admit. He talked about being busy vs. having priorities.

 

He shared that all too often people say they didn’t get to something because they were busy. Not only did that sound reasonable, but I have to admit that I say that quite often myself. Then he pointed out that we really aren’t “busy,” but rather have other priorities, and YOU or your request isn’t one of them at the moment.

 

If you are like me, I imagine you just cringed. That is a very difficult message to hear. It is even harder to say to someone. It sounds quite harsh. Yet, after thinking about it, that is the truth of what we are really saying when we tell someone we are busy.

 

The words I often say to people echoes in my head – “Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I’ve been really busy.” In some ways, I wear that as a badge of honor, indicating that my business, or life, is going well. However, in thinking more honestly about the underlying truth here, what I really mean is, “Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, but I had other priorities I needed to tend to.”

 

I realize this truth has some sharp edges to it, but the reality is we simply just don’t have time for everything. We have to choose. This is particularly important at this time of year, when many of us are thinking about and setting our goals. We must choose which priorities we will focus on, and which must fall by the wayside, for we simply can’t get to all the things that place demands on our time.

 

If you wish to have a phenomenal 2016, one that is both satisfying and fulfilling, then be sure your focus is on the priorities that will have you achieve what you truly desire.

 
Your priorities aren’t what you SAY they are. They are revealed by how you LIVE.

– Unknown
 

Don’t let the excuse of being “busy” keep you from doing what you enjoy or achieving what you want most.

 

Of course, to do the above you must take some time to understand what you most want this year and get clarity on your priorities. Don’t let another week go by where you have not taken 20 minutes to think about this. That short 20 minute investment will pay dividends all year long!

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.
 
 
Speaking of priorities, here is a fun little video with a test that I found pretty accurate in terms of determining your priorities in life.
 

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I always wanted to master the ability to do HANDstands. They just seem like so much fun and an expression of strength and balance.

 

However, before I could do a HANDstand, I decided I should probably master a HEADstand. I felt it was a stepping stone since you have to be upside down for both. And I decided to master this one step at a time. First I would master HEADstands using the wall as a support, then I would master free-standing headstands, and finally I would move on to handstands.

 

I accomplished the first step pretty easily. I gave myself 3 months to figure it out, but I had it down inside of a week. I felt quite confident knowing the wall was always there to support and “catch” me.

 

Step two I found much harder. I could be free from the wall for a few seconds at a time, but then my balance would falter and my feet would always fall back to it for support and reassurance.

 

I spent at least 3 months in this space, making little, if any, progress. I would last a few seconds away from the crutch of the wall, but without fail, my feet fell back to it, or worse, I fell out of the headstand all together. I was getting quite discouraged and wondered if I would ever succeed.

 

Then the happy accident occurred.

 

HeadStand 1One day while I was doing a headstand, it just felt right to stretch out my body as long as I could make it. As I was inverted, I decided to lengthen and tighten my core, and stretch my legs as far to the ceiling as I could make them go. And that’s when it happened.

 

I suddenly felt a balance, strength and centeredness I had never felt before. The next thing I knew, I could do a free standing headstand away from the wall for several seconds, maybe even 10 seconds!

 

Something about stretching my body out, tightening my core, and reaching for the ceiling with my feet was the secret to finding balance and mastering this next stage. I hardly noticed it when it first happened, but then I realized this was the key to achieving the next stage.

 

Often, success does not happen with a big epiphany or a grandiose “Eureka!” moment. More times than not, success happens with a barely perceptible, small, incremental difference or shift you make in your efforts.

 

If you have been struggling with a success in your life, rather than frustrate yourself by trying to make a big leap, I encourage you think about a small change you can make. Then pay close attention to the results, for it may produce a surprising result.

 

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’, but ‘Hmm, that’s funny…

– Isaac Asimov

 

Too often we focus only on the big eureka moment, thinking that taking big steps will get us to our goal faster. But more times than not, the small, almost imperceptible changes are the ones that open the doorway to the success we desire.

 

Often times, we stumble across these successes after many, many attempts. One of the the biggest differentiators between success and failure is determination. It took Edison thousands of tries to develop a battery. But he never was discouraged by his failed attempts. Instead, his perspective was, “I have not failed. I’ve just found thousands of ways that won’t work.”

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.
 
 

To see how these small, barely perceptible incremental differences matter and can be the difference between a champion and . . . whoever comes in second, check out the video below.

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When Gary Vaynerchuk was a little boy, he dreamed of being incredibly rich. Actually, for him it wasn’t a dream as much as it was a foregone conclusion. It was just something he KNEW was going to happen.

 

Last month I had the opportunity to hear Gary speak, and not surprisingly, his dream came true. He took his family wine business from $3 million to $60 million a year by leveraging his abilities and the never-ending marketing tools the internet creates to reach customers – email, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. He has since parlayed his success into a venture capital firm and a social media agency of 500 employees.

 

And he is not done.

 

Within the first minute of his talk, Gary joked about buying the NY Jets football team. It was a joke because . . . well, the Jets are a joke and in bad need of good leadership. It is not uncommon to poke fun of the Jets here in the New York City area.

 

But then he mentioned the Jets again. And then again. And once more. It soon became clear that he was not joking. This is a real goal and dream of Gary’s: buy the Jets and resurrect them into a Superbowl champion, creating the same success with them as he has done with his family wine business and other businesses he invested in.

 

And this is no small dream! We are talking about an investment of just over $1 billion. And he will do it. Of that I have no doubt. He talks about it with the same confidence and certainty he had when he was a kid and just KNEW he was going to be incredibly rich.

 

Today, the dream of owning the Jets is what fuels Gary. It inspires him, excites him, provides him with laser-like focus, and gives him the energy of a giddy child.

 
dreams1

Hearing his story got me thinking about our childhood dreams. I think so many of our authentic childhood dreams have been crushed because these days the American dream seems to be all about making a jillion dollars or finding celebrity on the web and reality TV.

 

The problem, however, is that I think that is a fictionalized characterization of the American dream that we finally need to let go of. I think our true dreams have been hijacked by this incessant message that success = making a jillion dollars.

 

Your dream doesn’t have to be about money or celebrity – not that there is anything wrong with an awesome dream like that. What is important, however, is that the dream is about YOU.

 

What is YOUR dream? Or was your dream growing up?

 

I remember as a 12-year-old in 7th grade I wrote this amazing poem about the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord. I was surprised by the positive response I received to my writing and in that moment I realized I wanted to be a writer. My dream was to be a best-selling author.

 

And here is what I have learned from years and years of NOT fulfilling that dream.

 

Until we go after that dream, the one we have always known and felt deep in our soul, we will never feel the peace and sense of accomplishment we crave. We will always be chasing the wrong thing, and when we catch it, we will still feel unsatisfied.

 

Stop chasing after the things you don’t truly desire.

 

Thanks to Gary, I added a new goal to my 2015 goals – finish the book I started writing 10 years ago.

 

What dream will you finish this year?

 

Hope is a beautiful thing. I have built a career off of it. But it sucks as a plan.

– Rich Largman

 

I struggled with focusing on dreams for this post. The truth is, I feel like the term dream is a bit “tired” these days. It feels like a Disney cliche and it has lost the meaning and power it once held. As soon as you mention the word dream, people relate to it as something that might never come true, or worse, is not suppose to come true. It is something we are supposed to always chase, and at best, it will be very difficult to bring to fruition.

 

However, dreams are really just goals we have not put a plan behind. That is the real secret. More times than not, fulfilling a dream is not about divine intervention or an amazing stroke of luck. It is about having a clear idea of what you want, putting a plan in place and putting in the hard work to make it a reality.

 

Read how this applies to your business here.

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When I work with clients, at some point during our work together I will ask them what their goals are or what they believe gets in the way of them accomplishing their goals. It is not unusual for their first response to be, “I don’t know.”
 
These are the three most disempowering words in the English language!
 
When my clients respond with these words, without fail, I will challenge them and suggest that they actually do know and the only reason they are saying they don’t is so that they don’t have to do anything.   Their response allows them to hang out in a nebulous cloud of uncertainty.
 
Lost and Confused SignpostBut the truth is, “I don’t know” is nothing more than a smokescreen that allows people to stay stuck and not move forward. It gives them an excuse to pretend they don’t know what to do or what they truly want. It is a way of keeping them safe in their comfort zone.
 
 
I believe the reason we do this is because in reality, we humans are amazing beings! Deep down we actually know that we are capable of accomplishing whatever we set our minds to. And I think we are afraid of that. Once we declare what we want, we almost always achieve it! I have seen this proven over and over again for the past 15 years by my clients.
 
The trick, of course, is knowing what we want. Once we identify what we want and declare our goals, we begin to move toward them and achieve success. It’s just who we are and how we are built. And it is AWESOME!!
 
So stop pretending that you don’t know what you want in your life or business. If you don’t know, or you pretend not to know, that opens the door for one of 2 things to happen, neither of which you will be happy with.

  1. You will stay stuck and your frustration will grow.
  2. Someone else will define for you what you want.

Thankfully, as always, the solution here is not rocket science. Simply take some time to sit by yourself, quiet the mind, be honest with yourself, turn off any “voice in your head” that might be influencing you – other than your own – and answer these questions:

 

  • What do you REALLY want?
  • What will make you happy/smile?
  • If you knew you or your team could not fail, what would you do?

 

Believe it or not, it is that simple.
 
If you don’t run your life, someone else will.

Anonymous

 

Pretending you don’t know what you want, or not taking the time to find out, is a surefire recipe for frustration in your life. There are enough obstacles in life that will inhibit you from having what you desire. No need for you to be one of those obstacles.
 
The good news is that if you find yourself to be an obstacle, it is the one you have the greatest control over removing from your path to success.
 
(Stay tuned! Next month I will share the 3 Most Powerful Words in the English language!)
 

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This past fall I had a fascinating conversation with a friend while at the Farmer’s Market.  Among the many interesting topics we talked about, our conversation touched on the growing inequality in the United States and the SHOCKING distribution of wealth among its citizens.  This disparity was recently publicized by a video that went viral on YouTube. (You can view the video at the end of this post)

 

(Before you get your partisan knickers in a knot, to be clear, the point I want to make has nothing to do with privilege, politics, the right to make a living . . . let alone a fortune, or the opportunity this country affords anyone who wishes to set out on that path of wealth.   So keep reading if you want to mine the real gold here.)

 

dollars 2After pointing out the inequality, my friend and I started talking about what might drive such an imbalance.  I suggested that one reason might be the generally understood “game” in this country called, “The person with the most money, wins.”  We all seem to have unwittingly enlisted in this game to accumulate money and wealth over the course of our lives.

 

To this, my friend responded by saying something I found to be bold and beautiful.  She said,“Well, that is not the game I am playing. I am playing the game called ‘Be more kind.'”

 

She then shared with me that in looking at her life, she knew she was not always as kind as she could be and she was striving to be more kind to those around her.  She then followed this amazing statement with one equally as fantastic, saying, “I chose not to play the money game.  I could have played it.  I could have chosen to be a stockbroker when I got out of school in the go-go 1980’s when the focus in this country shifted to money, but I was too lazy and had no interest in that area.”

 

Wow!

 

Such a powerful and honest declaration required two important elements, both of which are key for anyone to possess happiness in life –

 

  1. Awareness (of who she is and what she wants).
  2. Personal responsibility (acknowledgment AND ownership of the choices she made in her life).

 

All of which leads to the BIG question YOU must answer in order to find that same happiness and fulfillment –

 

What game are you playing in your life?

 

If you can’t answer that question, then you will always chase the Ghost of Contentment . . . one you will surely never catch.

 

The only games worth playing are the ones that bring you happiness.
 

– R. Largman

 

2014 just started.   Do you know what game you are playing this year?

 

It may be the money game for you. If so, go for it. But it may not. Maybe you want to play the kindness game. Or the creativity game. Or the parenthood game. Or the peace of mind game. Or the grow my business game. Or the . . .

 

Don’t get caught up in someone else’s game if it is not the one you wish to play. If you want to play a different game, be sure to know and understand what YOUR game is. Choose it powerfully, commit to it, and play it FULL OUT!!

 

Doing so will ensure that happiness is just around the corner for you.

 
 

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A few years ago I started working with a company called City Fire here in NJ (www.cityfire.com). They provide fire safety services (sprinkler systems, alarm systems, fire extinguishers, etc) to schools, apartment buildings, office buildings, small businesses, etc.

 

Among the many amazing things I’ve had the privilege of witnessing at City Fire has been their strong and steady growth through one of the most difficult economic times in recent history. While there are several factors contributing to their success – “getting the right people with the right skills in the right jobs”, setting goals, establishing stronger communication and communication channels – probably the single greatest contributor to their success has been their commitment to measurements.

 

Once they establish their annual goals they track them on a quarterly basis and, here’s the important part, they hold every manager accountable for achieving their goals. At every quarterly meeting each manager reports on their progress, areas of success and issues where they are challenged.

 

Their success is not a magic bullet they mysteriously uncovered and are not telling anyone else. Their success is a function of the simple concept of setting goals, continually measuring them, and taking creative, proactive action when they see a deviation from their targeted goal.

 

While some people and companies attribute success to luck, natural talent or being in the right place at the right time, most lasting success is a function of hard work, focused dedication, a commitment to a goal, and being willing to be held accountable.

 

In my continued belief that life is not rocket science, here are 5 simple steps to achieving the success you desire in your life or business.

 

1. Declare your goal – If you don’t know where you are going that’s exactly where you will arrive.
2. Set a plan – “A goal without a plan is a dream”
3. Take action – Do at least one thing everyday that contributes toward that goal.
4. Measure your progress – Be willing to track your progress and see how you are doing against your goal.
5. Recalibrate – If you are not hitting your target, take creative, proactive action to re-adjust your aim and actions.

 

Following these simple steps will have you meet with the success, happiness and satisfaction you seek in your life.

 

Most people use statistics the way a drunkard uses a lamp post, more for support than illumination

– Mark Twain

 

The greatest thing about measurements is that they can help illuminate our lives. What are we really doing on a day to day basis? Are our actions truly making a difference? Are we getting closer to our goals in life? By measuring, we can answer these important questions. Without measurements, we run the risk of floating through life aimlessly, never truly being satisfied.

 

And, if you want to discover perhaps the most important measurement of all, give a listen to the video below.
 

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