How do you ensure goal success? While goals rarely even make it past week 3, you can use your current state to carry through and motivate you to goal success. Entrepreneurs that succeed, almost always possess some of this. Why are immigrants so successful even though English may be new to them?
Today I want to discuss a topic that is very, very dear to me. It first came about because I was asked one time when I was at an event, somebody that was one of the speakers asked me if I would come up and speak. I said: “What do you want me to speak on?” He said: “Whatever. Maybe the why, or something like that.” Which is similar to what we had in the last episode, that is: why you do something, what your purpose is, what your goals are. I got up, and it was somewhat extemporaneous at the moment. I got up and I said: “What I’m going to talk about is the opposite, that is the why not.”
Explaining that a little bit, what I mean by the “why not” is: what happens if you don’t make it? That is: how do you get above and beyond what you wanted to do? How do you make it so that failure on your goals or your purpose is not an option? That’s what I’m going to share today. Actually, what I did which I’ll share is actually what got me not only through college, but through graduate school and it helped me build an internationally well-respected consulting firm.
When you look towards your goal and you set up your goals… Lots of people do that. As a matter of fact, right now this is December, so this time of year people are starting to think or maybe they’ll wait until New Years’ Eve, but they start thinking about: how are they going to start of the New Year right? What are going to be their New Years’ resolutions?
Why do New Years’ resolutions fail? Yes, 20 to 25% never make it through the first week. Close to 90%. I hear numbers of 90%, I hear 95%. Whatever it is, never make it to week three. What’s even more damning is that these goals that people never make it to week three are usually just one specific item. They’re usually just: “I want to lose weight,” or: “I want to lose so many pounds,” or: “I want to exercise regularly,” or: “I want to schedule myself to work out on a regular basis,” or: “I want to schedule more time to spend with my family,” whatever it is, it’s just one little goal and they can’t make it for a month; they can’t even make it to week three.
What happens and what’s wrong with these goals? Some people want to be the best they can be, but they spend most of their time complaining about why they couldn’t get to where they wanted to be. As we discussed in the last episode where we were talking about taking your dreams and goals, and not just having a vision board which you walk by, but to make them more alive and make them real-life. Go back to the last episode and you can see that, you can see what we’re talking about there. That can certainly help.
You need something else to make your goal, besides the current vision you have. It is not just the dreams that drive people. You need something else to drive people and make you succeed.
We often hear of the immigrant mentality. A lot of people move into this country, maybe they have a little education or they have some education, but they don’t speak the language, they have to adapt to the culture, the language, they have to find out what it’s like here, and they do things with wish, hope, promise, and they work and overcome in order to either get the education or get the skills necessary to succeed.
What is it about that, and how do we do it, and how do we make ourselves do it? Imagine instead of just one simple goal that we’ve defined, like losing weight, instead your goal is to have a different life, to be successful in whatever situation you have envisioned, to have a great job, to have developed a set of skills. How do you get there? How do you get there if you can’t even get through one goal?
Let’s look at what happens with most people, and where most people succeed or don’t succeed in life. Think of the areas when most people succeed. They usually tend to be well-defined projects and goals. What was the process that they did to get that done?
Let’s go back and think about school. I like to pose this question in organizations or in audiences sometimes. How many people finish their studying, did their exam, and felt very satisfied? Let’s put it another way. When do you study for your exam? Most people will say just in time, the last week, the last minute. When did they do their report? They have a study project, they have to build a report for it, when do they do it? They do it the last possible moment.
Why is it that some students get A’s? Do they get A’s because they get their work done early and then refine it? Is it because they are A-students, or are they A-students because they do it early, refine it, and make sure it’s done well?
In a minute we’ll get to how to drive yourself to do that. First, let’s go a little further. When you leave school, most deadline goals become much less clear and much less frequent. Here, in school, somebody gives you something, they say: “It will be due on the 15th on Friday,” and low and behold, Wednesday night or Thursday morning, you panic, you get it done, and you turn it in on Friday. Maybe. You hope, either that or you make an excuse and whine, and say your dog ate it and you have to turn it in on Monday.
If you had to choose, who do you think would become the star? Which person would you expect to be the star in life, the person that couldn’t get anything done easily or early and refine it, or the person who waited to the last minute? Most people, when they get to the work environment, they do the same sort of thing. They get it done the last minute.
Now we are in the real world. No longer is somebody mapping something out for us. We have to face the consequences of our own actions and not meeting our goals. How do we get around this? How do we get to do it, literally, ourselves and to motivate ourselves?
If we couldn’t motivate ourselves in school to say: “Gee, if I get it done real early and I refine it, etc., I might get an A or a B+,” if you couldn’t do that then, how in the real world are you going to be able to do the same thing to get something that’s much more intangible? You have no idea when the next promotion is going to come about or when the next pay raise, and whether there’s going to be any money around to be able to give you that pay raise.
You have to make some changes. You need to develop somehow a fire in your gut, a desire to do it, a desire to basically get it done beyond anything that you could have thought of before.
Let me put one more thing, particularly for the younger people in the audience, in business, you may have thought when you were in school: “Okay, well I got a C+, I got a B.” In the real world in business, that’s not passing. Basically it means to your boss that you’ve disappointed your customers or your boss. It means that 20 to 25% of the time or the project that you’re doing is wrong or bad. How long are you going to keep your job? How long should you keep your job? Anyway, that’s just my thought.
One of the things that you have to do is you have to desire and get that. What do you do? Here’s what I did in school. It started basically when I was in service and I started to realize what my future would be. I had an okay neighborhood that I lived in. It was nice. It was okay, but it wasn’t that special. People in the neighborhood and the neighborhood next to mine (the neighborhood next to mine was a little poor), they had nothing but maybe their two-week or three-week vacation a year. That was it.
They really couldn’t go anyplace most of the time for their vacations, so they may have gone locally to swimming or to the beach or they may have done barbeques in the backyard. If it was a big thing, they may have gone camping or something, but they wouldn’t have gone to Hawaii and all the other places you want to go, and the Caribbean, etc. That would be highly unusual. If it did, it would have been a one in a time situation.
What I did was I literally in college on a regular basis used to drive through that poor neighborhood just to remind myself on a regular basis that this is not what I wanted for my future. What did I do? I used the fear of what would happen to me if I didn’t succeed.
There’s a fine line of using fear to motivate yourself, and watching it to such an extent that it actually immobilizes you. This worked very, very well, and it can work very well for people. It certainly did for me, because all the way through college, I realized that that’s not what I wanted, and I wanted to do the best that I could possibly do. Why? So that I could get into the best graduate school that I could possibly get into.
Then when I got into Berkeley, there I was facing all these other students who were so successful in their prior universities, and they were in universities that were Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Princeton, Cornell, that really, they had a much better prepared background that I did and many of them had even taken the first year courses. Again, I developed that “failure not an option” attitude; that it had to succeed. There was not a choice.
Imagine yourself in a situation, whatever your situation is. What you do is don’t just count on the dreams that you have (see: developing your dreams and goals). When you put up a vision board or you put up your dreams and your desires of what you want to be, keep in mind a picture of what you’re trying to move away from. If you really don’t want to stay there, use that as part of your fear and your motivation. That’s why I call it the “why not.” In a sense, what happens if you don’t get that dream? Use that not to immobilize yourself, but as a fear to move on and succeed.
I want to emphasize here that this is probably one of the most important things that you could do in most of any of these episodes. Why? Because you have to develop that motivation to succeed. You can’t just go and say: “I’m going to go and get this. I’m going to want to do this and it’s going to happen.” You have to really do something, and figure out how to motivate yourself and push yourself to that extent.
In order to do that, there has to be something you’re moving away from. Keep that in mind. There’s two ends to the goal. There’s the start and the finish, and you’re trying to move away from the start. Keep that in mind.
That’s actually also one of the reasons why some people who came from very successful families have trouble succeeding. Why? Because they don’t have the desire, motivation, drive. They already were given too much. Gee, doesn’t that also sound like a lot of people today, people complaining about the kids being given too much? What happens when they’re given too much? They don’t have the drive and motivation. Us, as adults, it’s the same thing. You have to push, and have that motivation and drive to succeed. This did extremely well for me, obviously, and I hope it can do well for you, too. To ensure goal success, never leave out this form of motivating yourself by driving away from where you are. After all, if you were happy where you are and completely satisfied, you would not want to do the work to achieve some new goal.
I’d like to give a special thank you to Noel Schmidt, Michael Green, and Scotty Rude who gave me some reviews on my podcast on iTunes. Thank you very much. I really appreciate them. I read them. They mean a lot to me. Thank you.