Celebrate Your Goals

When I talk about celebrating your goals, I’m not talking about the extrinsic rewards of money, fame, medals, etc. Those are wonderful perks but they are not the real reason you devote yourself to them.

The intrinsic approach is more important in the long run. That’s why if you approach your goals as one big celebration, you’ll have a blast along the way.

“One must approach music with a serious rigor and, at the same time, with a great, affectionate joy.” – Nadia Boulanger, composer & pianist

That goes for everything, not just music.

Infuse everything you do with a sense of joy. At some point the honeymoon phase will be over and you’ll be down the hard work and the day-to-day ‘grind.’

So STOP looking at it as a grind. See it as a miracle that is unfolding. After all, you are a creative force and here you are, manifesting what you desire!

1. Set goals that are attainable. Don’t take the joy out of the daily effort by taking on goals that are too big for you. Smaller goals are more fun, and their achievement will fuel you for the bigger ones.

2. Become one with what you are doing. Really be in the moment, totally focused on what you’re doing, and being fascinated with the whole process. Be curious, be enthusiastic, even about the ‘mundane’ stuff. There’s a calming zen in the everyday stuff and if you choose to see the zen in it you won’t forever be looking ahead to “when things get fun.” Make them fun, now.

3. Focus on constant improvement, not on mindless repetition. That keeps things interesting and helps you master your craft.

4. Enjoy the problems. What a fun challenge, for your mind and your body! If you take the attitude that challenges are adventures, and that failures do not exist because they are re-routes or helpful guides, then problems cease to exist too. Every problem becomes just another tool in your personal growth toolbox. You’re so much better, stronger, wiser, faster, etc. after you deal with each of these challenges!

So enjoy the hell out of the process. Celebrate each moment – after all, how cool is it that you get to be on the road to achieving a goal and manifesting what you want!

Inspired by: http://musiciansway.com/blog/2014/02/bringing-joy-to-practice/

Negotiation Tips for the Uncomfortable

Life is a constant series of negotiations – basically, one person is trying to persuade another. A big misconception about persuasion is that it is meant to create a win-lose situation. It’s not. Persuasion is a way to guide another person to adopting an idea, action or attitude by means other than force. All human relationships involve persuasion and negotiation: anytime you suggest an activity to your friends, you attempt to persuade them to participate and there’s negotiation until you all agree on what to do. Anytime you are in a business negotiation, you are attempting to persuade the other person to see things your way and come to a mutual agreement.

Of course sales involve persuasion, but what makes certain salespeople great while others struggle? A good salesperson is committed to a win-win situation (both the customer’s and the salesperson’s needs are met).

Here are some negotiation tips that will make the process easier even if you’re intensely uncomfortable with it:

1. Bring a positive win-win mindset to the table. Do not think of the other party as your “opponent” – that sets you up for a win-lose scenario. Instead, think of it as two people trying to help each other. Don’t get sucked into a competitive mindset. Negotiations are more pleasant and comfortable when you aim for a win-win.

2. Be clear on your goals. You have to know what you want to take away from the negotiation. This includes your needs and your wants (not the same thing). However, be flexible. Don’t be too attached to a specific outcome. Remain emotionally detached. Then you’ll be more likely to make rational instead of emotional decisions.

3. Be prepared. Know your facts be able to show evidence. Always demand the same from the other party.

4. Be patient. Negotiations should never be rushed, and emotions may be high leading to hasty decisions. Ride out those emotional waves and respond – do not react – calmly.

5. Be resilient under pressure. The other party may try every trick in the book to influence your emotions. Stay calm and in control of your emotions at all times.

6. Create a rapport by mirroring the other person’s speech and body language and by listening effectively. Don’t just hear the words, hear what is beneath the words. Listen to the real needs this person is trying to express through their words and phrasing. Not everyone is good at speaking with clarity. When in doubt, ask, or paraphrase what was said. Always acknowledge understanding (not the same as agreement).

7. Communicate clearly and concisely. Remember that your body language is important too!

8. Think critically and creatively. Actively look for areas of potential agreement and focus on those; often, areas of disagreement will fall into place when you focus on what you can agree on. Find shared problems and work together to solve them.

There are many subtle negotiating techniques too complex to go into here – but above all, if you are clear on your goals, and you aim to create a win-win situation, you’ll be more likely to walk away from the negotiation satisfied.

 

Inspired by Adam Sicinski’s post on:  http://blog.iqmatrix.com/

Negative Thoughts Are a Virus

Negative thoughts and goals don’t mix. A goal requires you to stretch outside your comfort zone and take chances. That requires a positive mindset. Okay. You know all that. But did you know that every negative thought you have about yourself or your goal makes you run slower and slower, just like a computer that’s been infected with a virus?

Unfortunately, negativity can become a habit if it’s repeated. Thoughts will linger longer and longer, the more energy you give them, until they become ‘normal’. But they’re usually cleverly disguised as “facts.” Things like, “I don’t have the knowledge to see this through” or “I don’t have the resources to get past this problem.”

You might try to stop thinking negatively by forcing yourself to be positive and upbeat, but the problem with this approach is that it doesn’t get rid of the underlying issue – the belief that caused the thoughts in the first place.

Here’s a different approach:

1. Start from the outside in by changing your body language. Your mind affects your body (Ever see anyone who’s depressed? They’re hunched over, eyes downcast). And, your body affects your mind. SMILE more often every day even if it’s only at yourself in the mirror. Make yourself walk and sit tall with a commanding presence.

2. Give your mind a “coffee break” a couple of times a day. I don’t mean getting a caffeine fix, I mean silencing the incessant mental chatter that can be heavily skewed toward the negative. When you find yourself in a negative tailspin, just say, “Shhhhhh – listen!” and your mind will instantly stop its chatter as it hunts for the thing it’s supposed to. When it reboots and starts up the chatter again, repeat the command. Do this for five minutes and you’ll snap out of any negative rut!

3. Take a walk. Walk fast, and make yourself pay close attention to your environment. Make your environment more interesting than the thoughts in your head. You’ll not only oxygenate your brain but you’ll detach from the problem for a while, and return to it feeling fresh.

4. Write and/or draw out the problem. Just doodle, with no agenda other than to give your thoughts and emotions shape and form. As you do this, solutions tend to come up spontaneously.

5. Put your “but” into it. Get in the habit of adding a “but” statement to every single negative thought you have. Usually we do it the other way around, as in “I’m growing my business but I’m having trouble keeping on top of the daily operations.” Where’s your focus? On your troubles, not on the positive fact that you’re growing your business. So try this: “I’m having trouble keeping on top of the daily operations but I’m finding ways to delegate.” There! You’ve just become instantly solution-oriented!

6. Finally, the best cure for negativity is gratitude. It’s just as easy to choose to focus on the positives than on the negatives. You actually have SO much to be grateful for, so please do yourself a favour and start expressing gratitude. Remember to include the challenges you’re facing (be grateful for what they teach you!) and for people who annoy or hurt you (they make you learn and grow too). Five minutes a day of listing things to be grateful for will completely change your perspective in about a month.

Inspired by Steve Bloom’s post on: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/

Are You Afraid to Fail?

Are you afraid to fail? Most of us are, and it’s an almost inevitable part of life (unless you simply give up before you even try).

You’ve probably failed a few times, or many times. Good for you! Seriously! Whether your failures were personal or professional, they are extremely valuable lessons.

Nobody likes to be told they are a failure (or to feel like one, in spite of what others say). It’s hard to accept, and it can damage your self-esteem. But what if you can move past the unpleasantness of the failure, learn from it, and reach higher? That’s when the magic happens!

The ONLY failure is quitting. That’s it. The only one. Everything else is a real blessing (in disguise).

Let’s take the letters in the word FAILURE and create some personal alchemy. Let’s turn them into gold:

FORGET: don’t constantly wish you could have a do-over. You can’t. Forget what didn’t work out, except for one thing: what did you learn from the failure? What can you take with you?

ACCEPT: Accept that failures are important, and accept your role in the failure. Everything you do is a choice (from deciding which shirt to wear to what to say to the person next to you on the bus, to choosing to do (or not do) a training run at night after work just because you need to get your training in…).

INVESTIGATE: What specific decisions (steps) did you make that resulted in that outcome? What could you have done differently, and how would you do it better next time?

LOOK: There are always answers and solutions waiting for you, either in your environment (be very alert and aware), in your mind (listen to your intuition and be creative) and in the people around you. Alternatives are about. Look for them, and be open to trying a new way.

UNDERSTAND: Failures are a part of life. You ARE not a failure just because you have failed. You did something, or didn’t do something, but you are not your actions. You performed those actions. YOU are not a failure. Your methodology was a bust, but you learned from it. Right?

RE-EVALUATE: Re-evaluate how you go about achieving goals. Remember this very wise phrase: “As I am with one thing, I am with everything.” Take note of your HABITS – specifically the habits you may have (like procrastination) that hold you back. Change those habits. Create positive, proactive habits and make a plan of action.

EXPECT: Visualize yourself achieving your goal. Stick to your plan, and work it all the way to completion. Do not let fear and doubt stop you. EXPECT to succeed, knowing that every failure brings you one step (or a hundred steps) closer to your goal.

 

Inspired by a post by Wayne Hartzell
http://www.personal-goal-setting.com

What is That ONE Thing?

What is that one thing that can have the biggest impact on your life this year? Hint: it’s a goal.

You know what you want out of life… right? You probably have several goals that you’re hoping to achieve in the near future. Well right now, let’s turbo-charge that process.

Choose one goal – just one. It has to be the one that will create the biggest change, but something that can be accomplished within the year (I’m talking about calendar year, not by December 31st). It can be a sub-goal to a larger one. For example, if you want to make your mark as a professional photographer, your one-year goal can be to shoot two weddings. That’s going to take a lot of marketing and a lot of work, if you’re just breaking into the business.

This goal has to be:

  • Something you’re incredibly passionate about
  • Something achievable within the year
  • Something that will CHANGE your life

Why should it change your life? Well, this is the goal that will make you say “YES” to all the rest – even the big ones that may take years to achieve.

This is the paradigm-shifter, the one that will help you break through your barriers and gain confidence you would otherwise not get.

So… you have the one goal, laid out in front of you. Here’s how to achieve it:

1. Create a mantra that will you repeat every single day, for a minimum of 30-90 days or until it feels as natural to you as your favorite jeans. For example, “I am a successful wedding photographer.” Say it to yourself while driving to work; while cleaning the kitchen; while out on a bike ride; while walking the dog; while in the shower… just keep repeating it, with loving persistence, every time you think about it.

2. Make an “Immediate Action” plan. What can you do to make it happen…

  • Today
  • This week
  • This month

These sub-goals will provide forward momentum, and keep you motivated as you achieve them. It’s important to write down daily/weekly/monthly tasks, so you aren’t left wondering what to do next. You just wake up, and do it. If it takes you a month to come up with a plan, okay. That’s a step in the right direction too!

If your daily action is very small, that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be something monumental. Let’s be realistic. You have a life, you have responsibilities, and it’s just not practical to drop it all in favour of this one goal. Go ahead, LIVE YOUR LIFE. Just take one small step every day. You should have this step written out, so you’re not wasting time wondering what to do.

…Aaaand, that’s it. Say your mantra, and take daily action. This will create a powerful habit that will motor you straight to the goal that changes everything.

Why is this so simple? Why aren’t we talking about fears and doubts and motivation? Because none of that matters, if you follow steps one and two. And repeat. Just the fact that you’re thinking/feeling your goal, and taking daily action, won’t leave much headspace for fear.

 

Inspired by a post by Leo Babauta on:  http://zenhabits.net/really-simple-goal-setting/

What’s Your Story?

 

What’s the story you tell about your life, your success and your goals?

You have a personal story – a narrative you tell yourself and others about your experiences. This story influences everything in your life.

In fact, your success and goals achievement depend on you telling the right story. It’s as if your past story has taken a hold of your hand, and has scribbled some notes on the chapters that haven’t been written yet.

Things like, “If you failed at this once, you will probably fail again.” “That didn’t work last time but let’s try that way again, just because it’s comfortable and it feels good.”

Do you have to let your past write your future? No! You can stop right here, right now, and take the pen into your control.

Look back at your journey and do a self-assessment. Where are you, in terms of where you want to be? What is your ultimate goal? Where were you stuck for a long time? What shook you loose – and what can you gain from that experience? What did you tell yourself every time you failed in the past? What did you tell yourself every time you succeeded in the past? What story are you telling about your future? What story are you telling about yourself?

Be very, very aware of the immense power of your words. If you use the right words, in the right way, you’ll give very specific commands to your brain to figure out how to achieve your goals. But you can also give up control and hand the pen over to your past, and let it write your future.

To write your new story:

Always think, feel, speak and act in the positive. Imagine that you have already accomplished your goal and now you are just replaying the movie of “how I did it.”

Rehearse and repeat this story (this movie) in your mind every single day, until it feels as natural to ‘tell’ as the stories you tell about your past. Think it, feel it, breathe it, dream it, speak it, do it and live it.

Only then, will you take the right actions at the right time, fueled by a conviction that you can achieve what you want.

 

Inspired by a post by Steve Ober at: http://managementhelp.org/employeeperformance/goal-setting.htm

The reason you’re still hoping you’ll achieve your goal

Have you decided to achieve a goal this year? Hey, 2014 is half over already and you still aren’t doing what you promised yourself you’d do?

In my early goal-setting days, I used to make this mistake: I didn’t decide. I didn’t say a big, hearty YES. I didn’t commit.

It’s interesting, though… I tried. I really did. I gave it all kinds of effort, but my approach was flawed in that I didn’t show my commitment by having a plan. Naturally, my flawed approach led to not-so-great results.

Here are common goal-setting mistakes that I encourage you to own. I’m willing to bet you see yourself in at least one of these mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up… just do the opposite. It’s a learning process!

1. Problem: you are vague about your goal. “I want to be rich” is a very vague goal. I don’t know what that means. Do you? Solution: be specific. Give your internal compass a clear direction!

2. Problem: you are taking on someone elses’ goals. If you’re trying to fit into somebody’s expectations of what you should do with your life… you will fail. Solution: remove the word “should” from your vocabulary and do what YOU want to do.

3. Problem: you don’t write anything down. All of those brilliant ideas live in your head, where they sit until one day you remember them. Not. Solution: write down your goals, and any and all ideas that come to you. Richard Branson does this. Be like Richard Branson.

4. Problem: you don’t have a plan. Just wing it. Make it up as you go along. Oh, you don’t know what to do? Bummer! Solution: make an action plan. Stick to it.

5. Problem: you haven’t prioritised your goals. You work on them “when you have time.” Which you don’t have. So nothing gets done. Solution: jettison the time-sucking, soul-crushing activities (yes, TV) and work toward your dreams. You DO want to live out your dreams, right?

6. Problem: you don’t believe in yourself. You think you’re not worthy, not capable, not whatever enough. Says who? Says you.Solution: stop telling that story! You have a better story to tell – overcoming obstacles, bucking the odds, persevering… and ultimately coming out triumphant. Write your own story, not the one your self-imposed limitations write!

7. Problem: you blame the world for your failures. But think about it: whenever there is a problem in your life, YOU are there. Whenever there is struggle, YOU are there. Whenever there is achievement, YOU are there. You are responsible for your reactions and choices. Solution: own your choices, and stop giving excuses why you can’t. Start giving reasons why you can.

8. Problem: you try to fly solo. “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Of course. Except that you aren’t blessed with any more time than anyone else, and you aren’t good at everything. You can muddle through, get it done eventually, but at what cost? Solution: do what you’re good at and outsource the rest.

9. Problem: you let fear push you backward instead of forward. Fear makes you procrastinate. It makes you second-guess yourself. It makes you doubt your visualizations. It drains you and makes you quit. Solution: turn fear into excitement (it’s the SAME physiological response!!) and let it push you into action. Action feels GOOD. When you’re busy doing, you can’t be busy being afraid.

10. Problem: you aren’t motivated and you give up. Sometimes it’s a long haul. A long, tiring, frustrating haul. But the truth is, most people give up just before that pinnacle moment of success. Like seconds before they hit the finish line. Solution: look BEYOND the point of achievement. Feel and visualize the warm glow of achievement, and keep going, one step at a time, no matter what, no matter how tired or frustrated you are. Just. Keep. Going. You WILL get there. That’s the only way.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” -Abraham Lincoln

 

Inspired by a post by Jill Koenig at http://www.goalguru.com/blog/

How to Increase Your Chances of Success

“Do, or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda, from Star Wars

That quote sums up the most important element of success: your wholehearted commitment.

Let’s say you have a really awesome goal. It’s a bit much for you to wrap your head around because it’s so big. You have written your goal down and created a plan. But you have doubts, and so when someone asks you about it, you say, “I’ll try.”

And that’s not going to get you there. If you “try,” no matter what you’re going for, you are setting yourself up for quitting. “I’ll try” means that the moment there’s a problem, you have already given yourself permission to quit.

The language you use is more important than you think when it comes to your success!

Okay. So you won’t say, “I’ll try” anymore. But what about the rest of your self-talk when you’re thinking about your goals?

Do you ever say, “I’ll do my best but…” or “It will work out the way it will work out.”

Those are kind of self-defeating too, aren’t they?

The point is, stop giving away your power to external forces. You are more capable than you think!

I challenge you to start using the words “I am” in a positive way. No more “I am not sure… I’m trying… I’m hoping… I am tired of… I am sick and tired of…” You see, you are basically embodying what you are saying! If you say “I’m trying” then you ‘become’ a half-hearted effort; you ‘become’ a half-finished job. So no more of that.

If you look at your goal and it’s freaking you out because it’s so huge, then break it down! You may be afraid of a huge step (so you’ll try) but if you break it down into the smallest action components, you will most definitely be able to achieve that step. And then take the next step, and the next, all the while saying to yourself, “I am moving in the right direction.” It doesn’t matter how fast or how slowly. Progress often happens in fits and spurts anyway. You’ll have periods of amazing productivity and progress and times when you feel like you’re spinning your wheels in place. Not to worry. Just keep going.

Make your success inevitable, by taking Yoda’s words to heart. Don’t try. Just do.

 

Inspired by a post on http://www.goal-setting-for-success.com/index.html

Believe What You Want to See

Visualisation is one of the most powerful tools in goal setting and achieving.

If you can see the goal, see the prize, in your mind’s eye then you’ll be much more likely to achieve it.

As A.L. Linall, Jr. said, “Visualization and belief in a pattern of reality, activates the creative power of realization.”

If you believe you can’t visualise, let me challenge that.

You worry.

Whenever you worry, you are visualising a terrible outcome. You are imagining something that might happen, something that isn’t real.

So… there is no reason you can’t perform a mind shift and start visualising what can go wrong.

It takes time to perfect the art of positive visualisation. It takes time to get to the point where you believe what you see, and where your mind can’t tell the difference between the visualisation and reality (and your mind is no longer arguing that the visualisation and reality don’t match). For example, if you’re struggling financially, you probably worry like hell about how you’re going to make it through the month on what little money you have. You look at your bank statement and sure enough, it’s down to the bare bones. Heavy dose of reality!

And then you’re up all night worrying because of that reality.

But… you can de-stress and focus on what you want to go right. This isn’t some silly imagination game that kids play. It’s a creative force!

Visualise your ideal outcome, regardless of where you’re starting right now. See what you want to see. In the above example, instead of seeing yourself being evicted from your home and having your car repossessed, visualise yourself doing something you are good at and something you love to do, and being handsomely compensated for it. Visualise those numbers in your bank account going up and up and up.

Do this again and again, over and over, persistently (for at least 30-90 days) until that image becomes as normal to you as the terrible images that come from your worried imagination.

What’s really stunning about this is that when this visualisation imprints in your subconscious mind, you will naturally and effortlessly start seeing ways to make it happen!

Your brain will be primed for action. It will recognise your visualisation as a command because it likes to match your physical reality to what’s in your imagination.

You’ve heard the phrases, “What you think about, comes about,” or “Ask, and ye shall receive.” Your mental image is the command, the asking – and then your brain sets to work making it happen! You’ll notice people, situations, resources and opportunities come up out of nowhere. And if you unhesitatingly take action on these things that come into your awareness, you will very quickly transform your situation and your visualisation will become your reality.

Or, you can keep worrying and let that become your reality.

You choose.

 

Inspired by a blog post on http://kid-goal-setting.blogspot.com/

Earning Money is EASY

I’m sure this title has you raising an eyebrow and thinking I’m delusional. I know that when I first came across this information, I was skeptical as well. Now I know that it is the absolute truth, and I want to share this timeless wisdom with you, for your personal and business success.

How much money you make has nothing to do with the obvious: the economy, your location, level of education, expertise in a certain industry, family money, who you know, experience, or even intellect.

It’s true! Look at all of the brilliant minds out there who are flat broke, and the people who can’t string two words together who are multi-millionaires. It doesn’t seem fair, does it?

The secret is in your mind.

Money is nothing more than a means of exchange. You give me money, I give you a service. I give you money, you give me a product. Money is also not “real” in that it is only an idea. Long ago, somebody decided to give someone a bunch of shiny metal instead of a herd of goats, and the concept of money was born.

And yet, many of us are intensely uncomfortable with the concept of money. We feel unworthy of having it. This is called poverty consciousness. When you’re stifled by poverty consciousness, you think in terms of lack. In terms of not having enough. “I can’t afford that; how am I going to take care of payroll this month; there’s never enough… etc.”

Mike Todd said, “Being broke is a temporary situation. Being poor is a mental state.”

It’s so easy to look at “what is” and believe in scarcity, isn’t it? After all, there isn’t an infinity symbol anywhere in your bank account! If you look back at your results and your financial health, you’ll see distinct patterns. Anytime you were happy and felt on top of the world, your financial situation was better. Anytime you were down and felt hopeless, your financial situation was worse. And the key is, your financial situation was a result of your mental state, not the other way around.

The secret to having a wealth consciousness is to choose happiness – being happy with what is, just for the sake of being happy. Happiness = wealth consciousness and abundance consciousness. Remember that. When you’re happy, you are able to focus on what is good in life. You start noticing things like opportunities (and when you’re happy, you’re more inclined to take advantage of them); people who can help you; and situations that increase your wealth.

Of course you still have to earn the money, it’s not just going to fall from the sky. So think of it this way: the money you receive is an effect. You are the cause: what can you offer in order to receive that money? What talents do you have to share? What services or products can you offer to improve peoples’ lives?

You might not realise this, but happiness and service go hand-in-hand. It simply feels awesome to help out other people, and in so doing, you will be rewarded.

Take away the focus on the dollar amounts you want. Instead, shift your focus to what you can offer – your value – and give it, with 100% best effort. Then, because you’re doing something positive and you’re happy, the right circumstances will come into play in your life and your mindset will shift and you’ll find it easier and easier to make money.

 

Inspired by Bob Proctor’s blog on http://www.goals2go.com/blog/

Photo: Bruce Allen