“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” —Orison Swett Marden
“Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.” –Bear Bryant
“I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.” —Michael Phelps
All great things can be accomplished if we set our minds to them, but very few of them ever come easy. Are we willing to put in the work to achieve them? These goals can often look overwhelming at the outset. Whether it is starting a business, planning for our family, or setting a course for our financial future, the idea of starting out on our goals can overcome us with anxiety and fear and keep us from even starting on the journey. How can we be better at setting, and more importantly, achieving our goals? Let’s take a look at achieving our goals in this week’s Inside Look at Building Towards Wealth.
The first step is the hardest because it’s the scariest. It’s the one that actually signifies change – and change is scary. Do you know the law of physics that says “a body at rest tends to stay at rest”? Humans are the same way. Where we are is comfortable, we know it, we know what to expect. Taking the first step means going somewhere different, somewhere new, somewhere things might not go how we planned or expect. It means opening ourselves up to failure and rejection.
Realize it is ok to be scared. It is natural. Then acknowledge those fears. Write them down if you would like. Then do something about those fears and work through them
These big huge goals can seem insurmountable at times. Break these goals down to small workable steps and work on accomplishing the next small step.
Be sure to surround yourself with the right people around you. Seek out people who inspire you, push you, and support you. It could be a best friend or a family member. It could be a coach, mentor, or someone else in your situation. Share what you’re feeling. Having the right community around you will go really far in helping you overcome your fears.
Once you know where you want to end up, what your eventual goal is, you need to figure out the path to get there. Working with someone who has done it, or helped others along the same path, can be invaluable. They can help you break down the small steps and get you started with your first step.
Let me share an example from my own life.
This newsletter will become a blog with an expected 7/31 launch date. I started this idea in June of 2017. I had the goal of developing a website to drive business. There are so many advertisements about having an easy to do website. I underestimated how daunting creating a website I wanted would be.
I purchased a class that went through how to create and market a blog to generate business. Over the next two years, I would jump back in and always get bogged down, distracted, and overwhelmed with all that had to be done. There was web design, learning WordPress (which I took another class on), content creation (which I didn’t think I was very good at), SEO, etc. that had to be learned. I failed to break it down to manageable steps, feel overwhelmed, I would just move my focus on to something else. There were many such starts and stops along the way.
Last year I joined a community of advisors called the Advisor Growth Community. In that group were advisors who had done what I wanted to do. I talked with people who had traveled the path I wanted to travel. The following are the steps I took.
Step 1 was to write and write regularly and be ok with it not being great to start. Beginning in October I started writing this newsletter. I look back at the first few issues and they look nothing like this looks now. My goal was to write 20 issues. At that point, I felt I was committed enough to turn this into a blog. Week after week I wrote and established a new habit that I find quite enjoyable. Without this step, all other steps would be useless.
Step 2 was my decision to give doing WordPress on my own one more try or hire someone to do it for me. I found out I just don’t like it. This was the first fork in the road I had to make a decision at.
Step 3 was interviewing people to design and run this for me. I love writing but I don’t love the other stuff involved in running a blog. I was best at focussing on the writing which made me happy and outsourcing that which I did not enjoy. With the decision made I knew what course I was taking.
Step 4 was hiring an intern to touch up some of the early writing and to make some of the previous articles more blog-friendly. I wanted to focus on additional creation, plus I have a planning and insurance business to run and two small children. I needed a way to take some of the load off my plate.
I am now over 30 issues in this newsletter, I have engaged new clients through this newsletter, the design process with the company has been outstanding and we are on pace for 7/31 blog launch.
I set aside some time every day to create more content that I think is of value to people, and my older newsletters are getting refreshed for the launch. All of this because I leaned on those who had done it before me and broke the process down to workable steps. Where I had stalled for 2 years I am now accomplishing my goal.
The next step is to get the blog launched and we will see where the future takes it. Podcast, Vlog, etc are all in the plans for the future. There is much to do and it will be accomplished by continually breaking it down into manageable steps and leaning on the expertise of others.
Along this journey, I have found that writing about these topics has made me think more deeply about my own beliefs. My goal for this blog is now different than when I started and that was discovered along the journey. I am sure it will continue to develop.
We just have to not be put off by the fact that the big goal seems so difficult or unattainable. We just need to break it down into small, manageable chunks and work through it step by step. And oftentimes, the difference between those people that are successful and those people that are not successful, is whether or not you keep showing up to do the job every day.
Think about it, as if you were told to climb Mount Everest. A small number of people are in a position just to be able to scale it on their own. You give them a backpack and some supplies and they will scale the mountain. Some other people need a map and some help carrying the supplies. Some people need to be dragged up the side of the mountain by their Sherpas.
The thing all of them have in common is taking that first step. Nobody has scaled the mountain without taking that first step. Nobody can skip any of the steps up the mountain. There may be different routes to the summit but all of them are reached by taking one step after the other.
The other value in having a Sherpa is not necessarily getting you up to the top of the mountain fastest, but getting you up to the mountain the safest. If at any point along the route, you take that one fatal step and die, you will have no story, no accomplishment. This is another value of working with someone to accomplish your goals.
Think about what those big goals are that you have in life. Think about all those grand ideas that you have not yet started. Does it seem too impossible to even bother with starting? Whether you work with someone or you do it on your own, take that first step. Then take the next one and then take the next one. You will be surprised at what you can accomplish, for humankind overestimates what can be accomplished in an hour or a day, but gravely underestimate what can be accomplished with the benefit of time and consistent effort.