You know when you see articles online stating topics like, “10 Things That Billionaires Do Each Day” or “Highly Effective Habits Successful People Practice”? Well, those titles grasp people’s interest because they infer that if people adopt some of those habits, they too might become very successful.
Before I went into entrepreneurship, I’d click on those type of articles out of curiosity and to be honest, I was looking for an answer about how I could become successful.
I wondered if I was doing something wrong or if I needed to adopt a new habit to get to my goal. I also compared myself a lot – which is very damaging to anyone who does it (another topic for later). While a lot of those articles are interesting and they can help you learn new ways to do things, they don’t guarantee success or wealth.
It’s kind of the same rule of thumb as, “if it’s too good to be true, then it is”.
Success Happens Gradually
No one reaches success overnight. No one! Just think about it. Think about very successful people who made it big and their stories. For example, I recently read an article on AARP’s March 2017 issue that Morgan Freeman was 50 years young when he came out in Driving Miss Daisy.
Before that, he’d been a dancer in broadway shows because he’d been advised that desirable actors where those who could act, sing and dance. So, he learned to dance.
He became a cast member of the off-broadway show, Driving Miss Daisy. When he heard it was going to be made into a movie and bumped into the director, he asked him if he had the job.
Though the director turned him down because he was too young (yup, you read that right), he ended up getting the part when Sidney Poitier turned it down and told the director to “Go with the kid.”
Before Morgan Freeman had his stardom, he had many previous jobs that allowed him to building on his skills. He never gave up on doing what he loved. He had a vision, dedication and persistence regardless of what naysayers thought.
The truth is that there’s no secret to becoming successful or rich. Success happens due to many things (hard work, risk taking, having a very clear vision of an end goal, never giving up, etc).
Solve Someone’s Problem
Say you’re not striving to be a dancer or to do something in the entertainment industry, but you want to start a business or get to the top in your career. What’s the best way to go about it?
Well, like Zig Ziglar used to say:
“You can have anything in life that you want if you can just help enough other people get what they want”.
So, if you can help a large group of people with a problem and it’s valuable enough for people to pay you do to do so, then, you can profit on your talents and skills.
And by profit, I don’t mean just monetarily. Profits can come in many others ways (recognitions, networking, being invited to prestigious groups). There are so many people out there who have tons of ideas, but if those ideas as just cool, but don’t solve a person’s problem, they won’t succeed.
So, if you have a product or service that will help people, how do you get started? Well, aside from using certain resources (I provided a short list of resources on my last blog post – check it out here), you must start by writing down your goals.
I know. Not what you expected, right? And I get it. I recently asked a few people if they write down their goals and a lot of them said they didn’t believe in doing so. It’s just not a habit most people have.
I over did it the first several times I wrote down the goals I wanted to accomplish. I wrote a super long list of personal and professional accomplishments and when I saw the list I’d made months later, I felt like a failure because I’d forgotten all about them.
I remember beating myself up over this because I really wanted to achieve some things that year. So, as I researched reasons why people fail to meet their goals (yes, because I’m a nerd like that), I realized that I’d failed because I hadn’t kept my mission within sight. I had failed to make certain necessary moves to gradually succeed with my goal.
If you think about this, it makes sense. You have to take baby steps. For example, if you want to write a book, you’ve got to start with an outline so that you can use it as a guide to deliver your message. The outline will include topics and each topic needs main points.
So, if you want to write a book worth reading, you can’t just throw a book together without organizing it! Otherwise people will not want to read it and they’ll devalue your credibility.
The same applies to any goal. I understand that sometimes you have to just start at something without a plan. But even when you get started without a plan, if you don’t make mini-goals or mini-tasks, you’re more likely to fail.
The way that you can be one of the 45% people who stick to meeting their goals are the following:
- Make realistic goals. Some people have a lot of passion and get very excited about their goals. But they tend to get a little overboard with creating the end result. So, back to the book example, if you want to write a book, it would be unrealistic to write it in a day (unless it’s a very short book). A more realistic goal would be to write a 50 page chapter at a time. Make mini-goals. Break it down as much as you can until you can tackle each task without so much overwhelm.
- Give yourself a deadline. Continuing the book writing example, set a timeline per mini-task. So, in this case you could decide to finish e 50 page chapter every 2 weeks or every first of the month. Write each mini-goal completion date on a calendar and set reminders on your phone if needed.
- Visualize it. What I mean by this is to visualize the end goal in your mind. But also keep your vision as a live as possible in a physical way. You could do this by using a vision board or post reminders in places where you know you will see them. Keep a calendar with the dates of your mini-goals visible so that you can find motivation and keep going. You know that saying, “out of sight, out of mind”? It’s really powerful and if you don’t keep your goals within sight, you’ll forget the little tasks you have to get done to complete your main goal.
- Stay positive. A lot of people won’t understand or believe in what you’re doing. That’s ok, because there’s also a large group of people out there who will. So, don’t focus on negative comments because the reason people don’t believe in your success is because they believe that if they were the ones doing what you’re doing, they would not be able to make it happen.
- Be persistent! Each time you hit a roadblock, unplug, recharge by doing nothing related to your challenge. Then, go back and tackle it again. It sounds like it’s not much of advise, but believe me, it works if you do it right!
- Make new friends. Seriously, I mean it. Make new friends who are on the same journey as you are. Check out your local government’s Chamber of Commerce meetings. Sometimes they invite non-members to attend certain events in order to network. Join associations within your field to meet others like you or online groups where you can talk to people about their journey and where you can share a bit about yours. A lot of times you learn a lot more by listening to others tell how they overcome hurdles than when you talk about your own.
I hope these guidelines help you achieve some of your goals. We all want to be the characters of a successful story in our lives. Some of us have what we consider silly or boring ideas, but we won’t know what they’ll be to others if we don’t talk about them or give them a chance.
So, cheers to you for taking the first step to achieving your goals! But before you go, tell us in the comments below what your goal is and a date you plan to complete it by.