I recently came back from a speaking trip and was reflecting on the questions I received after my keynote. I have heard this question or a version of it almost every time I speak from attendees after the presentation. “I have this goal, idea, adventure or dream I want to follow up on but I don’t know how to get started. Do you have any suggestions?”
My first response is always write your goal down and give it a date for when you want to accomplish it. I then reference this study done at Harvard Business School years ago on goal setting. I thought it might be good to review this study again. I first heard about this study when I went to see motivational speaker Brian Tracy live. After his presentation I wrote down a goal of wanting to travel internationally.
Two weeks later I received a phone call from an old colleague about an international position. I interviewed and got the job as an international marketing product manager. I started traveling internationally. When I finished my career, I had traveled to over 40 different countries. I give a lot of credit to just writing down my goal of international travel.
Here is the essence of the Harvard study:
In 1979 the Harvard MBA program conducted a study on students that provided some interesting insights into the power of goal setting. In that year, the students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans. 13 percent of the graduates had goals, but they were not in writing. That left an incredible 84 percent of the graduates with no specific goals at all.
Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. And what about the three percent who had clear, written goals? They were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.
In spite of such proof of success, most people don’t have clear, measurable, time-bounded goals that they work toward. Which is why I always respond to question on “How do I go about fulfilling my dream or goal?” Write it down. We’ll talk more about goal setting in the months to come.
Have you ever asked yourself the question “What would it look like if I became my personal best on my next adventure? Most people just rise to a level of acceptability and not excellence. A great question Mike Rayburn (www.MikeRayburn.com) raised during a recent presentation. “Have you resolved to be your best?” What do you think that would look like?
In today’s world most people coast through life and that’s fine. The one thing you need to recognize and understand is that the problem with coasting is that it’s all downhill. If comfort is your goal, success is not in your future.
So what does it take for you to become the best at what you do? Interesting question because most of us know what we need to do but we just don’t do it. This why a sense of purpose is so important to us. What are those goals and adventures that are so important we don’t want to approach them half-hearted or in a coasting mode? Do you really want to be a half-hearted spouse, parent, friend or co-worker? Every adventure we embark on has an impact on others and do we provide a positive impact? Anything worth doing is worth doing well. But sometimes we need help and this can be our biggest stumbling block.
You’ve heard people talk about being self-taught and we all teach ourselves quite a bit and the Internet makes it easier everyday. However sometimes when we are self-taught we fail to notice that our teachers aren’t great in every area. Take the time and effort to find good coaches to help you with you adventures. It can have a big impact.
Sometimes when we set out on a new adventure we start by compromising when setting our goals. We aim too low and wind up settling for mediocrity and second best. Instead, continue to work on asking the question “What if? What would this adventure look like? How could I make this happen and what would be the positive impact on those around me?”
Tough questions to ask, even tougher questions to answer when you are true to yourself. But by asking these questions and answering them truthfully, you define who you are as you embark on your next adventure.
Thanks for coming along!
There I was, working and planning away on my new adventure and feeling good about it. Then I had an opportunity to go see Mike Rayburn(www.MikeRayburn.com) live at a recent program. He was absolutely phenomenal. Not only a gifted musician and storyteller but he really got you thinking. He has a book titled “What If?” and I would suggest purchasing it on his website. I wanted to point out just a few key things Mike got me thinking about as I plan my new adventure.
He asks the question, “What if?” Not meaning that you are going to do it but rather just asking what is possible. What if I could? How would that work if I could?
He points out that our default behavior in life is that we look at or for reasons not to do things. Instead we should change our default behavior to where we look for reasons we can do things! A very simplistic but astute rationale on how we can get things done. He also points out the only way to manage change is to create change. Again our default behavior is to fight change. What if we shifted that to creating change and embracing change? It creates a completely different picture doesn’t it? The one thing we know to be true about our plans is that nothing ever goes according to plan! So embrace change.
Here is the reason for these default behaviors: We take problems and put them on a pedestal and worship them. Mike’s perspective is, quit driving through life with the brakes on and get creative. The world need’s our creativity. He lined out three steps to get started:
1. Outside Observation – get that 30,000-foot view of what you are dealing with and get a handle of the size and scope.
2. Take a problem or situation and say, “What is the Opportunity?” Then ask, “What if?”
3. Open up creativity and take physical action on it.
Here are a couple of his other thoughts, which will get your thinking moving in the right direction:
A. Set goals you can’t achieve, not 5-10% increases. What does it take to double what you want to do?
B. Don’t start with what’s possible?, start with what’s cool?. The type of goal it takes courage to think about.
A sense of purpose is the most motivating factor. What is your sense of purpose? Some good food for thought until next time.
Thanks for coming along.
The great Helen Keller provided this prolific statement, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all!” What a great way to look at our lives. Helen Keller overcame so much adversity and became an inspiration encouraging boldness and audacity. We may not have the adversity Helen Keller did, but we do have our ups and downs, our successes and failures and our starts and stops. Sometimes life doesn’t turn out exactly as we plan but the key question is, ”What do we do about it?”
I have watched people who have stumbled and they just struggle trying to get back up and moving forward. Sometimes they get moving again but its like they are in a fog and not really living life but rather just going through the motions.
What is it that we have to do to begin living the life we want to have and move in the direction of our dreams? In my book Chemical Brain Freeze, I talk about overcoming default behaviors and moving forward. These are some key thoughts to making a positive move in order to get you moving in the direction you want to go.
Sometimes it just makes sense to break things down into smaller steps.
Summer has just about come to an end and it was a great summer. We usually think of all kinds of adventures to be had during the summer months.
Now ask yourself the simple question; “What’s my next adventure?” What’s my next adventure for today? This week? Next month? Next year? Come up with an adventure and go make it happen. It can be such a positive experience. Don’t wait for something to come to you. Go make something happen and have fun with! You’ll be glad you did! In the weeks ahead I’ll fill you in on what I have been working on the last half of this summer and what an adventure I’ll be starting. Over 25 years ago I was told I couldn’t do something and I decided now was the time to go it.
Thanks for coming along!
This week a good friend shared this perspective with me. He said, “The trouble with America today is that the adventure is gone.” I showed my grandson his Mom’s hiking stick she had when she was little. It had feathers, a tiny pine cone and beads she had used to decorate it. I carved her name into the side of the stick. We journeyed for years. Each summer I would carve another summer hiking ring at the bottom for our adventures. There were 13 rings she had accrued, when I showed it to my grandson. I don’t know if he had a clue what it was I told him about heritage. He just picked up the stick and started walking. He has that adventure gene in him. The same gene that made America great. I think we may need more hiking sticks in America today. It’s still a great country full of adventure, even if 2 1/2yr olds teach us this lesson instead of today’s Congress. What is your next adventure?
Sometimes the most difficult item in coaching people is getting them to move forward. People are afraid of making mistakes and they hold back and don’t grow. If you think about martial arts, you start as a beginner and learn the basics of movement from using your, hands, elbows, feet, shins and your head. Each new belt you add skills. You make mistakes but learn along the way. In fact if you make the same mistake over and over in martial arts, you will have the bruises to show for it. The secret is not to repeat the mistake but rather to learn and grow from the mistakes and missteps and aggrandize.
In business and life it’s not always about being right all of the time but rather learning, growing and contributing. Once one becomes a black belt it doesn’t mean the journey is over. Rather it means the journey has just begun because now you have the skills to take it up to the next level. Keep working on your management and leadership skills the rewards are big.
Teaching and learning need to be in sync to be successful. Whether it is in school or the business world. To be able to learn and then apply your learning is even better. Sometimes we have material put before us and there is just not a connection nor an application. Simon Sinek has a very good TED Talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action. It’s a few years old but if you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth watching.
Start with why — how great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek | TEDxPugetSound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZoJKF_VuA
There are times when we need to have a difficult conversation and it is just tough to turn that difficult conversation into a positive experience. Our brain does some very strange things during difficulty and stress and we wonder why it is so difficult to accomplish our goals.
This short video utilizes the skills of riding a bicycle to demonstrate how our brain works and the default behaviors we acquire. What is intriguing is the difficulty in overcoming these default behaviors. Consistency is a big factor in creating new constructive behaviors.
After watching this video think about the skill sets, behaviors and routines we have that come to us as easy as riding a bicycle but yet may be holding us back from what we want to achieve. We may not even be aware of these behaviors until we start to analyze why we haven’t reached all of goals.
Copy and paste into your browser to watch this unique video. (Smarter Every Day 133)
New book just released – “Chemical Brain Freeze® -How to Stay in the Game During Difficulty and Stress”. This is Chuck’s new book that demonstrates how to reach higher performance levels.
Our behaviors are affected by the fast-paced world we live in and the stress and difficulties that come with this hectic pace. We need to be at our best during the most stressful situations but our brain isn’t on the same wavelength. Chuck teaches you how to stay engaged in those stressful situations and perform at your best.
Chemical Brain Freeze® explores what happens when we get stressed out and how we can handle situations more productively:
• How the brain works during difficulty and stress
• How we get derailed from reaching our goals
You will learn:
• What you can do to stay in the game during pressure situations
• How to overcome default behaviors
• How to increase performance both professionally and personally
Go to the Chuck Inman on-line store or Amazon.com and purchase your copy today!
Last week Tom Cox, columnist for the Oregon Business News magazine, interviewed me about my book “Nimble-How to Lead Above the Turmoil of Change.“ Tom is a leadership expert and hosts a radio show “Tom on Leadership.” It was a fun Nimble interview and we focused on leadership qualities and the role of emotional intelligence in leadership. To listen to the radio interview just copy the following into your browser.