For many people, the reason why they can’t seem to realise their dreams and goals is a lack of effectiveness. It is not the lack of goals that is the problem.
Wishful thinking is only for Christmas
What is missing is specifying the goal, making it precise, to think it through, letting it sinking into your awareness and your subconscious. That’s why many people stay with wishful thinking instead of setting goals. Whenever you hear yourself thinking or saying “I wish…”,change that into “I will…”. Don’t stop there. Explain why you will achieve this or that. You can find one that in a blog posting number 5 – find out what you really want and how to achieve it. In this posting will focus on making things happen.
Too much thinking doesn’t do any good
The problem with making things happen is that you actually have to do them. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But I am dead serious. Far too many people try to replace the actual doing with some kind of “doing simulation” which is going on in their heads. They are thinking far too long and far too detailed, what they have to consider, what could go wrong, what needs to be avoided and so on. This, in turn, keeps them from action. And, as the Pareto principle tells us, if you have the feeling you have 80% of the needed information, act upon it boldly. We can’t think things through perfectly in our minds. At a certain point we just have to “give it a go” and see which results we get. That way we make mistakes, we learn from them and improve along the way. If that doesn’t convince you yet, how about this: at the end of our lives we don’t regret what we did – we rather regret what we did not. Why? There are many explanations, one of them is: we did not try, so we missed the experience, will miss the opportunity to find out what we could have achieved -all because of hesitation. Make no mistake: planning is useful and necessary. Don’t miss the point when you need to move.
You have all the time in the world
Particularly, if your goal is require a longer effort, you will be dealing with project management. A lot of tasks will be required that may be depending on each other. In this situation, it is vital not to focus on time management, but rather on priorities stop before you work out how to complete a task in the most efficient way, first ask yourself: what are the main steps, the milestones that I need to achieve in order to complete this project successfully, how can I make it happen?
For what and from whom do I need I need support? How can I communicate in the most effective way with the ones who are supporting me? Who do I need to involve and how can I do that? If you are selective with the key steps to make, and diligently work out how you proceed with them, then time will not be the big issue that it often is. However, time will inevitably run out before reaching the goal line, if you did not take the time in the beginning to plan properly. But be careful: don’t think too much as outlined before. Not the point when to act. You do have all the time in the world – if you plan properly ahead and set clear priorities.
Hard deadlines don’t make any sense
In order to achieve them, first of all need to know your goals. Sounds simple, but in practice is often not. Lots of desired outcomes can easily get into conflict with each other. Trade-offs need to be made. A lot has been written about goals and will be discussed in the upcoming postings. I just want to raise one point in here: if you emphasise the deadline too much, probably you won’t able to achieve a lot. The reason is very simple: you can’t predict the future. If you always wanted to go abroad with your company, should you simply stop when your one-year deadline runs out? Maybe you have discovered along the way, that you require some more information, the support of some key people, and you have carried out the required research and collaborated successfully. Still, you have learned you need a bit more time. Now, the hard way would be to say: I have given myself the year to do this and it didn’t work out. The crucial thing is this: your information base has changed along the way. You know much more about the topic now. You can let me much better estimates now. So what you think about how the probability of your achieving your goals has developed? Exactly – it has increased. Of course, there’s always the risk of throwing too much time, money and other resources after ill set goals. But only you can estimate when that point has come. And more often than not it hasn’t yet come. You can do better.
Seeing is not believing
Don’t be surprised, if many people we were in touch with will not be over enthusiastic about your plans. In fact, be very careful and selective whom you share your plans with. Why? Very easy: how can others know what’s going on in your mind? If you share your project plans, your goals, your ideas… how could others possibly share your enthusiasm? They are not in your shoes – always remember that. Having said that, more often than not you will notice that many people will ask for “evidence”. There will be asking you for results you have already achieved, for anything that they can actually see – even in a virtual way. Some magazines suggests, for instance, that if you want to go abroad that you should “ask around” who has made what kind of experience and then make a decision for yourself. What nonsense! In instead of orienting to yourself outwards, asking other people, rather go inward: ask yourself seriously whether you believe that this goal is worth all the effort. Whether you believe that you can achieve it. Write it down. And when the going gets tough, check back on your notes and remind yourself why you are doing this and why indeed you can achieve it. If you don’t believe in yourself – who can?
I will elaborate further on the topic of organisational performance in the following blog postings of this series. If you are interested, please do feel free to register to our executive education series.
Would you like further information? Do you have questions or suggestions? We look forward to your call, email or letter. You can contact us via the following methods:
Jens Moeller Consulting Ltd.
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