Like the account of Alice in Alice in Wonderland, many of us haven’t taken time to clearly define what we want and where we want to take our lives and businesses. Walking along, Alice comes to a fork in the road. The Cheshire Cat is sitting there, and Alice asks him which way she should go. The cat logically asks Alice where she wants to end up, to which she replies, “I don’t much care where as long as it’s somewhere. “Then,” says the Cat, “It doesn’t matter which way you walk.” This seems absurd, yet it’s easy for entrepreneurs to get absorbed in the daily chores of running a business and become like Alice.
We can learn from a recent survey of people over the age of 95. They were asked the question, ‘If you were to live your life over again, what would you do differently?’ Many answers were given, but the following three were shared by most:
I would reflect more
I would risk more
I would do more things that would live on after me.
Knowing what you want in life and putting plans in place to achieve it is rewarding and may allow you look back in the future without regret.
Step 1. Dare to Define Your Dream!
Create a crystal clear picture of the end result you want.
Take time out to reflect on what you really want in life.
Focus on your goal. See it! What will it look like? There’s power in a picture. Hang a picture of it where you spend the most time.
Consider the cost. Make sure you’re willing to pay the price. When you decide to do something, you’re automatically saying “no” to other things.
Step 2. Keep Your Eyes on Your Carrot
Like the donkey with his carrot on a stick, focus on moving towards your goal.
Identify future rewards and keep them in mind. Think about how you will feel when you get there.
Reward yourself along the way—perhaps a weekend away, a massage, a walk in the park or your favorite latté when you reach a milestone along the way.
Regularly review your progress.
Step 3. Avoid Common Pitfalls that Sabotage Success
Beware of traps that can trip you up.
Beware of Bright Shiny Objects! In our information-laden world, we’re barraged daily with a tempting array of possibilities and products—all vying for our time and attention.
Learn to separate the important from the urgent.
Don’t get bogged down with busyness—the number one reason why people fail to move forward in their desired direction.
Procrastination presents a challenge. Having a system in place can help beat this.
Step 4. Set up a System to Get You There
Design one that works for you and set goals to get you where you want to go.
Looking at the end result can be overwhelming, so break your big goal down into bite-sized pieces.
Then, start at the end—where you ultimately want to be in life and in your business. In light of that, where do you need to be three years from today? To achieve this, what will you need to have in place in two years, then one year? Then, break that down further into 30-day goals.
Use daily to-do lists. Keep them short and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything done. It helps to circle the ONE thing that’s most important to get done that day.
Step 5. Stay the Course
Things don’t always go the way you hope they will—life, crises and interruptions happen; projects take longer than planned.
Be accountable to someone else. It’s all too easy to make excuses when there’s no one to answer to. Ask a friend to help you. Tell them to accept no excuses. Encourage and thank them, especially when they have to be tough.
Be persistent and refuse to quit if the going gets rough.