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Posts Tagged ‘clarity’

Insufficient Planning (Number 9 in a 10-Part Series)

Goal PlannerA big reason why many people don’t reach their full and unique potential is they simply don’t plan well and leave too much up to chance.

Many people think you don’t need to figure out how you will achieve a goal. All you have to do is write it down and “attract” it.

I think that works some of the time. I’ve written things down that I wanted, put no effort into accomplishing them and sometimes never even thought about them again—until they happened.

So yes, I think there is some power in just being clear on what you want and expecting it.

But for important goals, I think your confidence and your expectation of achieving them go up dramatically when you’ve done the proper planning.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything”.

He understood that especially in the heat of battle, no plan is perfect. But planning does focus you on the process and can avoid many of the pitfalls and obstacles that can get in the way.

How do you set and plan your goals?

Do you decide on what you want and then hope it will happen? Do you write them down? Do you formulate a plan of action? Do you know the critical elements of that plan?

My experience has shown me that less than 3 percent of people have a written plan. And I’ve seen studies where only about 3 percent of people ever achieve any significant success.

Coincidence? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Does a clear, specific and well-thought-out plan guarantee success? No, it doesn’t. But I’d bet on the plan over the no-plan every time.

So if planning is so important, why don’t people do more of it? Here’s a few things that people let get in the way:

  • They’re not sold on the value
  • They aren’t sure how to do it
  • They’re too busy doing instead of thinking and planning
  • They think it’s too hard
  • They believe it’s dull and uninteresting

But none of these excuses match up to the many benefits of good planning.

One of the simplest and most powerful means of planning is to begin with the end in mind and work backwards. What will it take to create the outcome you envision? What has to happen to create the intended results?

Breaking the overall plan down into strategies and tactics creates more confidence. Having more confidence that your goal is achievable increases the likelihood you’ll take consistent action. Good planning allows you to determine and allocate resources and delegate certain components to move the project along faster.

A good plan enables you to be proactive, rather than reactive. It stimulates forward thinking, builds teamwork and expertise and helps establish and manage priorities.

Planning Resources:

What we came up with is a goal planning system. We then beta-tested it with our entire Diamond Club team and made further revisions. The result is The SuccessNet Goal Planner. And it’s a good one—a VERY good one.

We borrowed the best of the best, innovated, kept it simple and made it easy to use.

Here’s just some of what you’ll get from this system:

  • clarity on what you really want out of life
  • raise your belief as to what’s possible
  • more balance in your life
  • feel more confident and have more passion
  • prioritize your goals and work on what’s truly worthwhile
  • checklists to keep you on track, focused and consistent
  • access to other valuable resources
  • and much, much more . . .

You can learn more about the Goal Planner and get yours on this page . . .

However, for a limited time, The Goal Planner is included as a no-cost bonus when you order
The Best Life Navigator.

As I’ve often said, “Ideas are worthless. Intentions have no power. Plans are nothing . . . unless they are followed with action. Do it Now!”

Take Action

  1. Order The Best Life Navigator with Goal Planner
  2. Map out a plan for one of your top 3 goals
  3. Have someone you trust review it for clarity and effectiveness

Please Tell Us What You Think
I’ve published this article and previous ones here on my Blog. Please add your comments, questions and suggestions at the bottom of the post. Your feedback is important. If you disagree with anything, say so. If you have questions, ask. If you have additional insights or resources, please share. I promise to read every one. Thank you.

Previous installments of this series are located here on my Blog.

1. Insufficient Desire
2. Lack of—or Erroneous—Beliefs
3. Confusion, Lack of Clarity
4. Lack of Focus and Concentration
5. Inadequate Support
6. Fear
7. Poor Tracking
8. Poor Disciplines, Bad Habits

Poor Tracking (Number 7 is a 10-Part Series)

PoorTrackingWould you watch a football game where nobody was keeping score and there wasn’t any time-keeper?

Would you attempt to operate a business with no sales reports, profit and loss statement, or balance sheet?

Would you put your money in a bank without being able to see an accurate report of what you had in your accounts?

Of course not.

And yet, most people try to run their lives with little or no tacking of where they are, where they’re going or what kind of progress they’re making. You can’t win if you don’t play, but you also can’t win if you don’t know what the score is.

To live your best life, you have to keep score. You have to know your numbers..

But I know people who have thousands of stats about baseball and football in their head but don’t have hardly ANY stats on their life, their goals and their finances.

You can’t change what you don’t measure. And what gets measured gets done. If you don’t measure you are just a wandering generality.

You have to know where you are, where you’re going, why you are doing it and how you plan to get there in order to have the clarity that leads to power.

It’s the only way to focus. If you’re serious about living your best life and achieving your goals, you MUST commit to keeping meaningful metrics.

If you have a business without sufficient metrics, you have a hobby instead of a business. And if you aren’t serious about tracking, you simply aren’t serious about success.

I created an acronym a few years back as a reminder of how important this is:

Measure

Essentials

To

Reach

Incredible

Clarity and

Success

This is the M in SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Good tracking of performance indicators is not hard and can actually be fun. You can even make a game of it. And the pay-offs are substantial.

So what should you track? Anything that impacts your performance or results in achieving your objectives. It will vary depending upon the complexity, importance and length of time required to reach your goals.

Here are some examples:

  • Credit score
  • Time invested
  • New customers
  • Income & Expenses
  • Wins & Losses
  • Results
  • Progress
  • Health
    • weight
    • exercise activity
    • food intake
    • measurements
    • blood pressure
  • Speed
  • Profits
  • Sales

In every important goal you have—and especially your top three—you must ask yourself how you will track your progress and how you will know how you are doing.

I believe that feedback is the breakfast of champions—and good metrics provide good feedback. Remember that visible is memorable. Make your metrics easy to see, not hidden away in some obscure file or desk drawer. Use graphs and charts and make your data come alive.

Most financial information for businesses and even personal finances are too historical to do you much good. You need timely updates, quick feedback and up-to-date reporting. The more timely your tracking, the more success you can expect.

So what keeps you from using meaningful metrics to track, guide and win? There are many, I’m sure. But here’s what I’ve encountered the most:

  • You’ve never been sold on how powerful and important they are
  • Keeping stats sound boring and dull
  • Tracking looks like hard work
  • Don’t know which indicators are important to track
  • Being overwhelmed by too many stats
  • Not wanting to face the real numbers
  • Thinking it will take too much time

Strategies
Make it easy to do. If it’s hard or time-consuming you won’t do it. So look for ways to make it simple and easy. Use tools and apps. Spreadsheets are a great way to record, track and graph information. It’s worth learning how to create and use spreadsheets well. And there are many templates already available for free.

Use white boards, poster boards and screen savers to keep your information visible.

Create your own “Snapshot” and/or Dashboard.

For accounting, QuickBooks (for business) and Quicken (for personal use) are inexpensive and easy to use.

Make a game out of it. Make it fun and you’ll find it fun to do.

Here’s an example of some of our top performance indicators that we track here at SuccessNet:

  • Promotions and their results
  • Visitors: new, unique, # of accesses
  • Open rates of emails sent
  • New contacts
  • Sales
  • New subscribers, new members
  • Current mailing list size
  • Unsubscribes
  • Cost per customer
  • Average sale per customer
  • Cost per sale, conversion rate
  • Comparison of averages, maximums, minimums, last year, last month

And here are a few that a small retail store would track:

  • Daily sales, weather, other influences
  • Sales calls, closes, prospects, inquiries
  • Net worth
  • Profit and Loss
  • Inventory
  • Returns

I also recommend the use of SWOT Analysis—for life and your business. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s not so much tracking as it is a benchmark for where you are. See the resource below for a full explanation.

Resources

 

Take Action

1. Pick at least three performance indicators to track and start tracking
a. At least a couple for each Top Goal
2. Do a SWOT analysis on your business, then add to it over the next week
3. Create a Month-End Snapshot

And hang in there. It will get easier, more habitual and more fun the more you do it. I like what Robin Sharma says about change: “Change is difficult in the beginning, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”

Please Tell Us What You Think
I’ve published this article and the previous one here on my Blog. Please add your comments, questions and suggestions at the bottom of the post. Your feedback and engagement is important. If you disagree with anything, say so. If you have questions, ask. If you have additional insights or resources, please share. I promise to read every one. Thank you.

BTW, you’ll gain even greater value from this series if you have a copy of my book, The Achievement Code: The 3C Formula for Getting What You Truly Want (available in print or Kindle). Details at www.TheAchievementCode.com

Previous installments of this series are located here on my Blog.

1. Insufficient Desire
2. Lack of—or Erroneous—Beliefs
3. Confusion, Lack of Clarity
4. Lack of Focus and Concentration
5. Inadequate Support
6. Fear

Please share this series with your friends. We thank you—and so will your friends.

Lack of Focus & Concentration (4th in a 10-Part Series)

In every survey we’ve ever conducted here at SuccessNet, lack of focus has always come up as one of the top three problems faced by our readers.

Distractions and competition for our focus has never been greater. TV, eMail, phones, and 24-hour news are all screaming for our attention. We feel tugged at from every direction. Our priorities get challenged and tested, and we must exert extra effort to stay focused and concentrated on our most important objectives.

For many people, chaos has become the norm. They are rarely sure of the next best action to take and they feel put upon, strung out, disorganized and uncertain.

The goal should be a focused life—on ourselves, others, as well as environment and events.

“Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives:
where we focus our attention.”

—Greg Anderson

That’s why we created The Navigator. It’s number one job is Clarity. And it’s number two job is Focus.

But before we get started on this topic, let’s review where we’ve been.
Note: All previous installments are located here on my Blog.

1. Insufficient Desire

2. Lack of—or Erroneous Beliefs

3. Confusion, Lack of Clarity

Back to Focus . . .
The ability to focus is not something you either have or don’t have. It’s more like a muscle that needs exercise and training. And we want to develop the skill to have selective attention. At the same time, we have to have the ability to understand the big picture AND focus on the small actions that affect the big picture.

  • Enemies of Focus
  • Distractions
  • Tolerations
  • Drama
  • Poor health, low energy, fatigue
  • Focusing on our weaknesses
  • Unsupportive environment
  • Unclear boundaries
  • Disorder and disorganization
  • Multi-tasking
  • Not operating in present time
  • BSO Syndrome

Strategies for More Focus . . .

Selective Attention
It’s about choice. Much of focus is about saying no. We have to be able to say no to things that distract us. And we have to say no to the good in order to say yes to the great.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple after having been fired from his own company years earlier, they were losing money—a lot of money.

One of the first things he did was to eliminate many of the various models of computers they were building to satisfy requests from retailers. By focusing on fewer products, they could do a better job and increase profit margins. The very next year they started turning a profit.

Concentration is about avoiding the things that distract us and actively directing our focus—sometimes by not focusing on some things.

Clutter & Disorder
Order and organization may not sound all that sexy or fun, but it supports our efforts to concentrate. Being organized simply makes it easier to concentrate. When things are in disarray or out of place, when priorities are unclear, when things are unplanned, chaos rules the day.

Contrary to what some people think, order and structure doesn’t hinder creativity. In fact, it supports it. So de-clutter on a regular basis. Consider hiring a professional organizer to get you started.

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.”

—Albert Einstein

PMA
Having a positive, confident attitude creates a good environment for focus. Your mind operates more effectively and you have more energy. It’s just easier.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

—Thomas Jefferson

Distractions
What are distractions? Distractions are anything that interrupts or diverts our attention, energy or activities away from our intended outcome or actions.

And distractions aren’t all bad. We need some distraction from time to time. We need to take breaks and distractions can serve a positive purpose—so long as they’re done consciously.

It’s the distractions that take us away unintentionally that need to be dealt with.

You can’t avoid them all. Things happen outside our control. The key is to minimize them as much as possible and have contingency plans and tactics to overcome them when they occur.

Tolerations
We all have things in our life that we tolerate. These can be a big source of distractions to us and sap our energy. By identifying them and targeting them for elimination, we improve our ability to focus and concentrate on what will get us closer to our objectives.

Poor Health, Low Energy and Fatigue
It’s been said that health is the first wealth. And I agree. I’ve been blessed with good health. And I hope you are, too. Certainly there is a fair amount of our health that’s not completely in our hands. In those cases, we must play the hand we’re dealt—however unfair it might seem.

Poor health can be a distraction or an outright obstacle in your desire for focus and concentration. It’s incumbent on you to take as good care of your physical and mental health as possible. It’s part of positioning yourself to win.

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

—Vince Lombardi

Getting good rest, managing our energy and healthy eating all contribute to having the energy and vitality to achieve what we want.

It’s mostly common sense. And it gets easier to do when we’re committed to our goals and dedicated to their achievement. Resolve to be in the best physical and mental shape to succeed.

Meditation
Focus requires rest. And meditation is a good way for our minds and bodies to rest and become centered. Notice when your mind wanders—and it will. It happens during meditation and it happens when we are working on a project. The key is to notice—and then refocus ourselves on the task at hand.

Be Grateful
Gratefulness focuses us on what we want rather than on what we don’t. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way toward opening ourselves to greater focus and concentration.

BSOS – Bright and Shiny Object Syndrome
Many innovative, creative, hardworking people suffer from what I like to call Bright and Shiny Object Syndrome. They chase off after interesting, pleasurable, opportunistic ideas and projects—to the detriment of their current goal or project.

Like the two sirens in Homer’s Odyssey, they can be highly seductive. And you must find ways to overcome their temptation. Your next great idea is often poison to your current project or goal. You must steel yourself from the lure of BSOS.

Love What You Do
Doing work you love that’s consistent with your values makes focus much easier.

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day of your life.”

—Confucius

Power of Three’s
OK, so we can’t always stick to one point. And we rarely can only focus on one project at a time. We need to be able to juggle and manage multiple priorities.

I’ve always believed that three is a powerful number. We find it in some very significant places. The most powerful physical structure is a triangle or pyramid. In fact, it’s the building block of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. There may be four sides to a pyramid, but the strength of its structure is from the triangle.

As we become immersed in an ocean of information, possibilities and directions, it becomes even more important for us to focus on the things that are truly important to us—the things that will make a difference in the quality of our lives.

Three things can easily be remembered. Any more than that and retention suffers. We can all sharpen our focus and get better results by using the Rule of Three in our daily lives.

It’s quite possible that if you have more than three priorities, you don’t really have any priorities.

Resources

  • The Best Life Navigator™ launches soon. It allows you to keep your personal and professional growth front and center. And becoming Fiercely Focused is one of its goals. It has the tools you need for your success—all in one place.
  • Previous installments of this series . . . www.MichaelAngier.com
    • Insufficient Desire
    • Lack of—or Erroneous—Beliefs
    • Confusion, Lack of Clarity

Take Action

  1. Pick your top 3 enemies of focus
  2. Determine your 3 highest pay-off activities for achieving your goals
  3. Use The Power of Three for your To Do List

“By narrowing your focus, you broaden your horizons.”

Stay tuned for the next installment of The Top 10 Reasons Good People Don’t Always Win. Do you have a guess as to what might be the next of the Top 10 Reasons?

Please Tell Us What You Think
I’ve published this article and the previous one here on my Blog. Please add your comments, questions and suggestions at the bottom of the post. Your feedback and engagement is important. If you disagree with anything, say so. If you have questions, ask. If you have additional insights or resources, please share. I promise to read every one. Thank you.

BTW, you’ll gain even greater value from this series if you have a copy of my book, The Achievement Code: The 3C Formula for Getting What You Truly Want (available in print or Kindle). Details at www.TheAchievementCode.com