For today’s Learn from the Leaders feature, I’ve got the wisdom of one of the world’s best teachers when it comes to goals and goal setting. Jack Canfield is the co-author of not only the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, but also a fantastic book called The Power of Focus. In the third chapter, Canfield discusses goals, goal setting, and seeing the big picture.
What I’ve learned over the years is if you want to succeed, you’ve got to be focused on your goals. Like the definition of success, goals are different for everyone. Maybe success for you is to be a great spouse and parent, so your goals might be to create great bonding time and wonderful memories with your family. Maybe your idea of success is to be the owner of an incredibly profitable company that cleans up pollution all over the world, so your goals might include developing a way to break down or recycle radioactive waste into something beneficial. Whatever success is, you’re goals will match it.
Jack talks about developing “unusual” clarity of your future. He relates that Einstein spent one day in a special “thinking chair” – a chair he had set aside for only thinking – coming up with ideas that were new to him. So did Peter Daniels, an internationally acclaimed businessperson and author of You Were Wrong, Mrs. Peterson! Each took the time do create vivid images in their head about what the future he was building would look like. They developed an unusual sense of clarity. Jack encourages us to spend at least an hour per day doing likewise.
He even offers a checklist of how to set clear, motivating goals that will help you create a vivid image of your future. Here they are:
- Your Most Important Goals Must Be Yours You can not let the goals that drive you actions in life be designed by someone else. You have to decide for yourself what really matters to you.
- Your Goals Must Be Meaningful Having a goal that’s worth sacrificing for is the only way to stay motivated towards your success long term. Make sure you know why you’ve got to put in the work.
- Your Goals Must Be Specific And Measurable If you have an abstract goal or one that is too general (i.e. to be really, really happy), you won’t be able to hit it. Jack offers three words that help: Be More Specific.
- Your Goals Must Be Flexible Flexibility allows you to change course. What happens if, in two years, you don’t want to sell clams anymore? Would you consider yourself a failure if you were successful at something else?
- Your Goals Must Be Challenging And Exciting Boredom is a terrible enemy of motivation. Set goals that won’t let it seep in to your life.
- Your Goals Must Be In Alignment With Your Values You can’t succeed at anything that causes you to compromise who you are and what you believe. If your goals and values line up, the work will seem effortless.
- Your Goals Must Be Well Balanced Make sure to include goals that build a solid foundation away from work. Do things now that you’ll wish you did more of later.
- Your Goals Must Be Realistic Look at your goals objectively and assess whether or not they are feasible, mostly in terms of your time frame. You can’t build a billion dollar company in 48 hours, but you can lay the framework for one.
- Your Goals Must Include Contribution To receive, one must first give. Not only is contribution a basic need of human existence, but it is also the key to gaining success.
- Your Goals Need To Be Supported Make sure the right people know your goals so you’ll get them done. Some people tell only themselves, some people tell their friends, and some people tell the world. Do what works for you.
The action step you should take today is to sit down with this checklist and set your goals. It can only do you good. If you’re the type that wants to share with us, we’d love to hear about your goals in the comments! See you next week!