Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Come Out On Top: Goals to Live By

Come Out On Top!
Goals To Live By

Tom Sheppard

“What lies behind us and what lies before us pales by comparison with what lies within us.”

Why Set Goals?
The story is told of the pilot who spoke to his passengers over the intercom in mid-flight: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking.  I have some good news and some bad news.  The bad news is that none of our navigational systems are working and I have no idea where we are headed.  The good news is that we have a very strong tailwind and are making excellent time.”

Without a goal in mind and a plan to take us there, we are like this pilot, making great time heading off in to a destination we may not like at all.  We all need a map, a compass, and a destination.

Do Goals Really Make Any Difference?
The evidence is clear.  Goals make all the difference int he world.  Probably the most stunning evidence is the study of Yale Business School Graduates conducted from 1953 to 1973.

The graduating class of 1953 from the business school of Yale University participated in a twenty year study about goals. 

At the time of their graduation in 1953:

87% had no goals.
10% had goals which were not written down.
3% had clearly defined, written goals.

In 1973:

The 10% with goals had a net worth 300% higher than the 87% without goals.
The 3% with clearly defined, written goals had a net worth 1000% higher than the 87% without goals.
And, the 3% with clearly defined, written goals had a net worth which was greater than the entire net worth of the other 97% put together.

Even if your personal measure of success is not your net worth, this study speaks volumes about the multiplying effect goals have on your ability to achieve whatever you define as “success.”

What Goals Should I Set?
The goals you should set depend upon what kind of person you want to be.  The process of attaining a goal shapes and defines who you are.  For example:

Three men set the same goal, to be a millionaire by the end of the year. Each has the same goal, but the path each follows to attain the goal makes all the difference in what they become.

The first person plots a series of daring robberies, thefts, and drug deals which allows him to amass a fortune of a million dollars.  In the course of attaining his goal he destroys the lives of many people. He attains his goal and spends the rest of his days worrying that the police will arrest him or that a rival will murder him.  He is a criminal.  And when he departs this life he will have an eternal accounting to make.

The second man builds his fortune selling shoddy products, cheating his customers, cheating his employees, cheating his associates, cheating his suppliers, and cheating the government ~ without getting caught by anyone.  He attains his goal and at the same time has earned himself a good reputation in the community. But, when others heap praise upon him, inside he cringes, hoping that the truth will never come out to destroy his reputation. And when he departs this life he will have an eternal accounting to make.

The third man builds his fortune through hard work and honesty. He does not compromise his standards of integrity and excellence.  He makes a quality product and sells it at a fair price.  He treats others in the same way he would like to be treated. He attains his goal and has earned himself a reputation as a man to be trusted.  When others heap praise upon him, he knows that he has earned it and that there are no dark secrets lurking in his past which may be uncovered to destroy him in an instant.  And when he departs this life he will have an eternal accounting to make.

At the end of one year, all are millionaires.  They have attained their goal. But, each is a very different person by the time they lay hold of their goal.  The end result is not the same at all.

What kind of person do you want to be?  It is not your goals that will make the difference as much as how you attain them that will make the difference. The fact is that Nicolo Machiavelli was wrong when he advised that the end justifies the means. 

The way you get something is more important than what you are trying to get. You will never attain a good goal using evil methods.
Learn how to apply this to your career management in
Tom Sheppard

How Do I Set Goals?
Use the acronym ACTION to set your goals.

A    -Attainable goals
C    -Compatible with your life mission
T    -Time Specific
I     -In Writing
O    -Ownership of your goals
N    -Negotiated and agreed upon

Attainable Goals - It is important to set goals which push you to move out of your comfort zone.

James Collins and Jerry Porras in “Built to Last” talk about companies setting Big Hairy Audacious Goals, BHAGs.  Just like BHAGs help successful companies move forward, they can help individuals too.  But, it is important to set goals which you can attain.

For example, if you set yourself a goal to be liked by everyone you meet, you may enjoy considerable success and still not attain your goal.  There may be someone you meet who will dislike you because of the color of your skin, your religion, your age, where you were born, or simply because you are so liked by everyone else.  You can influence them to help you attain your goal, but you cannot make them like you.

Compatible with your life mission - It is imperative to your happiness; imperative to living an abundant life, that your goals be aligned with what is most important to you.  If you do not know what is truly important to you, then you have just identified one of the first and most important goals you should set; find out what is most important to you.

Time specific - If you do not set a deadline for achieving a goal, it will be nothing more than a wish that someday you hope to attain.  Setting a specific date turns fantasy into reality and focuses all energies of your mind to making the dream a reality.

If President John F. Kennedy had set the goal to someday put a man on the moon, the odds are that we still would not have achieved that lofty goal.  But, when he presented his goal to his advisors, and to the nation, he put a firm deadline on its delivery.  As a result, the best scientific minds in the country worked almost non-stop to make the reality a dream.  In addition, by setting a deadline, he clearly prioritized the goal.  This allowed Congress and the vast powers of the Executive Branch of government to marshal their resources to make it happen.  The honor of the United States was on the line.  If we did not achieve the goal, we might be called failures ~ and Americans do not fail.

Fear of failing can be used to motivate you to do whatever it takes to achieve your goal by the stated time.  But, if you don’t set a date, you can never fail until you have died without attaining it; then who will care about one failure?

In Writing - When we write things down, they become real to us.  When a goal is not written, it is just a dream which may be forgotten when we awake.  But, when we awake from dreaming and write it down, then we have a record of what we dreamed.  We have a way to constantly remind ourselves of what we really want to do. 

It is this principle which makes the simple daily “To Do” list such a powerful tool for getting things done.  When we keep the list in our head, we may forget some items, or we may cheat ourselves and pretend it wasn't really on our list for that day.  But, when we write out the list, there is irrefutable evidence of what we wanted to accomplish this day.  Furthermore, as the troubles of the day fog our mind from time to time, the list serves to remind us of what is most important to accomplish this day.

Likewise, writing down our goals, along with the deadline, helps to remind us of what is important for us to accomplish this day, this week, this year, this decade, or in this life.

Ownership of your goals - To give you the desire you need to overcome every obstacle and achieve a goal, it must be your own goal.  It cannot be a goal set for you by someone else.

If your mother always wanted you to be a doctor, that probably won’t be enough motivation for you to endure the rigors of medical school, internship, and residency.  If your desire to please your mother is strong enough, that might carry you through.  But, it is doubtful that you will find an abundant life as a doctor unless it was your goal for yourself.

Others may want you to quit smoking, or to lose weight, or to win a beauty pageant.  But if you don’t want to do it for your own reasons, then you don’t own the goal.

Negotiated and agreed upon - Often, for us to attain our goals we need support from others.  For example, when the goals involve our job skills, we need the support of our supervisor or coworkers.  When this is the case, it is important that we collaborate with those who can help or hinder our progress.  By enlisting their aid we can make our task a thousand times easier.

How do you win the cooperation and collaboration of others in achieving your goals?  The simplest and most effective way is to first show them what’s in it for them.  If they understand that doing what you want them to do helps them get something they want, most people will jump in with both feet.  But, if you focus on how much it is going to help you, they are likely to perceive you as self-centered and selfish.  No one trusts
a selfish person to do anything to help another.

ACTION, a simple formula for powerful results!
Learn how to use this information to insure your career security
Career Insurance
Tom Sheppard
Measurable, Daily Activities (MDAs)
Working backward from your deadline identify obstacles and break your goals into measurable, daily activities. With daily activities you can see your progress toward your goal every day.  It gives you a thousand small successes which help propel you to the final success, attaining your goal.  By making each daily task measurable, you ensure that your achievement is objectively measured. It is no longer an opinion whether you have moved closer to your goal or not, it is an irrefutable fact.

Even behavioral changes, one of the fuzziest and most difficult kind of goals, can be turned into measurable, daily activities.

For example, one of the attributes of peak performers is a positive self image.  Many people struggle with this.  A measurable daily activity to move you closer to the goal of having a positive self image is to find three new positive things to say about yourself each day for six months.  By the end of six months you should have a much more positive attitude about yourself.

Create a work plan to take you from where you are to where you want to be!

Set Goals to Last a Lifetime
Many people do not survive their success.  They attain their goals and reach great heights.  Then, they slide out of sight into obscurity and unhappiness.  Why?

They set goals to climb a great mountain, instead of striving to become a great mountain climber.  On reaching the top of their great mountain, they find that they have no where else to go from there, except down.

In contrast, those who set their sights on becoming great mountain climbers find that when they have conquered one peak, there are others on the horizon.  There is always another challenge to further sharpen their skills.

All great mountain climbers climb great mountains.  But, not all people who climb great mountains are great mountain climbers.

Which will you be?

Set goals which build your skills rather than focusing on simple attainments.  Use achievements as milestones to keep you on track and mark your progress as you develop.

When your goals are focused on becoming the kind of person you want to become you will never find yourself in the sad situation of having attained all your objectives and being left with nowhere to go except down.

Learn how to apply this to your career management in
Tom Sheppard

Question:  How Do I Achieve My Goals?
Answer: Use the Eye of Faith

Everything we have or do is preceded by an image in our mind.”

Seeing the end of your efforts, envisioning the results before they are achieved, is an ancient and true principle.  In religion, it is called faith - the belief or assurance of something which is not seen, but which is true.

Let’s set aside the religious implications of faith for a moment and instead of talking about faith in God or faith in man, let us discuss faith itself, what it is and how it affects us.

It is important that every person realize that first of all, faith is the motivating force in every rational being.  Why would the farmer plant his crops if he did not have some assurance that he would be able to harvest them?  Why the laborer go to work if they did not believe they would get paid for their efforts?  In fact, why would anyone get out of bed in the morning if they did not believe that they could do so?  Would you bother with a light switch if you did not believe that the lights would come on?

The farmer cannot see his harvest when we plants his seeds, except in his mind’s eye.  He will spend the season watering and tending his fields and finally at the end of the season, many months later, he will hold in his hands the fruits of his labors.  Gained through his labor, but his labor was the result of his belief that he could attain the harvest. 

The laborer cannot see his pay and his food earned by his labors when he starts the day, except in his mind’s eye.  It is not until at the end of the day, or week, or two weeks, or month, that his pay is placed in his hand.  And then he must believe, have faith, that the store will honor the scrip he carries and give him food and clothing in exchange for his slips of paper.

Recognize your faith that you can achieve something is essential to its attainment.

After understanding that faith the principle of action in all rational beings the second thing to realize about faith is that it is also a principle of power.

Programming Your Mind
Scientists tell us that humans use less than 10% of our mind.  Given the marvelous things that mankind has achieved just using 10% or less, think of the potential achievements if we can bring that other 90% of our mind to bear on our tasks.

Our subconscious mind accepts whatever our conscious mind feeds to it.  If we tell ourselves we are a failure, the subconscious believes it and transmits that signal to our every fiber, making it true.  If we tell our subconscious that we feel great, it transmits that message too, making it true.

But beyond the role of transmitter, our subconscious is a vast dark pool of resources which we can tap, but only indirectly.  When we present our mind with a problem, and turn it over to our subconscious, sooner or later it will present us with a solution to the very problem we have given it.  If we give it an obstacle to our progress, and the belief that the obstacle can be overcome, it will provide us with marvelous, and highly effective ways to overcome the obstacle. 

Napoleon Hill, in his book “Think and Grow Rich” recounts the story of the inventor of the modern sewing machine.  He could not figure out how to get the machine to actually stitch the clothes.  It seemed he would fail to create a sewing machine.  Then, one night he had a dream.

He found himself in a tropical island pursued by cannibals with long, pointed spears. Near the pointed tip of each spear was an oval shaped hole.  When he awoke, he realized that the dream held the answer he had been seeking.  When he made a needle with the hole for the thread near the tip of the needle, instead of at the back end, his machine worked.  His subconscious had delivered to him the answer to his riddle.

By telling our subconscious that a goal is attainable, we bring our whole being, conscious and subconscious, to bear on overcoming every obstacle to attain that goal.  Thus, we see that our faith brings power to bear and impels us to attain what we can see in our mind’s eye.

Faith is the motivating principle in all rational beings and it is a principle of power.
Learn how to use this information to insure your career security
Tom Sheppard
The Importance of Work
Many will say that living the abundant life is a matter of luck.  

LUCK = Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.

Laboring - working is essential to living an abundant life.  Without work you are little better than a victim, waiting for some stroke of fate or act of God to bestow upon you the desires of your heart.  It is well said that, “God helps them that help themselves.”

There are many secrets to a successful career.  If you don’t believe me, just check out the self-help section of any bookstore. You will see that there are “seven habits,”  “ten steps,” or “nine points” which will make you effective, happy, or wildly successful.  Regardless of the number, there is only one proven true key to the doorway which leads to a career successfully insured against the vagaries of the marketplace.  Without this key, you will never open the door and you will never be able to insure your career.  Work is the key.

“The only place success comes before work, is in the dictionary.”

The most important part is to Get Started
When you delay starting to work on your goals, you are not putting off hard work.  Instead, you are delaying the time when you can enjoy the benefits of your goals.

Regardless of how lofty or low you set your sights, you must start with a single step.  And follow each step with another.  By defining the steps you must take to attain your goals, you relieve yourself of the burden of resetting your goals every day.

“A step at a time is good walking.” 
Ancient Chinese Proverb

Set your goals, define your plan, and act on your plan.

“There is only right here and right now.  The time is never perfect to begin.”
Paul & Dan Monaghan

What if I Fail?

“Failure is an opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”

Thomas Edison tried 10,000 times before he found the right combination of parts to make an electric light bulb which worked.

Babe Ruth struck out 1330 times to become the Home Run King with 714 home runs.

When was the last time you heard of someone who became too frustrated learning to walk as a child, and decided to give up and crawl for the rest of their life?  It doesn't happen.  But, some adults have less sense than
a baby.

If you keep focusing on your goal, you will automatically climb over every obstacle in your path.

Ten Core Beliefs of Peak Performers

1. Winners are not born, they are made.

2. The dominant force in your existence is the thinking you engage in.

3. You are empowered to create your own reality.

4. There is some benefit to be had from every adversity.

5. Each one of your beliefs is a choice.

6. You are never defeated until you accept defeat as a reality, and decide to stop trying.

7. You already possess the ability to excel in at least one key area of your life.

8. The only real limitations on what you can accomplish in your life are those you impose on yourself.

9. There can be no great success without great commitment.

10. You need the support and cooperation of other people to achieve any worthwhile goal.

Dr. Walter Staples

Make several copies of the previous page and post them where you will see them every day when you get up and each night when you lay down to sleep.  Also post them where you spend most of your time during the day. Put them in places where you cannot help but look at it.  Then, read it out loud to yourself every time you see it.  

And remember, you are a peak performer.  

You are a winner.

Learn how to apply this to your career management in
Tom Sheppard
Topics Related to This Post  
Success, Goals, Goal Setting, Entrepreneur, Inspiration 
Books Related To This Post:

The Home Finders blog was created by ADB Properties and The Gold Seal Homes Group to provide a resource for people in the greater Charlotte, NC area to find peace of mind through quality, affordable homes. This blog features properties that are currently available to rent or buy from affiliates of The Gold Seal Homes Group ( All affiliates of The Gold Seal Homes Group agree to abide by high ethical standards and certain operating procedures that make it easy for people to do business with all affiliates.
© Copyright 2014 by Thomas K Sheppard
All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the author.


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