A Springboard for You

For a better life and a better eternity

Get a Real Dream and Pursue It with Passion

I was recently listening to one Dan Miller’s excellent podcasts in which someone chastised him for telling folks they could reach their dreams even in troubled financial times. Of course, Miller, using his own life experience, gave an excellent and helpful reply. However, as I was listening to the letter berating him and then heard his first illustration, a thought solidified in my mind. 

The letter had been talking about just how hard it can be to achieve early retirement or financial prosperity in difficult economic times. It then said Miller shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the present economic climate and tell folks they can all just achieve their dreams. Miller’s first illustration was Michael Phelps who won eight gold medals at the most recent olympics. 

Wait a minute. Winning eight gold medals isn’t about finances. Granted, receiving those medals has given Phelps the inside track on some major endorsement deals I’m sure. But what Miller used as his illustration wasn’t really what the writer was talking about. 

Then it hit me. This letter writer doesn’t have the right dream. His dream is about having lots of money. This demonstrates a problem for many today. If your dream is lots of money, you probably won’t ever get it. Of course, even if you have lots of money by other people’s standards, you will always view yourself as falling short. 

Financial success will rarely come by dreaming of financial success. If all you dream about is financial success, you will wander around aimlessly trying to latch on to the next scheme that might make you some money.On occasion you may end up with some money in your bank account, but it will all be used up and you will be right back where you were, wandering aimlessly looking for the next cash cow. Real financial success comes from a dream that you follow passionately. That passion will set you apart in whatever field your dream causes you to pursue, which will then cause you to find the financial success. Your dream may be helping folks with cancer. It may be helping folks overcome addiction. It may be playing baseball. It may be manicuring lawns. It may be swimming. It may be making people laugh. It may be any number of things.

Here is the very interesting thing. When your dream is properly aligned, the guy who is only dreaming of financial success may not see you as having achieved financial success. You may not reach Trump status when you pursue your dream. However, because your dream is not about making money the fact that your dream is supporting you at all causes you to be satisfied and fulfilled by your dream. 

Let me ask you, do you think if Michael Phelps was not getting endorsement deals that he would be upset about the eight gold medals feeling like it was all a waste? Of course not. He achieved his dream even through tough circumstances. Because his dream was aligned properly, he would probably wonder, what on earth do you mean we can’t achieve our dreams in an economic slump. Sadly, too many people equate achieving their dreams with being rich. They rarely end up rich and they never get their dreams whether the nation is in an economic slump or not.

The economic slump only keeps you from achieving your dreams if they are only about money. The fact is, if your dream is only about money, it’s not a dream worth having. Get a real dream and pursue it with passion.

ELC

P.S. For more great professional advice and some practical tools, click the Dan Miller link above.

October 16, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Dreams, goals, Money, Success | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

6 Keys for Making Goals Work

Everyone and his dog knows if you want to accomplish anything you need to have some goals. You can just walk through the self-help section of the bookstore and you pick up on this. However, there is more to setting goals than just saying we are going to set some goals. We need to do some very practical things to make goals actually work for us. 

  1. Set goals, not wishes
  2. Set goals that are attainable
  3. Set goals that stretch your limits
  4. Write them down
  5. Review them daily
  6. Attach a plan to your goals

1. Set goals, not wishes
Some people think they have goals when actually all they have are wishes. “I want to travel more” is not a goal, it’s a wish. “I want to take my kids to all 50 states over the next 5 years” is a goal. It is a goal because it is measurable. You know when you have achieved it. It also has a deadline. 

2. Set goals that are attainable
If you are like me, you need to set some goals that you can attain. They give you a sense of accomplishment. They give you something to celebrate. They give you a boost to keep going with your other goals. However, don’t only set attainable goals. That leads us to #3.
 
3. Set goals that stretch your limits
At a lunch with Dan Miller, he encouraged me to set goals I wasn’t sure I could accomplish. After all, if I only ever set goals I can easily accomplish, then I never find my limits. More importantly, I never stretch my limits. If I reach for the stars, I may not actually touch one, but I will definitely reach new heights. If I only ever reach for the street lights, I won’t get very far.
 
4. Write them down
Writing goals down makes them real. There is something about having thought through the goal and then putting it on a piece of paper that really brings it home. In fact, I would suggest, for most people, until you have goals written down, you don’t really have goals at all.  
 
5. Review them daily
Don’t write them down and then drop them in a drawer somewhere. Look at them every day. Measure your progress. Ask yourself what you did to move yourself closer to these goals today. What do you have planned to move yourself closer to your goals tomorrow.
 
6. Attach a plan to your goals
Most goals worth having are not merely a one step process. Take the goal mentioned above about traveling to all 50 states. If that were actually a goal of mine, I would need to set out a time line. To meet this goal I could travel to 10 states each year. I need to consider finances and plan how to underwrite these travels. This is going to mandate some smaller goals like savings goals. Let’s say I determine this will cost me $5,000/year. I will have to establish a plan for coming up with those funds. You see the point. I can’t just say, “I’m going to take my kids to all 50 states over the next five years” without developing a plan. This gets us back to the daily review. I need to consider each day if I have followed the plan and measure how well I’m doing at attaining the goal. 
 
Why We Struggle with Goals
If you’re like me at all, you may have some problems with goals. You like to think about them. You like to say you have them, but you keep putting of the 6 keys above. Why? Usually it is an unreasonable fear of failure. If we never actually set a goal, then we never have to admit it if we didn’t attain the goal. Let’s fix this mindset for a moment. As you can see from key #3, the goal of goals is not necessarily to make sure you succeed at accomplishing all your goals. 
 
The goal of goals is to push you to do your absolute best. Someone may set a goal to lose 50 lbs over the next two years. At the end of two years, they may have only lost 40 lbs. Are they a failure? Absolutely not. Okay, they didn’t actually achieve their goal. However, if they hadn’t set the goal and worked hard to attain it, do you think they would have lost 40 lbs? Of course not. This goal accomplished its purpose. It made them work at losing weight. 
 
So, don’t look at goals as merely about accomplishing those goals. Look at goals as a means to drive your farther than you would have gone. Therefore, the only time we actually fail is when we don’t make any goals at all and therefore don’t make any progress.
 
What are your goals?

October 2, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, goals, Success | , , , , | Leave a comment