Make Your Goals Count in the New Year by Jim Rohn

I’ve often said the major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get. That is why goals are so powerful – they are part of the fabric that makes up our lives. And goal-setting is where we create our goals.

Goal-setting is powerful, partly because it provides focus. It shapes our dreams. It gives us the ability to hone in on the exact actions we need to perform to achieve everything we desire in life. Goals are GREAT because they cause us to stretch and grow in ways that we never have before. In order to reach our goals we must become better. We must change and grow.

Also, goals provide long-term vision in our lives. We all need lots of powerful, long-range goals to help us get past short-term obstacles. Life is designed in such a way that we look long-term and live short-term. We dream for the future and live in the present. Unfortunately, the present can produce many difficult obstacles. But fortunately, the more powerful our goals (because they are inspiring and believable) the more we will be able to act on them in the short-term and guarantee that they will actually come to pass.

So, let’s take a closer look at the topic of goal-setting and see how we can make it forceful as well as practical. What are the key aspects to learn and remember when studying and writing our goals?

1. Evaluation and Reflection. The only way we can reasonably decide what we want in the future and how we will get there is to first know where we are right now and what our level of satisfaction is for where we are in life. So first take some time and think through and write down your current situation, then ask this question on each key point—is that okay?

The purpose of evaluation is two-fold. First, it gives you an objective way to look at your accomplishments and your pursuit of the vision you have for your life. Secondly, it is to show you where you are so you can determine where you need to go. In other words, it gives you a baseline from which to work.

2. What are Your Dreams and Goals? These are the dreams and goals that are born out of your own heart and mind. These are the goals that are unique to you and come from who you were created to be and gifted to become. So second, make a list of all the things you desire for the future.

One of the amazing things we have been given as humans is the unquenchable desire to have dreams of a better life, and the ability to establish goals to live out those dreams. Think of it: We can look deep within our hearts and dream of a better situation for ourselves and our families; dream of better financial lives and better emotional or physical lives; certainly dream of better spiritual lives. But what makes this even more powerful is that we have also been given the ability to not only dream but to pursue those dreams and not just pursue them, but the cognitive ability to actually lay out a plan and strategies (setting goals) to achieve those dreams. Powerful!

What are your dreams and goals? This isn’t what you already have or what you have done, but what you want. Have you ever really sat down and thought through your life values and decided what you really want? Have you ever taken the time to truly reflect, to listen quietly to your heart, to see what dreams live within you? Your dreams are there. Everyone has them. They may live right on the surface, or they may be buried deep from years of others telling you they were foolish, but they are there.

3. S.M.A.R.T. Goals. S.M.A.R.T. means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive.

I really like this acronym, S.M.A.R.T., because we want to be smart when we set our goals. We want to intelligently decide what our goals will be so that we can actually accomplish them. We want to set the goals that our heart conceives, our minds believe and that our bodies will carry out. Let’s take a closer look at each of the components of S.M.A.R.T. goals:

Specific: Goals are no place to waffle. They are no place to be vague. Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results. Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures.

Measurable: Always set goals that are measurable. I would say “specifically measurable” to take into account our principle of being specific as well.

Attainable: One of the detrimental things that many people do – and they do it with good intentions— is to set goals that are so high they are unattainable.

Realistic: The root word of realistic is “real.” A goal has to be something that we can reasonably make “real” or a “reality” in our lives.

Time: Every goal should have a time frame attached to it. I think that life itself is much more productive if there is a time frame connected to it. Could you imagine how much procrastination there would be on earth if people never died? We would never get “around to it.” We could always put it off. One of the powerful aspects of a great goal is that it has an end, a time in which you are shooting to accomplish it.

4. Accountability (a contract with yourself or someone else). When someone knows what your goals are, they hold you accountable by asking you to “give an account” of where you are in the process of achieving that goal. Accountability puts some teeth into the process. If a goal is set and only one person knows it, does it really have any power? Many times, no. At the very least, it isn’t as powerful as if you have one or more other people who can hold you accountable to your goal.

When you put these 4 key pieces together, you are putting yourself in a position of power that will catapult you toward achieving your goals.

Phenomenal Woman

Here is some inspiration for this Veterans Day for all those lovely ladies out there!

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

 

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

New Skills to Offer YOU!

I am proud to now be able to offer you new skills that I have acquired over the last few months! I have been madly taking online classes and practicing my writing skills, and that landed me a new client, Grafton Web! I wrote two advertising brochures for one of their clients. I will have the brochures up on a portfolio page in the next few days! In addition to my new copywriting skills, I have also learned how to set up Etsy accounts and website maintenance. I am so excited to be able to offer you these new skills!

sales-copy-is-king

How to Have a Great Meeting

By Matt Smith and Craig Ballantyne

Think back to a time where you had to sit through a boring, wasteful meeting. Maybe you’ve had one already today. 

meeting

Step #1 – Limit the Meeting to the Right People 

The importance of having all the right people and none of the wrong people in the meeting cannot be overstated.

Every person in the room should be there for a specific reason. If you can’t look around the room and explain very succinctly why each person is there then you’re wasting someone’s time and potentially everyone’s time. Each person should either contribute to specific decisions that are expected to be made -OR- take the action required after the meeting ends. Identify and eliminate the people who don’t contribute to either of these causes. Having someone in the room to generate ideas isn’t enough of a reason. Consult with them before the meeting begins in your preparation.

Step #2 – The Meeting Must Have a Very Clear Leader

The meeting leader is not an assumed role. It should be clearly stated in advance so the leader can properly prepare.

The meeting leader must know what the primary activity is for the meeting in general and must drive forward the agenda. They must keep the meeting focused and moving. The purpose of having a meeting can usually be boiled down to one (or a combination) of the four things below.

1) Making Decisions
2) Planning
3) Information sharing: One to Many
4) Information sharing: Brainstorming/Problem Solving

The meeting driver must know where they are in relation to the agenda, meeting objectives, and what activity would best serve that end at any point in the meeting.

Step #3 – Have Measurable Outcomes (M/O)

Every meeting must have a stated measurable outcome.

“By the end of this meeting we will have decided X and Y, we’ll appoint a driver to take responsibility for Y and we’ll put together a rough timeline for when Y will be launched.”

It’s a good idea to state the M/O before the meeting starts and at the end of the meeting make sure everyone agrees that the M/O has been accomplished. Be clear and concise. For example:

“We have a lot of membership renewals coming due and we want to improve the retention rate of our subscribers. To do this, we are going to test email reminders compared to the postcards we use now. So, the purpose of this meeting is to decide how we’re going to roll this test out.”

“The Measurable Objective for the meeting is this: By the end of the meeting we’ll know exactly what we want to test. We’ll decide on an approach to the copy that we’ll be testing. We’ll know what logistically is required to pull off the test and we’ll assign specific tasks to individuals to execute the test.”

Matt will often write the M/O on a flip chart or white board where everyone sees it throughout the meeting. State the M/O at the beginning of the meeting to focus you and everyone else in the room on the goal of the meeting.

This will keep you on track and everyone will feel that it was a productive use of their time when at the end of the meeting they see the M/O was achieved.

Step #4 – Stay Focused

In every meeting there will be times where the conversation will start to drift into side conversations that are irrelevant to the M/O. When this happens, the meeting driver must gently interrupt the conversation and bring everyone back to the decision you are trying to make. Be gentle, but firm.

Step #5 – End with a Plan and Give People Specific Assignments

Once decisions have been made, it’s time to assign follow-up work to meeting members. Be specific. Make sure that each team member completely understands their objectives and can verbally restate them to the meeting driver along with the deadline for the delivery of the work.

Someone should write up a summary email that restates the tasks, owners, and due dates.

Having a clear and concise plan makes sure the benefits of the meeting are not lost in the day-to-day shuffle of busy work. Only after this is the meeting wrapped up.

Efficiently planned meetings will respect everyone’s time and propel the business forward. Start by having only the relevant team members attend the meeting. Be clear about the agenda and the measurable outcomes. Stay focused. Make decisions. And eliminate unnecessary conversations. Once decisions have been made, assign work specifically to individuals and get confirmation that they understand both their objectives and the deadline for their work. Don’t leave unsettled decisions unless it cannot be avoided.

Follow that simple blueprint and you’ll maximize your meeting time. You’ll get three times as much work done and dramatically increase your productivity.

Mindfulness in Life

Over the last few months I have noticed a trend in articles and books that I have been drawn to…being mindful in all aspects of our lives. Paying attention to what you are doing when you are doing it. Seems like an easy enough thing to do, right?

There are so many distractions in our world today. Take me, I work from home. I have a small duplex apartment in a home that I share with another family. Right now it is summer and the neighbors 4 children (all under 10 years old) are home from school all day! And, the apartment doesn’t have air conditioning so my windows are wide open! I also have my own child, a teenager, who poses his own challenges. And, lest I forget, I have three lovely dogs, who do require a bit of work as they are older. Not to mention, phone calls, emails and all the other things that rob me of a mindful state. Oh, let’s not forget the biggest challenge of all, social media!!!

But, what is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. (http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness)

mindfulness

Mindfulness does take practice, but I find the more mindful I am the more productive I am. I even practice mindfulness when cooking and cleaning the dishes. When I am bathing, brushing my teeth, flossing and eating. I practice it at work when checking emails, writing blog posts, talking with clients, and learning new skills. Paying attention helps to keep your mind focused on the task at hand.

Here is how Jim Rohn puts it:

“The best advice I ever came across on the subject of concentration is: Wherever you are, be there.

When you work, work. When you play, play. Don’t mix the two.

Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of attention.

On the way to work, concentrate on the way – not the work.

Pay attention. Don’t just stagger through the day.”

Here are some articles to further your mindfulness education:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200810/the-art-now-six-steps-living-in-the-moment

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brainstorm/200812/back-the-present-how-live-in-the-moment

“Through basic meditation techniques, it’s possible to cultivate a longer attention span, develop emotional stability, understand the feelings of others and release yourself from the constraints you place on your own happiness.” http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200608/mastering-your-own-mind

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Developing Discipline by Brian Tracy

H.P. Liddon said, “What we do on some great occasions will probably depend upon what we already are, and what we are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline.” I believe that with all of my heart. Discipline is doing what you really do not want to do, so you can do what you really want to do. What makes it hard is that in our own human nature, we do not want to do certain things, and so therefore, what happens is we have a tendency to be undisciplined in the areas that we do not care to do.

Three areas to develop discipline:

1. Disciplined Thinking.
George Bernard Shaw said, “Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.”

One of the major differences in this discipline of thinking is that people that think their way to the top have the ability to do what I call “sustained thinking.” They have the ability to think on an issue for a long period of time, until that issue becomes clear on the decision that should be made. People who do not think their way to the top have the unwillingness of discipline to master sustained thinking. They will think about something for a while, and then they will get off it and go on to something else.

They have never learned how to discipline their thoughts by writing them down. I always keep a pad with me of things that I am thinking. I write thoughts down so that I can stay concentrated and disciplined in that area.

2. Disciplined Emotions.
We have choices when it comes to our emotions
–We can master them, or
–They can master us.

I was playing golf the other day at East Lake Country Club, a great golf course here in Atlanta. It is known for being the links where Bobby Jones played. As you may or may not know, he is a legendary golfer who won a major tournament at twenty-one. By age twenty-eight, he had already won the grand slam and retired. Jones had an uncle who said that by the time he was fourteen, Bobby was probably already the best golfer in the world. He certainly was popular. However, Jones was also known for his temper because he would throw his clubs when he got irritated. Jones’s uncle sat down with him and said, “Bobby, your problem is you’ve mastered the game of golf, but you haven’t mastered your emotions; and until you master your emotions, you’ll never be a champion in golf.”

3. Disciplined Actions.
I call the two actions of initiating and closing the “bookends of success” because I really think they are. I know some that can initiate but they can never close; I know some people that can close but they can never get it cranked up. You have to kick start them every time. When you can do both, initiate and close, you have the bookends to success.

Allow me to leave you with this closing thought about developing discipline: you cannot give what you do not have, and self-improvement precedes team improvement. The only way that I can keep leading is to keep growing. The day I stop growing, somebody else takes the leadership baton. That is the way it always is.

Be More Selfish by Darren Hardy

Be Selfish

You are on a plane.

It suddenly loses cabin pressure.
The oxygen masks drop down.

The elderly woman next to you panics.
You help her put her mask on.

Then you see the little kid behind you crying.
You help him, then his mother, then his little sister…

Then, nothing. You’re dead.
It’s great to be a hero.
But a dead hero? Not so much.

Sometimes being selfish is the most selfless thing you can do. We are taught this every time we board a plane. But still, it seems we just aren’t getting it.

If you want to achieve the highest level of performance in business or your personal life, you need to know that it’s okay to be selfish, it’s essential. It’s a matter of life or death!

One of my favorite quotes from my mentor Jim Rohn is, “You take care of you for me and I’ll take care of me for you.” Selfishness can be the most serving thing you can do for another.

Those we present on the cover of SUCCESS are some of the most positively impacting, society-improving and humanity-advancing people on the planet. People like Steve JobsRichard BransonElon MuskPeter DiamandisMichael BloombergMehmet OzHoward Schultz,Maria Shriver and Joel Osteen come to mind.

What you might be surprised to know is the common trait of today’s most successful achievers and “universe denters” is selfishness—not in abusing or violating others, but in putting themselves and their goals first. They take care of their minds, bodies and souls. They know that you cannot achieve greatness if you are tired, uninspired, angry or wound up.

To operate at high-performance levels, you have to prepare and protect yourself from all that doesn’t support your most important goals, objectives and vision.

So here are 5 Rules to Being Selfish, in reverse order:

#5 Toss Out the Old Ideas
We are told at an early age that selfishness is bad. It’s not. It’s absolutely necessary if you are going to reach your potential, express your talent and do your great work.

Sure we want to help others. Your parents sacrificed so you could have the cool new sneakers, go to summer camp and attend college. But you wouldn’t have wanted them to sacrifice for you at the expense of their health, vitality or longevity.

Self-sacrifice breeds contempt. Instead understand it as self-interest. Putting others first is a disservice to yourself and those around you. It is your responsibility, your duty, to put yourself first. Only then can you truly help yourself and those around you.

#4 Stop Playing God
Stop trying to play God. Even God wants you to take care of you first (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

This is also called the Messiah complex—and I have several friends who have it. Amazing and wonderful people, but they go around trying to save everyone else, sacrificing their health, sanity and greater life’s purpose (it literally killed one friend of mine).

#3 Heed the Warning Signs
Don’t get me wrong, I love helping others. I spend my life mentoring and coaching people to achieve greatness. But I always watch out for those Warning Signs if I am helping others at the sacrifice of myself.

Danger! I am not working out enough.
Danger! I am not eating properly.
Danger! I am getting behind in my work.
Danger! Others are taking advantage of me.
Danger! I’m losing valuable time in the pursuit of my dreams.

Beware of those Danger Zones that can derail your goals.

#2 Stay Selfish But Be Unselfish
Michael Jordan is recognized as the greatest basketball player ever. How did he get to the top? He was selfish, and he was completely honest about it.

“To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.”

Jordan’s teams won six NBA championships. They did so because Jordan worked on his own game first and then raised the game of his teammates, making the Chicago Bulls one of the most successful franchises in sports.

Follow Jordan’s example. Be selfish in your pursuit of excellence. Only then can you impact those around you.

#1 Make YOU No. 1
If you want to achieve optimal performance, take care of you first. You’ll find that you will become powerful. You’ll find out that you can make a huge difference in the lives of others when you are at your best. And you’ll find that in being selfish, you are unleashing your greatest potential… and the world around you will benefit.

What do you do to put yourself first? Share your thoughts, ideas and comments below.

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