In the first episode of his new series, Chris discusses the importance of goals and vision, one of the primary tenets of developing your Success Habits. Learn about establishing your “destination” – your vision – and what drives your activities towards that vision, that is, your goals.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where,” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk,” said the Cat.
Whenever I talk about the importance of having a vision, I am reminded of the words of Lewis Carroll in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, when Alice meets the Cheshire cat sitting in a tree. Continue reading →
The first component of successful entrepreneurship is knowing where you want to go. Some people call this a roadmap—I call it a vision. Your vision should be a simple, succinct document that outlines what you want to build over the next two years.
This isn’t your typical business plan, which can span dozens of pages and tend to get lost in the clutter. Rather, it is a clear, actionable statement that will illuminate the way forward for your business.
Be passionate about what you do. Passion is the fuel that drives you. Passion is what allows you to put yourself on fire. It makes you remarkable.
If you are not passionate about what you do, how do you expect to get others to take notice of what products and services you offer? It is also the single most important asset you have to help you deflect the many distractions and doubts that you will face. It is the compass that shows you the right direction to take when you are faced with obstacles, or even just speed bumps that slow you down. Obstacles in life are there not to stop us but rather to see how badly we want something – our passion is what sees us through.
You need to find your passion and purpose to be “big” inside. When you’re big inside, you have the confidence to act big on the outside.
Next is your vision. Have a vision for yourself and your business. Create the clearest picture possible of what you want to accomplish. Be specific. The more specific you are, the more likely you will achieve it. When creating your vision, dream big. You can accomplish as much as you can dream, so dream big. While your passion is the wind in your sails, your vision is the rudder on your ship.
Without a strong rudder (vision) you cannot control your direction. You are at the mercy of the seas. It doesn’t matter how much passion you have, without a vision you’re headed east of nowhere. Without a vision, nothing happens. A vision without passion is like trying to start a fire with damp wood: it flickers and then it goes out.
There are times when most of us run the risk of being swept away into the “crisis of the moment” and disappear into that dark hole that gets described away with that famous comment – “where did they day go?” The usual follow up comment is “I’m beat and I have no idea if I accomplished anything”. For those of you who are not sure what I’m describing and for those of you who don’t want to face up to the reality of the issues, consider if this scenario sounds familiar:
Do you find that during any given week you waste time and money and miss opportunities?
Do you find yourself involved in “fire-fighting” moving from crisis to crisis? Are you very busy, running from task to task and meeting to meeting but still see no progress being made?
Be “The Master” of these distracting challenges; use any of these top 10 tactics:
You need to have a vision (3 years out) for your business or career. Without a specific vision, there is no way that you can set realistic goals to move forward.
Without specific goals, there is no way you can determine what are the most important tasks, you should be working on.
If you’re expert at “fire-fighting”, it’s nothing to be proud of. You may actually be the cause of the flare ups.
Make sure everyone on your team know what they must do; why they do and how to do it
Make sure your team is trained and proficient in their roles.
Set performance expectations; communicate them and then hold them accountable for meeting the standards you have set.
Always have a daily plan, outlining what the top 1 to 3 things are that you must accomplish that day.
Identify what barriers might stop you from achieving your goals for the day. Have ready a contingency plan if you get stalled.
Do you find that nothing gets done, unless you do it? Are you properly delegating or are you just taking on other people’s problems because?
Schedule a 1 hour appointment each week with “yourself”. Put it on your calendar. You need the time to re-group and re-focus on the right things.
Noting more to add – trust me, this “stuff” works. But, you must be committed to work the stuff. You have the tools to regain and maintain control. It only requires your commitment to get started.
Quote – “By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination” – Christopher Columbus
Lots of people pride themselves as being expert in dealing with a crisis or being able to “put out fires”. The question is how many of these fires do they actually create due to a lack of a clear and specific vision; goals and planning? They “put out the fire” that they started but how much damage do they cause (and leave behind for others to clean up) in the process? As the saying goes – “show a man (or woman) who excels at putting out fires…and I will show you a pyro-maniac”. What I have also found in my coaching experience is that these folks usually settle for below average results because they are more focused on “putting out their self created fire” and not the impact it has on what they are trying to accomplish or the people they work with. Make no mistake, pyro-maniacs have a devastating effect on their employees.
So, what causes this to occur? Well a couple of things. First, they lack a clear and specific vision. They have no idea where they want to go or how they will get there. Look, running a business or serving in a senior executive role isn’t always clear. But trying to be successful in a “making it up as you go” mode has its very significant challenges, many of which could be avoided with a vision. Your vision is your dream for the future. A business without a vision is directionless. It lacks purpose and heart. It lacks the essential idea from which commitment, growth and the sense of personal achievement emerge. A vision is a clearly-articulated, results-oriented picture of a future you intend to create. It is a dream with direction. So, without a vision you are well positioned to create “fires”.
The next cause of business fires is a lack of clear and specific goals. Yup, goals – specific stuff; not the well intentioned thoughts or things you will get around to doing when you resolve some of the other self-made crises in your life. Based on your vision, write down specific, clear and time-sensitive goals, for which you have a committed desire to achieve. Constantly think about and focus on your vision and goals as they will help drive you and sustain you during the crazy times – you know, those times when you would otherwise easily start a fire!
Last but not least is a lack of clear and specific planning. To avoid being a “fire-starter” you should establish a simple plan that lays out the initial 3-5 steps you need to take toward your top 3 goals. Focus on your top 3 goals and take meaningful, daily action on the initial steps to build momentum towards achieving them. Your plan should breakdown the steps you will take to achieve your goals into daily activities. Your plan should accurately reflect the time you will need to work on your tasks. There is a famous quote that sums it up best “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. The attached “Coach’s Rant” sums it up well. The choice is yours.