On November 15, 1899, during the Boer War, a young English journalist found himself on a train with British soldiers. A large company of Boers ambushed the train somewhere between Colenso and Ladysmith in the Natal Province. With stones laid on the train track, the train, reversing, shuddered to a crashing halt. Several cars spilled sideways onto the grassy veldt in a smoking ruin. When the leading British officer was injured, the young journalist took command, saving many lives through his heroism and daring courage under fire. After guiding many to safety, he returned to the scene of the train wreck and was captured.
He escaped within weeks, fled to the coast and took a tramp steamer back to Durban. Two weeks later he gave his first political speech on the steps of Durban Town Hall. Somewhere in that adventure, the young journalist found a dream – a dream of who he could become, what his life could stand for. That dream was later fulfilled when the young journalist went on to become the great wartime Prime Minister of Britain, Winston Churchill.
What you do today must always be motivated by a long haul dream. Winston Churchill grasped his present opportunity because he had a long-term dream, and as witnessed by history, achieved the highest station of it.
I know we all won’t have as gutsy dreams as Winston Churchill, but most of us will have some goals we’d like to achieve or some challenges we’d like to conquer.
When you lie in the stillness of your bed at night, what do you picture for yourself in your mind’s eye?
What is your goal?
Where do you want to go?
Who do you want to become?
It’s not always easy to achieve what we want to achieve and often the loftier the goal, the effort and commitment to achieve it can leave you feeling like you’ve gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson in the ring (but that’s often the point – the greater the sacrifice, the greater the satisfaction in reaching your goal!)
From leading people for the last 30 years, I’ve learnt a few home truths about setting and actually achieving goals – home truths I now share with my clients, to change their mindsets when embarking on this process to equip and enable them for success. In the next few upcoming blogs, I’m going to highlight critical things you must acknowledge and implement to achieve the goals you desire to achieve.
- Life’s not fair.
The sooner one can come to grips with this unfair fact, the sooner one can get on with going where they want to go. There will always be someone worse off than you, so just be thankful for your lot in life and get on with it!
- There will always be obstacles.
Some people have greater obstacles than others (life’s not fair!). We can’t control the hand of cards we get dealt, but what we can control is how we respond to them. If we’re handed lemons – we can either make lemonade or let the lemons rot in a stinking, mouldy heap. The choice is ours to make. The growth I see in people when they surmount the hard challenges in life never ceases to inspire me to do the same.
For example, Nick Vuijic was born with no arms or legs – massive obstacle!! However, today Nick speaks to millions around the world, is married, has two beautiful kids, has skydived and is the author of a number of best sellers to list a few of his accomplishments. It would have been easy for him to give up on life, yet through sheer determination, a positive attitude and his faith, he rose above his circumstances and achieved even more than he’d planned.
What are some of the obstacles currently in the way of your goals you need to face head on and deal with?
- Your thoughts will determine your energy levels.
In my book, “The Dream Is Everything”, wrote about, if you want to be average, then just wake up in the morning. To achieve your goals, your thoughts must be positively “on task” and drive your decisions on a daily basis.
For example, Heather Turland, the Australian marathon runner, mother of four and a hero of mine was determined to win Gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. It wasn’t easy for her to keep to her gruelling schedule while raising four children but she had her goal and she pounded hundred of kilometres every month in preparation. She knows what it is to pay the price, to break through the pain barriers no one else wants to go through – she wanted victory so badly that her mental thoughts fuelled her energy levels to keep training, step after step until she tasted victory on the podium, receiving her Commonwealth Gold Medal.
What are your thoughts and energy levels like towards the goals you’ve set?
You need a great deal of energy to achieve your goals and your energy is always driven by your thoughts. The bigger the goal, the greater the thoughts and energy levels required to achieve it.
What do you need to be more positive and energetic about to achieve your goal?
- You must focus on behaviors, not the end goal.
This is the truth about Leadership. If you only focus on the results, the results you want to achieve won’t happen. You must focus and have discipline on growing the necessary BEHAVIOURS to achieve the goal you want to achieve.
Jack Nicklaus, the number one golfer in history is reported to have hit over 10 million golf balls on the practice tee – repeatable behaviours! Just simply wanting to be the best golfer in the world would not have resulted in Jack becoming the greatest golfer of all time. It was all about his behaviours on and off the golf course.
Do you know the actual behaviours you require to change or grow to achieve your goal?
How focussed are you on these behaviours?
Who is leading you in this process?
Who are you accountable to?
How focused are you on the right behaviours.
- Your daily habits determine your success.
When someone asks me what is the key to success, I respond with “What are your daily habits? It doesn’t matter what your goal is – that is the result.
What must you do daily, which are behaviours, to achieve the the goals you’ve set?
Unless a person is ready to answer that question, they will not achieve what they want to achieve. When I look at people’s daily habits, I am usually able to ascertain how sold out they are to achieving their goals and whether they will go on to achieve it or not, due to their daily actions.
Most often, success isn’t born out of one great momentous occasion or action but it’s the result of many daily actions, often tedious and unenjoyable, performed over and over again. Think of the great athletes – their success has come from countless hours of training, even in unsavoury conditions, they eat right and get sufficient rest on a daily basis, and employ experts like coaches, sports psychologists and physiotherapists to help them obtain and maintain peak physical performance. They have discipline on a daily basis. They have a routine to do the necessary behaviours all the time. They know that natural talent only gets you so far.
Successful people always do the things unsuccessful people won’t do.
What are your daily habits?
To be able to stay focussed, you need to develop the habit of changing your habits, which are behaviours:
- Clearly identify your bad or unproductive habits
- Define your desired habits
- Create an action plan to successfully implement new behaviours, which become habits.
You plan to fail if you fail to plan!
What habits do you need to change?
Can I encourage you to think about the above 5 points in the coming weeks in relation to you achieving your goals for your life.
The next blog will be how to stay focussed on your goals, how to make effective choices and prioritise them and how to build and maintain self belief to achieve your goals.
Are you smashing your goals?
Some other articles I’ve written that may give you more insight into this topic:
I talk further about the importance of goal setting in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”. If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy of my book, (RRP $24.95), click here.
All the best,