Planning for Success
Start with a positive and fresh mind. Imagine becoming successful. Einstein said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. The more vividly and accurately you imagine your success, the easier it will be for the rest of yourself to follow through. The same way engineers first imagine a bridge and then build it, you can be the engineer of your success, too.
· Dedicate a few minutes every day to imagining your success. Imagine yourself in a movie in which you are successful. What are you doing in the movie? What is your success like? Savor the feeling of your success, and use it as motivation to stoke your fire.
· Cultivate a healthy motivation when imagining your success. Successful people all believe in themselves and their missions. At the same time, you do not want to alienate other people with extreme narcissism. Understand that other people want to be just as successful as you do; your goal should not be to trample over them to get what you want.
Find the purpose or goal of your life. Identify the things you love to do, the things that give you satisfaction. Once you identify what you love to do, use this information to find the purpose of your life or the objective of your life.
· Finding what you love to do will give you motivation along the way. Imagine being forced to do a triathlon when your true passion is chess. Pretty difficult, huh? Now imagine the opportunity to participate in a chess tournament. It’s much, much easier to persistently chip away at your goal if your goal is something you enjoy doing. Write what your motivations and goals for yourself are.
· How do you figure out a purpose or goal in life? It’s different for everyone, and for some it’s difficult, but there are several ways you can try to figure it out:
· Talk with a career coach or visit a good psychologist.
· Try out several different careers, remembering that even a less-than-fulfilling job can help you learn.
· Try making a career out of something you love. Whether it’s brewing beer or advising on art, you’re more likely to be successful doing something you know you love.
Define the meaning of success as you see it. You cannot have success if you do not know what it means for you. Everyone views success differently and using someone else standard for success is like eating another person’s lunch and expecting to love it. Set clear goals and be realistic.
· How will you know when you have achieved your goals? Your standards should be quantifiable, or else you could spend your entire life chasing after a vague goal.
· For example, let’s say you want to be good at your job. You get a promotion, you get a raise, but you still haven’t reached your goal because you could always do better, right? You could always get promoted even further, or make even more money. Whatever you have will never be enough.
· Instead, create benchmarks: “My goal is to increase my productivity by 30% and only be late for work five times per year, at the most.” These are quantifiable goals that when achieved, give you a sense of satisfaction and completion, making you feel successful and confident.
Selectively lower your confidence. You read it right: lower your confidence. It’s a truism in business that you need to have the high self-confidence to get things done. But some people think, and for good reason, that lower self-confidence makes people more successful, for these reasons:
· Lower self-confidence makes you pay attention to critical feedback and helps you be more self-critical. If you’re convinced you’re God’s gift to engineering, you probably won’t be receptive to feedback. Nor will you be able to criticize yourself effectively. Successful people do exactly that.
· Lower self-confidence makes you work harder and prepare more. If you’re not convinced you’re going to nail your presentation next Monday, you’re likely to spend more, time practicing and going over your numbers. This is a great habit.
· Lower self-confidence makes you less narcissistic. Less narcissistic people are respected more by co-workers, and happy co-workers make a more successful team. It’s no secret that respect will make you successful.
Set a timeline for when you want to achieve your objective. If you don’t know when you will achieve your objective by, then it’s hard to know whether you have failed. Give yourself a timeline that is difficult but doable. Winning a Tour de France from scratch in two years is not reasonable, but booking a comedy gig in front of at least 20 paying customers probably is.
Identify the things/skills/material needed to achieve your objectives. If you want to be a famous speaker, for example, you need a broad vocabulary, subject knowledge, speech writing, voice clarity, and presentation skills. This is identifying short-term objectives to achieve long-term goals.
Be curious about life. Many successful people have an insatiable curiosity. If they don’t understand how something works or don’t know the answer to a question, they find out. Often, this takes them on a quest of self-discovery, one in which the journey is just as important as the destination.
Identify the skills you need to sharpen and the skills you can outsource.Outsourcing is all about time-management. You may think of yourself as a superman or superwoman, but there are limits to your powers. Outsourcing certain less essential tasks gives you more time to focus on the things that are absolutely essential to your craft.
· Use the last example as a template; to become a great speaker, you need to improve voice and presentation skills as these are the basic skills needed for a speaker. But if you are lacking speech writing or subject knowledge skills, you can try to outsource them to an expert. This is called working smart. Many great leaders don’t write their own speeches; they focus on delivering it right.
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