How does the word “goals” make you feel? When I was growing up it meant kicking a ball into the back of the net and performing an elaborate celebration! I had no idea that it was going to play such a large part in my life as I grew older. Of course, I am talking about the goals that relate to your ambitions, targets, or plans. Does the word give you shivers, or does it fill you with excitement and anticipation?
Most experts believe that the tremendously successful in life have one thing in common. They were all goal orientated. Now, this can take many forms. Some are obsessive compulsive and therefore goal setting is a day to day, even hour by hour process for them. They are absorbed by their goal and must do everything they can to attain it. Others have to make a sustained effort to constantly refer back to their goals to drive them in the right direction. Whichever way you look at it, goals are extremely important if you are trying to run a successful business.
Here’s where it gets a bit fuzzy for me. I don’t really like the word “goals”. I think it has been so overused in self help literature that it starts to turn people off. I hear the word and sometimes can’t stop my eyes from rolling. A bit like when my wife asks me if I took out the trash. Of course, I didn’t, I wait until I hear the truck coming round the corner and run at the very last minute in my pajamas! I prefer to replace the word “goals” with “dream maps”. A bit corny I know but let me explain.
If you think that telling yourself “I will be a millionaire” before you go to bed every night is going to make you a millionaire then I’ve got bad news for you. My Uncle Norman tried that for 50 years and never won the lottery once! “Dream maps” are exactly as they sound. You decide on what your dream or ambition is and then work out a map on how to get there. Just like a map, the more detailed it is and the more frequently you check it, the quicker and more efficiently you will get where you want to be.
Let’s work on that example: “I want to be a millionaire” First off, never be vague about your dream destination. You have to be specific. Also, don’t use words like “want” or “wish” or anything vague. And a “dream map” must have timeline for your travel plans. So how would I word this phrase? “I am a successful entrepreneur who has accumulated $1 million by the end of 2030”.
OK, so that’s the destination taken care of. How are we going to get there? This is where you need to be as detailed as possible. First, break the million down into workable chunks. You’ve got ten years to get there so your plan should be somehow saving $100K per year. Are you going to invest in real estate? If so. How many houses do you need to own and flip to make those numbers happen? Are you going to start a business and sell it? OK, what do you need to do to start that business and make a success? Are you going to rob a bank? Not a great plan, but you will need to immerse yourself in the details to make it happen (and not get caught!).
There are numerous studies that show that if you program your brain, it can do incredible things. I am a believer that you have to program your brain every morning and every evening. When I create my “dream maps”, I write them down in my “dream map” book. My first page states who I am. These are statements that I truly believe. An example is number 3; “I am an amazing family man who spends quality time with his family”. Number 7 is “I am someone who puts experiences before material things”. There are others on this page that I am working towards, but I always write them in the first person as if I have accomplished them. So, for the millionaire scenario I would write “I am successful entrepreneur who works hard and can accomplish anything when I put my mind to it”.
The next page is my BIG “Dream”. The one thing that I will do most to achieve. At the top of the page I detail this “Dream” in one paragraph. As concise and detailed as I can. Then I list visualizations of what that looks like. As many paragraphs as you can to create pictures in your mind about how reaching that “dream map” destination will make you feel. Paint an amazing picture as I think this is the most important step. This would be where I would put the statement I used earlier: “I am a successful entrepreneur who has accumulated $1 million by the end of 2030”. Or even better, “I just logged on to my online bank account in Jan 2030 and saw that my balance was above $1M. I then turn to my spouse and shout “we did it” and run around the house like a crazy person!”. Make these pictures as vivid as possible and have fun with them!
The final step is draw out your travel plan. How are you going to get to where you want to be? These are the actual steps, that if you follow them, will lead you to your “dream map” destination. These are the chunks I mentioned earlier. They need to be actionable steps that make sense. Make sure that you have researched diligently. Examples are:
1. I will research the up and coming real estate areas that show there is money to be made in flipping houses.
2. I will look into popular school districts and find areas that are cheapest in the best school districts.
3. I will look into getting my real estate license to save costs and give me an advantage on listings.
The most important part of the process is believing in what you are doing. If you don’t believe you can attain these things, subconsciously you are telling this to your brain. And your brain is smart enough to put a plan in to action to make sure you achieve what you don’t believe. Anyway, what have you got to lose? If you spend the rest of your life going to bed at night and waking up believing you will get to your “dream map” destination, the worst that can happen is that you take a few detours on the way. Those detours may be places you really wanted to go, and you end up changing your destination. The important part is that you started the journey.
Now, I’m going to have a long shower. I feel WAY too much like Anthony Robbins and I kinda feel icky! See you next time!
P.S. If Tony ever reads this, it was a joke!