Up until this point, I have focused many of my posts on the motivation necessary to take action towards your goals. This week, I want to take a different route and analyze the motivation behind your motivation. Confused? Let me explain what I mean.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, most of us have particular goals for our lives. Whether these goals are financial, personal, spiritual, or career-based, we have a picture in our minds of how we’d like our lives to pan out in the future. For those that choose to act on these dreams, something inside of you pushed you enough to take action. Some piece of your mind nagged at your conscious and said, “Do this! You want this, don’t you? Of course you do. You’ve dreamt about it. Now go and do it!” After much deliberating, going back and forth, and self-doubt, you finally acted on your dream. Whether it was to return to school and get your degree or to travel to all 50 states before your thirtieth birthday, you took that first step. And for that, you should be proud.
But I want to focus today’s post on the process of identifying your goals, setting them with determination, and working towards their completion. And I want to take the time to discuss the fuel that feeds your fire for success. In my own mind, I have developed three simple steps that explain how we accomplish this process.
Step One: What?
This step is rather straight-forward. What is your dream? What is it that burns inside of you, itching to come out? Are you an artist who wishes to have a painting hanging in an art gallery? Do you dream of becoming a marine biologists and studying the lifeforms found in vast regions of the world? What is your dream?
With this step, don’t be vague. Don’t set goals like, “I want to be happy” or “I want to travel”. No, they won’t give you the motivation to get moving. Instead, you should ask, “What would make me happy? What situation do I envision when I think of myself as happy?” Instead of saying that you want to travel, ask, “Where do I want to travel? What locations do I most wish to experience in my life?”
Step Two: How?
This step is where a majority of people give up, which is crazy when you stop and think about it. The “How” step requires you to actually take the time out of your day to create a plan of action. You must go from the idea of going back to college to actually researching tuitions rates, job placement history, academic standards, and funding availability. The “How” step will require that you apply to your top college choices, regardless of your fears of rejection or failure. Additionally, you must do more than wish to travel and you must take the step to set up a personal financial savings plan in order to put back enough money to make your dream trip.
The “How” is rather simple, but it is the step that scares away the “Want-To’s” from the “Will-Do’s”. This is not the step where you finally build a successful business. No, this is the step where you build the foundation through research and networking. This step scares off many people because of fear, but if you truly want to succeed, it is necessary that you push through this fear and learn your “How”. Because without it, there is no progressing to the final step.
Step Three: Why?
If Step Two is the step that prohibits most people, Step Three is the step that most people skip. You may ask, “How can you skip a step towards your goal?” Because Step One and Two are required if you are to achieve your goals, while Step Three is not. You must identify what it is that you want, and you have to learn how to accomplish your goals. But your “Why” is not necessary. Only strongly suggested.
To go into more detail, the first two steps focus on outward exploration of success. The situations and goals that you perceive are a part of your external experience, physical goals that you have set and can reach through hard work and determination. But Step Three requires that you look inward. Through this step, you asked yourself, “Why do I want this dream?” If you wish to write a book, ask why you are striving for this. If you want to start a business, ask yourself why. Is it for financial freedom? Is it because you want to help others? Do you want to set a good example for your children? Is your “Why” to walk away from your job and spend more time with your spouse?
Every person has a different “Why”, and you will learn to use this “Why” differently than people that you know. But the reason this step is so important is because your “Why” will get you through the difficult times. When you are struggling to write your book, you must focus on your “Why” to get you through. When your business is on the brink of financial disaster and the bank is breathing down your neck, your “Why” will push you to work a little harder and make your next sale. When you’ve been working 70-hour weeks and you’re physically exhausted, your “Why” will help you push through one more day until you reach the weekend.
Another aspect of the “Why” step is the desire that fuels your work and how you answer that desire. If your actions stem from the wrong desires (materialism, vengeance, spite towards someone, etc…), you will never attain the happiness that can only be found by reaching the highest goals that you have set for your life. Your “Why” must be of quality purpose in order for your success to bring true fulfillment to your life.
This three-step process is so simple that it borders on the mundane. What do I want? How do I get it? Why do I want to accomplish this goal that I have set? Those three questions can have a drastic impact on your life if you let them, and while you do not have to answer all three questions to accomplish your goals, the third and final step will be the most important. So take these steps and apply them to whatever it is that you wish to find in your life. Regardless of your desires, use these steps to create a detailed plan of action, and finally take the first step.