September 2007

Goal Setting, Part 1

There is much discussion these days about the importance of setting goals in order to achieve the things that we wish in life and numerous studies provide evidence that those who set goals achieve far more than those that don't. Brian Tracy puts the importance of setting clear goals beautifully with the analogy of someone shooting at a target in the fog.

Confusion sometimes arises when those of us who go about working towards goals start thinking about goal achievement and start analyzing how we go about it. This has lead to some discussion that it is the process, that one takes part in, that is more important than the goal. Using the same analogy given above this would suggest that it is the shooting in the fog that is most important, alright if you have a lot of bullets, plenty of time and don't really care if you hit the target anyway.
Applying this to our lives and the setting of goals to achieve outcomes it can be easily realized that we could go about our lives utilizing various processes as we all do, however, it is those of us that select predetermined goals before entering into a process and thus provide a direction and target for our energies that ultimately will achieve desirable outcomes quicker and more efficiently.

There are several methodologies available for setting goals, in fact the setting of a goal is a process in itself, and can only be performed if there is a goal in mind! Thus we have a self-reflexive loop set up that is, I suggest dependant on the intention of reaching a goal. I suggest that the process is an essential element of achieving a goal but not more important than the goal itself. The process is selected on the basis of the goal desired not the goal selected because a process is performed.

The process selection or development is an element of the resource requirement of the most well known goal setting criteria and of the "Well Formed Outcome" pattern in Neurosemantics that I have begun a discussion of below. This procedure lends itself very well to the development and setting of goals. I also offer some modifications that recent research has indicated will enhance the achievement of the goals set and offer some further suggestions from my own observations and experience.
Those of you who are familiar with Neurosemantics and NLP will be well aware of the "Well Formed Outcome" method of empowering us to move from a present state to a more empowering state, a goal state. Let us review the criteria and look at how we may use the method for setting goals other than desired states.
1) The desired outcome must be stated in positive language, we therefore state our desired goal in positive terms and language.
2) Describe the desired outcome goal in sensory based terms, what it looks like, feels like, sounds like and even smells and tastes like, in fact what is the experience.
3) The goal must be compelling and desirable.
4) The goal must be suited to your way of life and the way you want to live it,i.e. ecologically appropriate and balanced, it must fit in with the way you want to live your life.
5) You must state the context in which the acquisition of the goal wil be achieved; the where, when how and with whom the goal will be realized.
6) The goal must be able to be self-initiated and self-maintained, be realistic and not dependant on something or someone you have no control over.
7) You must be aware of and be able to obtain the resources necessary to achieve the goal; this is where the required process is most evident, together with the materials and information required to achieve the goal.
8) There has to be a set of criteria that you will compare with that will provide evidence that the goal has been achieved.
9) Although not in the "Well Formed Outcome" pattern there must be a realistic time factor set for the goal to be realized.
I would like to add that the following criteria are also essential in the setting of and achieving of a worthwhile goal:
10) An extension of point (4) above, the goal must be aligned with your values, beliefs and identity, these criteria being what makes up your inner sense of self.
11) Research has shown that the main factor in people not achieving their goals is that they did not take the cost (cost to self and relationships) of achieving there goal into account when setting the goal. You must have an awareness of the cost of achieving the goal in terms of your own identity, your relationships with others and your place in the world, and be prepared to pay the price.
12) You must develop a strong intention to achieve the goal, go forth ferociously and do what it takes and remember:

"Energy Flows Where Attention Goes as Determined by Intention"

I will investigate each of these criteria in depth in further discussions

Goal Setting Part 2

Following from the discussion in Part 1, on the various criteria involved in setting your goals, there are a few other practices that we must implement to increase the chances of achieving our goals.

1) We must write our goal/s down in a clear, distinct and succinct manner, attending to the construction of the goal description using the criteria outlined in part 1.
2) These goals must then be reviewed every day, preferably rewritten. A study of the billionaire mind-set has shown that only one main point separates a millionaire mind-set from a billionaire mind-set and that is: whereas a millionaire reviewed his/her goals at least once per day the billionaire reviewed and rewrote his/her goals more than once per day.
3) We must develop a step by step plan of how we are going to achieve our goal. This often involves "chunking" the goal down into smaller more manageable parts so that the various elements required for achieving the goal can be identified and a plan developed for their progressive achievement.
4) Once the plan has been developed we must ACT on it, do something each day towards achieving the goal. The failure to perform ACTION towards achieving your goal will guarantee the failure to reach that goal.

Problems often Encountered.
If you find that you just can't get motivated to work towards achieving your goal or keep procrastinating from actually doing anything, go back to the basic criteria required in setting the goal and re-examine your compulsion, desire and intention; perhaps they are not strong or clear enough for you to move forward.
I would definitely suggest going through a Values Elicitation procedure to assist with a seeming lack of motivation problem. If then your goals appear to be robustly constructed and are aligned with your values then you may wish to consider using the Neurosemantic pattterns of Metastating Ferociousness, Intentional Stance and Metastating Procrastination.
In fact, in the case of procrastination you may want to consider that since you do it so well, why don't you practice procrastinating procrastination.

And then there is the living below the line attitude that can enter the matrix, the Blame, Excuse and Denial mind-sets that we fall back on to justify our lack of achievement and preserve our self-ego. We must discipline ourselves and learn to differentiate between that which is out of our control and that which we did have control over but failed to act wisely on. We are only human and thus fallible, by giving ourselves permission to accept this fallibility througth use of the Metastating Fallibility pattern will greatly assist in this area.

And remember: "People have all the resources they need within them; they just need to access, amplify and apply them."

If any one has any inquiries regarding the content of this blog please forward them as I'll be happy to assist where possible.

Michael Gerber & the New Entrepreneur

One of the highlights of my life recently was the opportunity to attend a day workshop with one of the most influential business commentators of the current era, Michael Gerber. And for those who can't place that name think the E-myth concept of working on your business not in it.
What can one say abut a man who stepped onto the stage at 9am and spoke with an infectious passion through to 4.30pm, with a few breaks for tea, coffee and lunch, without the aid of notes, overheads or a Powerpoint presentation.
There were many insights and lessons offered by Michael which I absorbed with my usual insatiable appetite for knowledge with some of the most engaging being:
1)The reiteration of the need for todays new entrepreneur to have an outrageous dream, vision, purpose and mission backed up by an unshakeable passion to realize the outcomes. Although this presentation was on a business platform I reflected that this way of thinking must underly everything that we wish to attain to ensure the best chance of success. For without passion I suggest we are merely dabbling which gives a limited and bland experience of the pursuit that we are engaged in and usually reduces the compulsion for and ultimately the chances of achieving our goals.
2)The lessons learned from his teachers, or as Michael refers to them, his 3 great masters in life - success depends on your having the desire, discipline and will to succeed backed up by the willingness to practice - for without these your chances of succeeding at a level of greatness are zero. Look at anyone that is successful in any area today, e.g. Bill Gates, Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, J K Rowling, Richard Branson and you will find these qualities.
3) For the me the most profound insight was that of stepping outside of your business and redesigning it as your biggest competitor, the idea that you should develop a business that is going to put you (your existing business)out of business. Become your strongest critic, ask yourself the question "what is the one thing that I could do that's impossible to do, but if I could do it, it would blow peoples' minds?".
Dare to dream , break down those old restrictions and dogmas that others have put in place. These are usually only held onto by those that resist change because it will take them out of their comfort zone and force them to embrace new ideas, reinvent what they are doing and put more work in. Change will happen in the world, that is the way of things and of the human creative spirit, change is inevitable and history is testimony to that fact and also to the folly of those that resist it, so why not be one who expresses their full human potential and that changes things that you are unsatisfied with, start a revolution in what ever area of the human experience that you see a need, want to change and have the passion for.
In fact when I reflect on this, why limit this way of thinking to your business, why not apply it to reinventing yourself with the object in mind of making the present self extinct and developing a more complete and fulfilled self.
..... and so much more, if you ever have the opportunity to listen to Michael Gerber take it you will come away inspired.

"Waste no more time talking about great souls and how they should be. Become one yourself!"
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121 AD - 180 AD).