7/14/17

2 Essential Keys To Achieving Your Goals



None of us are content with not achieving our dreams. Some of us choose to attack those dreams with reckless abandon, and some of us choose to sit around wondering when we might fall ass backwards into success. Regardless of where you're at on that spectrum at any given time, I know that you're not fully satisfied with not achieving your dreams and taking steps every day towards your version of success for your life.

Essential Key #1: Our Goals HAVE To Be Relevant To Us!

Why don't we achieve our dreams? Sometimes our dreams aren't the right dreams for us. Sometimes we set goals for ourselves based on society's perception of our success. We don't actually care about what we're working towards, so we don't work very hard at it. In this instance, we're lying to ourselves about what we should be working towards and how we should be living our lives.

We have to set goals that we care about. If we're not fully bought into our vision of the end result, why would we work hard to get there? We're not dumb, so we're not going to waste our time working towards something we don't care about.

I bought a guitar a couple years ago with a goal in mind that I would teach myself how to play a few songs. I was never fully invested in the idea, but I thought it would be fun, and I didn't have much to do after work. I practiced fairly regularly for a few weeks, but I never fully bought in. I definitely needed some real lessons because I was not making a whole lot of progress on my own. Ultimately, my feeling of indifference towards having an ability to play guitar led me to stopping. I'm not saying I'll never try again, but for now I'm much more motivated to work on projects like Smart Money Seed because I'm much more excited about where this can take me.

Amanda already likes me enough anyway without any musical talent, so it's not like I need to learn how to play love songs to impress her. She'll have to be content with my car band drumming and singing (screaming?) which does admittedly at times put both of us in danger as I get wrapped up in a sick drum solo and don't look at the road or grab the wheel for several seconds.



Essential Key #2: If you want to achieve a goal but think you can't.... CHANGE!


My parents, and especially my dad, have preached change for as long as I can remember. If you want different results, you just might have to change your actions or change yourself altogether. And guess what. . . CHANGE ISN'T EASY! But like the late, great Buckeye football coach Woody Hayes once said, "Anything easy ain't worth a damn."

Change is hard, and because it's so hard, people who figure out how to change in order to achieve their goals are crazy successful! It takes practice and dedication. You will not change without persistence. But if you are persistent, you will change. Every single one of us has the ability to change. 

Like both of my parents, I am a natural introvert. If not for the influence of my mom, who often forces herself to overcome that trait (she is a self-described social introvert), I would probably be much more like my dad who my mom so endearingly refers to as socially challenged. I'm perfectly content sitting in silence, and a lot of the time I want to be alone to focus on the things I want to focus on and do the things I want to do. But I understand that isn't always the best way to make an impact on the world. Sure, at times being alone is beneficial. But the fact of the matter is that people like to connect with other people, and I often have to step outside my comfort zone in order to create those connections.

The 2 people who have been most influential in helping me to become a better (still not great) conversationalist are my mom and my college roommate, Greg. Those 2 people have an uncanny ability to initiate and carry on a conversation with anybody and make the other person feel good.

I used to make fun of Greg when we would walk across Ohio State's campus together because it took us twice as long as it would take me if I were alone since Greg always saw people he knew along the way that he would talk to. In an environment of anonymity among 50,000 students, Greg made everyone feel like a friend. I tend to view conversations as transactions, and if I don't need or want any specific information from you, I'm fine with not initiating a conversation with you. I understand, however, that can come across as being rude although I don't intend it to be. I've never been like a raging, rude ass hole, but I don't exactly have a reputation for small talk or just shooting the shit.

My natural challenges with networking and simply conversing with people started to cause slight problems for me early on in my career. I work in supply chain, so a big part of my job involves negotiation. I would view negotiations as transactional interactions where I would present some numbers and fight for the bigger piece of the pie. When I asked for a cheaper price and someone told me no, I didn't have much more to say. A couple months ago, I took a  negotiation class with Watershed Associates in which the instructor described negotiations as being relational rather than transactional. The more relational you can make a negotiation, the more trust you can build with that person, and the more likely you are to having successful negotiations.

I decided to give this a shot, but it was not going to be easy. I had been living my life a certain way for almost 24 years, and now I'm supposed to change that? How in the hell will I pull that off?

Well, I decided to essentially create a character in my mind that I sort of jump in and out of during my work day. This might qualify me as a sociopath, but I don't think we have any clinical psychologists who read SMS yet who are qualified to diagnose me. When I'm analyzing numbers or reading a new contract, I'm the same old quiet, analytical Alex. But when I'm talking to coworkers, updating my boss, or negotiating with suppliers, I try to become somebody else entirely like an actor.

This character's persona is largely based on the things I've picked up on while watching my mom and Greg build relationships with others over the years. I ask questions that I don't necessarily care about the answers to but that I know the other person will enjoy talking about. I'm complimentary even when I think the other person is stupid and wrong, and I add fluff to the information I present in order to make it seem "nice" rather than bluntly presenting numbers.

Sure enough, my negotiation performance is improving, my boss seems to be more satisfied with my work, and I think people might actually enjoy talking to me a little more in meetings. Slowly but surely, this character is becoming less of an act and more embedded into my own personality. It's still not easy, but creating relationships and being a good conversationalist is becoming more and more natural as I practice it every single day.

Make Your Change!


My point in sharing all of this is that if change seems to be impossible, figure out a way to make it happen. Find a tactic or make something up that you can practice consistently until it becomes a part of who you are. Nobody ever explicitly told me to make up a character to encourage myself to change, but making up a character is an outstanding way to become somebody who you might not be today. Most of us watch movies and television shows every single day where people are amazingly talented at taking on the role of somebody who is completely different from the person they truly are. 

Change is never impossible. Okay, maybe sometimes. We can't change to have wings and fly. But if you want something and are discouraged because your current personality traits don't jive well with success in achieving that goal, then change! Maybe you need to focus more, maybe you need to be more outgoing, maybe you need to be more organized (same, same, and same). Whatever success in achieving your goal might demand from you, go do it! As long as the goal is something you're passionate about, I promise that the great amount of effort change takes will be worth it in the long run.

What goals are you passionate about achieving? What might you have to change in order to achieve those? Don't wait any longer. Pick one goal today, make your changes you need to make, and relish the rewards of your success for years to come!

We Want To Hear From You!

What is the single most important goal you're currently fired up about achieving? What challenges are you facing, and what changes are you currently working on making or going to have to make in order to achieve your version of success? Leave us a comment or reach out on Twitter or Facebook and let us know! 


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