Imagine this: you’re standing “here” with “nothing”. You’re looking “there,” visualizing a time when you’ll have entrepreneurial success and with it the wealth and prosperity you want. It’s so vivid that you can almost feel it. That’s a very good start. But the question that pops into your mind is, “How can I possibly get there?” And that one question sets off a panic, or the feeling that you’ll never make it, that it’s way too hard. How do you deal with this fear?
First, ask yourself… if you don’t try, will that bring you any closer to that destination you dreamed of? Maybe you’ll find inner reserves of bravery, stamina and self-reliance and commit yourself to your career and business goals. But wait, there’s a simple yet powerful approach to solving problems for business or otherwise. It’s so simple that it’s a wonder more people do not consciously use it. What if you took little steps towards that dream, while carrying on with whatever else you’re already doing?
Mapping Your Entrepreneurial Success
People have started from nearly nothing and gone on to great success simply by having a goal, breaking it down, and moving forwards.
- Have a concrete goal. Also, have a personally powerful reason for your goal.
- Start somewhere. If you ask, “How can I possibly go from the nothing of Now to the goal I have Then,” then you’re already defeated because you’re telling yourself that you doubt any possibility. Instead, ask yourself, “How will I go from Now to Then?” Now you have a chance of accomplishing your goal because you’re receptive to the possibility of completing it. Start from where you are, and go step by step.
- Break it down. Start by breaking your goal down into a sequence of smaller goals. Some goals will be far more important than others, simply because they are a “bottleneck” task. That is, if they’re incomplete, they’ll hold up other tasks. You need to identify these bottlenecks as soon as possible. They might be emotional rather than logical or procedural bottlenecks.
- Be project-minded. Manage your overall goal as a long-term project filled with smaller, related goals or tasks. Find the critical path through the sequence of efforts you need to perform. The bottlenecks will affect your entire project. Solve each problem in whatever way is most suitable. If you don’t know what that is, then explore some problem solving techniques.
- Always see the big picture. Don’t think about a task in isolation, but as a building block to greater success. So no matter what it is, even if it’s not a bottleneck, each task is important and needs to be completed. The sooner it’s done, the sooner you progress towards your overall goal.
- Do visualization exercises. It’s easier to keep the “big picture” in mind when you remind yourself regularly what your goals are. Daily visualization sessions are recommended, but even weekly sessions help you maintain your enthusiasm. It all depends on how disciplined you are, and whether you can sustain this activity if you only do it once a week. Most people cannot, at least not at first. So nightly visualizations before retiring for bed are ideal, even if they only last 5-10 minutes.
- Revisit your goals weekly. In addition to your goal visualization exercises, spend time once a week to review what smaller goals were achieved and how your “project” is affected (positively? negatively?) as a result. It’s not necessary to do this daily. In fact, that’s probably a bad idea.
- Gauge your weekly achievements against your larger goals. Are you progressing? Did you meet your self-imposed deadlines, or were they unrealistic?
- Reassess your goal monthly. The smaller goals of your “project plan” may no longer apply. Maybe they’re outdated, or you’ve achieved them already. Or maybe you have an alternate way of achieving them. Also look at your large end goal. Does it mean the same to you as when you started? Has your end goal changed? How are your smaller goals affected as a result.
- Keep going. Whether your goal has changed or not, if you still have a goal and a suitable project plan for achieving it, then persistence is key. On the other hand, if you keep changing your plan because you’re afraid of reaching the end, then you’re not going to find any satisfaction any time soon. You’ll have to ask yourself why you’re afraid of reaching your goal. Do that for yourself: make a list of what negatives there are if you do succeed, then deal with each item step by step. This is part of what persistence really is all about.
When you do achieve your goal, share your success. Then start work on another goal.