There are things that get in the way every day to distract us from accomplishing what’s most important. They block us from getting to the high priority actions that can take our business and personal lives to a higher level.
In many ways they are the same old obstacles! Perhaps with a different twist but nevertheless, much the same. I’m reminded of the old phrase “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”.
Whatever the challenge – big or small, tough or easy, new or old – you have to get up and get after whatever is keeping you from making progress toward your goals. I know people who simply stop moving forward when the going is tougher than expected. They give up, or wait for a solution from someone else.
This breaks my heart, because often there is a breakthrough just around the corner. I have always believed that you can figure it out, no matter the obstacle. Why not keep moving forward, even inch-by-inch, and step-by-step? Is it that simple? I say heck yes it is, and why not you? If you are like me, it helps to have a plan, something to guide you!
To get from point A to point B and beyond, create a well-thought-out plan. The tougher the challenge, the more detailed the plan. It doesn’t have to be in writing, but it sure helps! The act of writing things down keeps you from missing an important step. It will give you more clarity. Planning and thinking about what needs to be done sequentially is a critical step and it’s not done nearly enough. It’s no wonder when an obstacle or road block comes up we’re not prepared to keep moving forward. When you develop your plan, ask the question “by when?” will each step be done. This is critical and clearly sets needed expectations for you and for others.
You may need to change your game plan along the way and add new or not previously thought of steps, but having a clearly laid out step-by-step action plan will keep you focused on what is important and remove the apprehension over where you are going. And, no matter how high you aim – don’t be afraid to aim high – the challenge becomes less intimidating when you are looking at the next step or task to be completed. Always keep your big goal (or BHAG if you like) in mind, but stay focused on successfully getting the next step accomplished. What are the high priority tasks that must get done? I have always believed in the power of Monday mornings, meaning think out your game plan for Monday on Sunday night, and hit the ground running Monday morning. As my friend Coach Bill Hart says, “you can enjoy the ‘by noon effect’ and be way ahead of others.”
I believe very few people aim high enough. Perhaps it’s human nature to be timid or reserved about setting high goals and sticking your neck out. BUT, the potential within us is so much greater than most of us recognize. I believe that our opportunities exceed our vision… our ability to see what’s possible and go for it. Don’t live life thinking “I wish I could or should have done that,” just create a plan and do it and don’t be afraid to fail. You just get up, refocus (which may include changing your plan or next steps), and keep moving forward. Unfortunately, many people don’t do this, but it gives those that try harder a better chance of succeeding.
Communication is something we hear a lot about but few seem to do it well and certainly do not do it often enough. Let people know where you are headed and the important milestones to be accomplished. Let them know your vision. It inspires others to know that what they are doing is important, and gives them hope that what you’re building will also create a better future for them. Communicating is not just telling others that something is important. It may start by asking questions and listening. And, what you communicate may be misinterpreted. Years ago I worked for a CEO and I listened to him communicate important directions in meetings. The company probably had 80,000 or more employees at the time, and I interacted with many different management layers in this company. I would hear what he said but down 6 or 8 layers I would hear some managers repeat a completely different message. They had it all wrong. It showed me that you have to be very clear on what you communicate and you have to listen and ask questions to make sure everyone got the same message.
Don’t forget to step back and celebrate accomplishing important milestones. This is not done often enough either. Small and large victories will come as you work on your plan. Recognize these achievements and celebrate them along the way. It will motivate and inspire you and others to continue on the path. It is also important to have fun on the journey, so celebrate!