30 May 2010
If you think getting to the top of where you want to go is hard, think again, that’s the easy part. Many people achieve it, yet only few manage to sustain it and even fewer go on to greater things. So why is this?
I have a theory and I am in good company with some other wiser folk than me with this one too. The theory is this. In order to reach a great height in whatever you do, you have to set it in your sights as a target. You have to know where you are going. That sounds like common sense but so many people fail to grasp this one before they set out on their journey. You have to define the success you want or else you do not know when you have arrived at your destination. When I set a goal, I literally map out every single aspect of what I am wanting to achieve.
OK, so you have set your sights on something exciting, something that is now going to drive you forward. Well, welcome to the easy part, it might not feel like the easy part, but believe me it is. At this point in your journey you are under very little pressure, with maybe a few of the driving factors that got you off the couch in the first instance, a wife, the bailiffs, the annoying relative you wanted to prove wrong, a family you want to support. But essentially you are embarking on the exciting journey and everything is new and you are busy. And busy is key. Whilst you are occupied with very little time to sit back and over analyse you are far more likely to be successful.
I’d sooner work 7 days a week 18 hours a day and make lots of mistakes than take my time over something and dissect every decision. It’s the mistakes that make you a better person and businessman; if you learn from them.
So here you are flat out, obsessed with everything you are doing and so focused on the goal that you almost forget it. I think this is a healthy discipline. I am not someone who believes you have to have a photo of your goal and look at it every day. I revisit my goals just for an update 2 or 3 times a year. I am always amazed at how many I can tick off!
Then suddenly, at one of these points when you check up on your progress, you realise you have hit your goal that you had set years earlier. You are happy, still busy, still excited, but you have achieved something.
Firstly you deserve a pat on the back. The hardest part of this is that there are very few people who will understand what you have had to go through to reach the heights you are at and the sacrifices you have made. I am lucky, Gail my wife is my business partner and a best friend all rolled into one. When we set goals we also set rewards for whenever they are met. This way we are reminded forever by linking great memories to all the hard work and achievements. No one wants to remember the hardship and certainly you will be viewed as a real bore if you keep telling everyone how hard you work or all the problems you continually face.
It is at this stage where most people go wrong. How many times do you hear of someone who has made it, then lost it? Yet come back and done it again! It’s quite a common story. Once you have hit your goal and had your celebration you need to refocus. You have to sit down and set new targets that are equally as challenging as the very first one. Why? Because if you don’t, you will simply take your eye off the ball and start to relax, then fester.
In a lot of peoples cases, that celebration I mentioned, does not stop and it continues for years until people realise this is simply not a fulfilling lifestyle. So many successful people I know end up drinking, gambling or womanising or in some cases all three. They are simply looking for the buzz they used to get in work. My advice is get back to it, and pronto!
I am often told how successful I am and people very kindly congratulate me and say “well done, you really look like a person who deserves it.” I am always flattered and if I am honest slightly uncomfortable with a sense of embarrassment. The thing is, for me I am not the finished article. My success is relative. I have set my goals on much larger sights and this is not to be clever or outdo someone, it is simply because if I don’t, I am in danger of not taking my own advice and living by the values that I know are incredibly important. I have to keep developing. this way, however painful, is the only way I know. I am therefore a man on a continual journey where retirement equals death.
It is far easier for some people to have a lie in on a Sunday morning, but for me, if I am awake, I have to start the day and really give it my best shot. This morning I had a run around our lake in Wales, Llyn Cwellyn. It is beautiful and it is just a long enough distance to stretch me. In fact this morning it felt tough and I pushed myself slightly harder, knowing that it is good for me in the “long run” – pun intended. I’d also started the day with a drink of apple juice that seemed well past it’s sell by date! Leaving a warm bed and a snug cottage for the cold wind and hardship is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it is an essential part of my goals which I set years ago as a kid. Never to lose my youthful spirit and this requires me to keep youthful energy which means I have to remain a fit as a teenager. Now there’s a goal you can never settle back and congratulate yourself with, it is litterally and ongoing tread mill. but the rewards associated with being fit and healthy massively outweigh the negatives. In my book, I’d sooner be running in the rain with the wind in my hair, thinking about all the great things I have in my life. My wife, Gail, my children, my friends and family. It is a great time to say thank you. I am not sure who to, but yet I find myself always saying thank you. I take nothing for granted and I am busy reinventing myself.
I always admire Madonna. She is from my era, and yet she unlike most popstars, has been successful in every area of the pop industry. She continues to do it where others fail. It is safe to say, she keeps herself incredibly fit, which helps her to maintain a youthful spirit and I’d also bet money on the fact she sets incredibly challenging goals to reach. Who wants to maintain the Status Quo, God forbid you might end up like them!
So when you are setting your goals, and when you are on your journey, just remember to combine a bit of exercise and treat your body to some of the fresh air and fast pumping blood that it thrives on. In turn, your body will reward you with the stamina required for being super successful. And when you hit that goal, because I know you will, have the next set ready.
The body acts as a thermostat. It kicks itself into action when things get bad. Hence the saying “When the going gets tough.” But just like a thermostat. It also switches itself off from time to time to rest, and if you allow it, it is very difficult to get the momentum up and running again. Welcome to the race that never stops! If you want to discuss any of your ideas or challenges, drop me a line. I am happy to help where I can.
Good luck on your journey.