17 April 2011

Someone recently asked for my advice on Planning and requested a blog post about my thoughts on the matter. It’s a great subject and there are many ways to approach planning. It won’t surprise you that I probably start in the completely opposite place to most and miss out the bit that everyone else considers important.

My “planning” is almost non-existant. All my work is done long before any planning would normally take place, at the “dreaming” stage. It’s a side that is drilled out of us at an early age, usually in school and by our elders. Yet the dreaming stage is the most fun and it’s where the magic happens.

I have my own theories on planning. However, they are all inspired by others and date back a considerable number of years. Tony Robbins was the chap who originally opened my eyes to something I had been doing very successfully at various times of my life. I just hadn’t realised what I was doing. I certainly had no idea that there was an actual science behind it. I tried some of Robbin’s techniques and actually in my first Goal Setting session, listening to Tony in my headphones, I wrote down a wild and seemingly unattainable goal. “Meet Tony Robbins”.

It took me a few years to realise that I needed to write more specific goals. At an event in London, I met Tony Robbins. The problem is, I literally shook his hand along with many others and that was that.

I then went back to the drawing board. The next goal involving Tony Robbins was far more specific and it involved spending quality time with him where I’d get an opportunity to share ideas and develop a friendship.

In less than 12 months from writing this goal, the impossible happened. Gail and I were sitting in Tony’s living room at his home in Fiji with his lovely wife Sage, spending real quality time with them. It was an amazing opportunity to credit Tony for influencing us and encouraging us to engage our ambition. It felt good to be able to tick this one off the list and thank him first hand for his guidance.

Tony Robbins is an extraordinary man and if you want to learn about goal setting properly, my advice is go and get Tony’s CDs and start today. He changed my life enough to make me look deeper at myself. There is no way we’d be in this fortunate position unless we’d made some very definite changes for the better, and he certainly kickstarted us into looking at ourselves and being more self-critical.

Once I’d started on this journey of discovery, there was a great deal I had to find out for myself. There had to be more. I went on a journey trying to understand the science behind it. I found a chap called Earl Nightingale who was clearly a driver and inspiration for Tony Robbins.

It’s no wonder Robbins found Nightingale fascinating. Nightingale was an extraordinary man.

At 17, he joined the United States Marines. He was on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor and he was one of 12 surviving Marines on board that day. 2402 people were killed in the attack, 1177 onboard the USS Arizona. This clearly impacted on Nightingale. His perception and the way he valued both life and people after this terrible ordeal must have changed that day.

After the war, Nightingale worked for a radio station. He eventually developed into motivational speaker. In 1956, he produced the first spoken-word record to sell over a million copies, The Strangest Secret. Nightingale’s radio program, Our Changing World, became the most highly syndicated radio program ever, and was heard across the Globe.

In spite of this, I still think Tony is the one to listen to on goal setting. He has worked with the last 4 presidents of the US and his list of clients is impressive. When you realise who he has helped reach the heights of their professions, it makes a compelling case to sit down and take him seriously.

What Earl teaches is that everything you want is all around you. He says that “you are standing in a field of diamonds, but only a few people can see them and know how to reach out and pick them up.” He simplifies the success that some people achieve and links it to certain things they do in their behaviour.

Tony encourages you to think and dream as a child. Dream of everything that you might want in life. They don’t have to be materialistic things; they can be family things or health goals, literally everything. Either way, he encourages you to drop your adult way of thinking and THINK BIGGER!

The process is similar with both men from there. They both get you to write down your goals but Tony explains the science behind it and backs it up with irrefutable evidence from research first carried out in the 70’s. Once you have written down your goals, date when you expect to achieve them, 3 months, 9 months, 2 years, 10 years etc.

Earl insists you read this every night and pin it next to your bed. I don’t subscribe to this way of thinking. Gail and I “Goal Set” once a year. We take a few days to go through our lists and achievements and start to consider what we want from the coming months and years ahead. We do ours in January and we literally have books full of things that we are aiming at.

We then revisit this 2 or 3 more times in a year to tick off items we might have already accomplished and to add anything we have dreamt up more recently.

It is as simple as that. And that is the end of the planning. What about the execution of all the “dreams” and Goals?

We simply sit back and get on with our lives. Everything just has a habit of falling into place.

You are now thinking, well that’s easy. There must be more to it than that? Well, not really. There are techniques and subtleties but we have actually developed our own style.

What you will learn on this new journey is just how powerful your brain is and just how you are hampering your own success by allowing your subconscious to dominate your creative thinking.

I could write for hours on this subject and one day I’d love to. In the meantime, go and write a list, put it in a drawer and take it out in a years time and then let me know how you get on. But if you really want to get serious, do let me know and I will delve much deeper into this subject in a future blog.

Good luck and dream BIG!

Lawrence Jones

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