The Road to Achieving Success Starts with your First Step
In my experience, any kind of big goal, like Achieving Success, means we all must first clearly state our desired results. This means identifying the Big Goal: what's the overall picture?
What does achievement of this goal look like?
How does it feel?
Clarifying that Big Goal means envisioning it in total detail, writing it down, posting it everywhere, and truly embodying it.
Creating the Big Goal means truly reaching beyond your present circumstance or situation and putting yourself in the situation you desire. What is that goal? (Never mind how you will get there, or what potential obstacles are in the way).
What is your desired goal? Who is there with you? What are you doing? Imagine it in every detail.
For example, I want the A Successful Woman website to identify, reach, and draw in a powerful, engaging, friendly group of like-minded individuals.
Through the website, we learn things together. We support each other through doing business with each other. We help each other realize long-held dreams. We make a positive difference for our world... together.
- I see all of us forming a network of capital, connections, resources, and ideas.
- I see a comfortable space where we all understand each other's motivations and we respect each other's beliefs.
- I see us all working steadfastly to address issues.
- I see committment and the ability to rise to any challenge.
- I see us effecting real, positive change in issues that matter to us.
They're big goals.
When will it happen?
After identifying what the overall goal for your project or endeavor is, the next step is setting a timeline. When will this overall goal be achieved? It could be ten years from now, or twenty, or just a few months from now. Identify a time frame and aim towards that time frame. "I want to achieve my big goal by this date: __________________."
Check your progress.
Next, think about what details would constitute achievement of that goal. This could relate to any kind of goal, such as "success in relationships" or "success as a parent" or "success in school" or "success as a human being."
The details include quantification: "I request that my e-mail newsletter list reach 100,000 e-mail subscribers." Or, the details may include qualitative measurements: "My goal is for my community website to have an active discussion board that sparks real discussion, connections, and friendships between the participants."
What are the measurements that would determine success for your Big Goal?
It might be achieving a specific monthly income, or being able to reach a certain number of people every month, or it might be targeting a specific weight or blood pressure reading. Whatever it is, it needs quantification: what are your metrics?
Track your Progress
Next, continually measuring your progress is the next part of achieving your goal. Perhaps this is daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually, as a kind of progress report. Where are you in time and what benchmarks have you reached? Constant measurement means accountability, which keeps you on track with your goal.
What is today's date?
By when did you want to achieve your goal?
Check in and identify benchmarks, or progress markers that help you feel like you're reaching your goal. These are like the mile markers during a road trip: they give you a sense that you're making progress. Whatever the interim item is, when you reach it, celebrate it! When you reach your marker, you are that much closer to your goal.
Check in again?
As a note, I encourage you to review your Big Goal periodically. In your estimation, does achieving your goal mean you are successful?
At the 3-month, 6-month, 12-month, 3-year, 5-year, 10-year mark:
Does your goal still make sense?
Does it still fit with your vision of where you want to be going?
Is it relevant to what you are doing now?
If it still makes sense, you are doing the right thing... keep going!
If your definition of success no longer resonates with you, consider your Big Goal in more detail and identify your true reasons or your true motivation. You may surprise yourself with something totally different than expected.
Build your team.
It's important for you to find other people who are committed to your success, too. These are friends, lovers, parents, associates, mentors, and family who understand your vision and who support you in achieving that vision. They are positive and they give you support.
(I'm planning for the A Successful Woman website to be a kind of clearinghouse for all of us to meet each other and act as this support team).
You always live, breathe, and work in relation to other people: we achieve our goals only as part of a tribe of others who are walking their path next to us. If you don't know anyone who will help you, reach out! Build your network and meet with people in person or online: wherever they are, they are part of your team. Find your supporters.
So achieving your success means envisioning it, setting a timeline on it, identifying benchmarks along the way, constantly assessing your progress, and enlisting the support of others who share that goal for you.
If you are already on this path, congratulations. It's easy to talk and talk but never take action towards our goals (typical phrases to defeat ourselves: "I'm tired!" or "the timing isn't right" or "I have too many other things on my plate right now")
Try taking action! Even a little action is still action.
If a big indicator is too much, set a small indicator of progress to help you feel like you're moving forward.
Instead of 100,000 subscribers, start with 10.
Then move it to 100...
THEN you start moving the goal to 1000 and 10,000.
Take the first step.
If you're not yet on your path, just take a first step. When you define your goal and you know what success means to you, and you're measuring your progress and revisiting your goal on a regular basis, you'll definitely achieve. However, all of this presupposes that you've taken the first step. If you haven't, go ahead! Just take the first step that brings you there:
Reserve the domain name.
Buy the jeans two sizes smaller.
Sign up for the marathon.
Schedule the tickets.
Open up a new folder.
At a certain point, we must leap into the unknown. Sometimes, moving towards that Big Goal means moving far outside our comfort zone. Anyway, that's the purpose of having a Big Goal!
Just take the first step. Everything else will follow.