Let’s change the record.
Are you sick and tired of not achieving enough even when you set goals? Some of you will be well versed in setting goals and may even have built up some good habits like writing your goals down and reviewing them on a regular basis. However, have you become frustrated at missing goals or possibly asking yourself “could I have done more”?
It used to frustrate me how it seemed so difficult to hit the shorter term goals. I’d get them set and start working towards them, but then life, business and customers would try their hardest to get in the way.
Missing goals repeatably can really make you feel despondent and lose the will to set any new goals. It can be easier to ignore goal setting and settle back into just being busy because that should make the difference after-all, right?
We have all been told that there is nothing like hard work to get what you want out of life and whilst this is true it is only part of the script.
Stop overestimating and underestimating what you can do.
Wiser men such as Bill Gates have been attributed with saying “We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short time frame (one year) but really underestimate what we can achieve in a longer time period (5 years +).
For me, I always suggest setting goals for a 5 year period. It is a short enough period of time that we can influence outcomes but it is long enough for you to be able to move mountains.
A lot of the frustration of not achieving what you want in the shorter term is simply down to not giving yourself enough time. Setting loads of goals in a moment of inspiration and then falling short at the end of the month is frustrating and dangerous to your moral.
Contra to that though is the really important long term issue, we tend to set goals for the long term that just don’t stretch us enough.
Having said all of that there is a far more important issue at work here, one that is unseen, intangible and painful to rip out into the cold light of day. Bear with me though, once we have reached in and pulled it to the surface it can be liberating!
Conditioning is everything
When you get a bit older like me you gain the benefit of hindsight. Looking back on your achievements or lack of them can make you become frustrated. You might discover that your long term goals were actually quite limiting. It often turns out that the person who has held you back the most is sitting in your seat.
Your Real goal list should make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. What is the point if you can’t get excited?
Learn to become conscious of your environment, conditioning and expectation. If you don’t become self-aware then everything you subconsciously surround yourself with will affect your paradigm and ultimately limit your belief of what is possible.
Taking part in the early sessions of newly formed mastermind groups with business owners or property investors has been a great environment to observe how changes to conditioning can make a huge difference. Take the example of Tony, he may have set a goal to add one investment to his portfolio per year for the next ten years. Tony has worked out that this could mean financial independence, if all goes well. The person sat next to him is called Alison and she wants to add 50 properties to her portfolio over the next 5 years. As long as she is prepared to do the work that is completely possible. It is quite conceivable that if we came back in 5 years they may both be on target. Alison may have achieved her goal of 50 properties and Tony will have 5, halfway through his target. So what is the difference between them, why has Alison achieved so much more?
Now, before I go any further, world domination is not on everybody’s hit list and nor should it be. Everyone has a different set of values, wants and needs in life. However before you shut off some higher levels of achievement in your life, make sure you are not closing down those possibilities because actually deep down you don’t think that could ever happen for you.
Dig deep, it will be worth it.
If you really look inside is it possible that you are closed to real growth because your conditioning has made it so? Have the people in your life, including those well meaning, plus the choices you have made, the knockbacks you have received and the things you tell yourself really pummelled your aspiration level into submission? If you can learn to understand that, then you are really becoming self-aware about what is limiting you, maybe even for the first time.
Give yourself some new conditioning.
Do you see how you are subconsciously influencing your level of goal setting and potential achievements? You have chosen to let all of these things chip away and mould your outlook on the world and your place in it. The exciting thing is that you can actually take some action to force this conditioning to change. Learn how to give yourself some new conditioning.
There is a 3 level process
When I go through goal setting with students and mentees I ask them to write down their current goals for the next 5 years.
These are the goals in their lives that they naturally believe are possible, almost a fait accompli. Once complete we put that sheet aside and start again, this time we look at goals with a second, higher life style & business plan. This is Plan B and could happen if everything went really well, all the traffic lights are green so to speak, the customers keep coming back for more and things keep growing.
This can be an enlightening experience, however the real point of taking the time to write down these two levels of aspiration is to get them out of the way and to work on the Real List, the goal list that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. The list of things that make you think Wooh! How different my life would be if I could somehow make this happen.
If not this life then when?
Well I have news for you! You only have this life, there is no guarantee of another so if you don’t take control of your conditioning then you may never get to the levels you actually want to achieve in life.
Do you want to wake up in five years and realise that while you have been fighting with yourself, Alison went ahead and did it anyway!!! She had the same 24 hours a day but her conditioning lifted her expectation which opened up the doors to opportunity in her life.
Now I’m not a psychologist and there is nothing wrong with Tony’s aspiration but what he didn’t know before the mastermind was that actually he has the skills and ability to build his portfolio much faster than he thought, what he lacked was the belief and expectation.
I have encountered this situation in life on a number of occasions and it is fantastic to see, Tony realises that he is alright, that there are others out there just like him who are actually just getting on with it without the same limiting beliefs. He starts to see what is possible and lifts his expectation to a whole new level. In a matter of a few weeks the grip of his very real conditioning is being forced apart. He resets his goals because of what he now knows is possible for him and proceeds towards them with confidence and expectation.
This shows the power of getting around the right people and environment, this is something you can control! You can force yourself to expand your mind and seek a higher level of success by affecting your conditioning.
A third higher Plan C set of life and business goals can really make you judge your time and money investments very differently. Do the projects or even the career you have been working on actually have the capacity to get you to this new paradigm? If you have chosen the wrong vehicle it doesn’t really matter how hard you work, it isn’t ever going to get you to where you want to go. So if you really take the time to look at what is possible and reflect on what your current vehicle is capable of, then you can have a sensible conversation with yourself about what you need to do. Should you change your model completely or do you just need to set new investment & project criteria?
I have been through this 5 year cycle before and the most disappointing thing was that I did not make my Plan C goals bigger. I totally underestimated what was possible in five years. So this time around I have made sure that I have really pushed higher.
The process has made me reflect on everything I do and our basic property investment criteria. We already had quite a specific set of criteria that our projects must be able to achieve but this exercise has forced me to re-evaluate the projects we take on, they need to have the capacity to give the right output to match the new goals, otherwise the opportunity cost is too high. Our investment criteria has changed up a few notches.
Have a meeting with yourself, will you.
Five years is a long time, you can achieve a lot in 5 years. I may or may not achieve the next five year plan, but at least by being on the right path I have a shot!
How about you?
Stop beating yourself up about what you didn’t do last week or up until this point in your life. Take some action, have a full day meeting with yourself away from distractions and sort this stuff out.
It is the most important meeting you will have in the next 5 years!