We probably all know a lot of people and businesses with bold, audacious goals.  Some of them get accomplished.  Some of them don’t.  What happens to those that don’t?

After years of working with individuals, families, and various types of business organizations, I have come to the conclusion that people who realize their goals have a plan for doing so.  They are not content to be “dreamers”; they focus instead on being “doers”.

Most of us, possibly even all of us, get caught up from time to time in dreaming about our goals.  We network with others, talk about our goals, listen to them talk about theirs, and then we network with even more people.  We find ourselves in “dream and talk, talk and dream” wonderloop that makes for one vicious, self-defeating cycle.

We seem to think that if we share our dreams with enough people, someone will take responsibility for our dream and make it happen for us!  Michael J. Fox, the actor turned activist, has little use for those who only set goals.  He dismisses them as “inconsequential noisemakers” focused on wish fulfillment rather than accomplishment. 

What they lack, Fox says, “Is a plan.  A plan that has intent.”  It answers four very basic questions:

  1. What am I trying to make happen?
  2. How will I measure success?
  3. What’s the first thing I need to do to get started?
  4. What’s the next thing I need to do to achieve success?

So, what are we trying to make happen?  If it’s family success, then define what that looks like and how it will be measured.  If it’s business success, then define what that looks like and how that will be measured. 

The success definitions will be different for each of us.  The first thing to start with, however, is pretty much the same for all of us:  Focus on What You Can Control.  Take a look at what you want to accomplish – what you’re trying to make happen – and figure out what specific actions you can take to make it happen. 

One of the seven habits of highly effective people, in fact the first of the seven, is to begin with the end in mind.  Then, you can work backwards to decide the first thing you need to do.  The best time to get started was probably years ago.  The next best time is today.  Go for it!

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