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Success Advice

Goal Setting is Paramount to Your Success

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Goal Setting is Paramount to Your Success

Living a life without a goal is living a life without a meaning. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. Most people don’t even have a life goal. Don’t get me wrong; I was like that not so long ago.

Of course, I wanted to succeed in life. All I did was dream about a big house by the water in a southern city while sipping on a little sangria and swinging on a nice little hammock!

However, I didn’t have any plans or goals to fulfill my dreams. I thought that life owed me something, and that my dream would fall on me, like the snow from the cold city I lived in would.

“Purpose is what gives life a meaning.” – C. H. Parkhurst

How having a goal would make me succeed.

It is your GPS: Goal, Plan, Success!

Let’s say you are going on vacation and you are in your car, ready for a long road destination. You are driving from New York, in the month of December and you would love to reach a destination. Having no destination, refers to as having no goal; you are just going to drive around not really knowing which direction to take and not really knowing where you will end up. Sounds like you are not starting your vacation the right way!

You keep driving and get caught into traffic, construction detours and all the endless confusing roads. So, as you have been driving for a while, you start getting tired of turning around without reaching any promising destination.

Finally! This is a great start; you are tired of your situation and would love to take charge of it.  Thus, you ask yourself a crucial question; where would I like to spend my vacation? Hmm… Let’s see… I’d love to go spend some time in a nice Southern City!

Those palm trees, the sun shining all day, all the beautiful well-tanned people and all the charm of a southern city. But wait; there are indeed multiple sunny cities. Should I go to Miami? Los Angeles?

So here, at least, you have found yourself a goal, which is reaching south. However you need to make it more precise and choose a final destination unless you could split yourself in half and send each part in the two desired cities.

 

You need a SMART Goal!

S: Specific; Make it specific, LA or Miami? Let’s say you have chosen Miami.

M: Measurable; How many hours do you need to drive before reaching Miami?

A: Action; You need to get behind the steering wheel and start driving!

R: Realistic; Dream big, but you don’t need to drive 20 hours nonstop without taking a break.

T: Timeline; Look at how many hours it will take you to drive there.

 

If you have never been there before, driving towards the South in the hope of one day reaching Miami is just a wish, not a goal. So now that you understood this, you either put the destination on your GPS or plan the road through your own map.

“A goal without a plan is a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Zen of goal setting!

As you have now completed your road trip plan, get in the right path and start driving towards your goal, Miami. You planned the road trip, the timeline as well as the little road exit breaks!

As you are now on the highway, you notice that there is a lot of traffic. You think about your planned timeline and tell yourself that it will be hard to respect it. After a few hours caught in traffic, the road finally starts clearing out and you get going again!

Just when you thought your destination was around the corner, you have to face another obstacle, a major accident blocking the road you were headed to. As you are facing obstacles one after the other, you start losing faith on your plan and start thinking about maybe settling for a less desired and easier destination. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be?

 

When the plan doesn’t work…

Change the plan, but never the goal!

This is absolutely crucial. Whatever your goal is, you will face challenges. It is through these challenges that you will grow and become stronger as a person. If you change your desired destination in this case, you will always settle for less in life and never live your dreams.

Taking this crucial approach into consideration, you decide to change your road plan and find the closest detour available. As you do, you get back on track and head towards Miami again!

After driving numerous hours again, you face another complication. One of your tires lets you down in the middle of the highway. As you already faced multiple obstacles, this situation doesn’t even surprise you. However, you never changed a tire in your life and doing so would be getting out of your comfort zone.

You have learned to embrace your fears. Therefore, you get out of your car, take your safety wheel out and start analyzing your wheels in order to understand their scheme. As you are doing so, someone witnessed your situation and pulled aside on the highway in order to assist you!

My friends, the harder you work, the luckier you get! What if you stayed in your car wishing for something to get you out of that situation? That person assisting you could have thought that maybe you were just having a phone call and therefore, pulled a side. Who knows? Again, with the help of the generous individual, the situation is fixed and you get back on track!

You feel proud of yourself for not letting those challenges put you down and start believing that from now on, nothing will stop you from reaching that beautiful city of Miami and that you will always find a solution no matter what. You will begin to embrace challenges as you are used to getting through them. Thus, you will become a no matter what person!

Jim Rohn
 

So now, what is your goal? Think, Plan, take action and most importantly PERSIST! Start having the habit of moving towards your goals.

Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

Heitem is a successful business owner and passionate about Personal Development. He is now sharing his passion through his own blog WealthyMorons.com ! You want to learn about the One thing ALL highly successful people do? Download his Free eBook and become part of his Growing Pre-Launch Community!

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Fleur

    Jun 19, 2016 at 4:40 am

    i have never written any goals down 🙁 I have tried and my pen just won’t write! So I AM going to do them and see how i go from now on!

  2. Tim Denning

    Aug 7, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Heitem I have never been good at setting goals but your article has inspired me to change my approach. I always set them but I think I need to make sure I am applying the S.M.A.R.T principles on every single one.

  3. Successful Tribe

    Aug 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Great article.
    Always right plan,right direction,right people,right idea,realistic goals and dreams and persistence lead to massive success in life.

  4. Timo Fischer

    Jul 17, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I always keep a list where I write all of my Goals down and I read it everyday helps me to stay motivated and I don’t lose the direction! Good Article as always.

    • Heitem Ak

      Jul 18, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Thank you Timo!

      Smart thing to do!

      Heitem AK

  5. Sammy

    Jul 16, 2015 at 5:55 am

    I liked your analogy for “the harder you work the luckier you get”, sitting in the car vs changing the tire and how the latter is more likely to get you help, great stuff.

    • Heitem Ak

      Jul 16, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      Thank you Sammy!

      I often hear the statement, but rarely an example portraying it!

  6. Cobi Gabay

    Jul 15, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Excellent work. Thank you for writing this article..

    • Heitem Ak

      Jul 16, 2015 at 9:14 pm

      I appreciate your comment Cobi!

  7. Stella Chiu

    Jul 14, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Hi, Heitem

    Three letters for success:GPS which are goal, plan, and success. Without plan, we can’t move forward because just like car without direction. Like you point out that, goal must be “Smart” so that strong clarity is there.

    The way to deal with challenge is fall down, up, go and repeat.

    The article is so good that I’ve tweeted it yesterday.

    Thanks for sharing. – Stella

    • Heitem Ak

      Jul 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      Well said Stella!

      As a Japanese proverb says: “Fall seven times and stand up eight”

      Thanks for the kind words and for spreading the love!

  8. Lawrence Berry

    Jul 14, 2015 at 6:07 am

    Having the right plan is always the right thing to do. You can have a dream, but without a plan to make that dream come true, it will never become achievable. I like what you said that you should never change the goal, but if a certain plan is not working, you should change the not the goal. There is always a way to make something achievable. Great post!

    • Heitem Ak

      Jul 14, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      Exactly Lawrence!

      There will be tough moments, it is inevitable.

      As I said in the post, if you change your goals because of these tough times, you will always settle for less in life!
      If you get through them, nothing will stop you from living your dreams!

      Thanks for your comment Lawrence!

      Heitem Ak

  9. Esther

    Jul 13, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Hi Heitem,

    “Change your plan but never your goal.” I love that.
    You found an interesting analogy to the entrepreneurial journey. A trip with all its highs and lows.

    I like to compare the entrepreneurial journey to the Hero’s Journey. Entrepreneurship is so much more than having the strategies and applying the tactics. It is an inner game of dealing with all our limiting beliefs and facing our biggest fears.

    Is there any experience you can share in this regard? Maybe in a new post?

    Thanks,

    Esther

    • Heitem Ak

      Jul 14, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      You are so right Esther, and I love your theory of the Hero’s journey! 🙂

      Being an Entrepreneur, I can relate to that!
      The only limits we have are those we place on ourselves.

      In a way, fear is based on the theory of importance, or to an exaggerated value we grant to something.

      As a general rule, the expectation of a certain result implies the importance of that result, which implies the fear of not being able to generate that result. If people’s opinion really matters to you, you will feel the fear of interactions, and you will prevent yourself from being in social gatherings.

      I will definitely write a post about it.

      Thank you for the idea and for your kind words Esther!

      Best,

      Heitem Ak

      • Camilla Hallstrom

        Jul 16, 2015 at 10:38 am

        Awesome take on goal setting. So true that an entrepreneur’s journey is much, much more than just “implementing”. You need to get to the stage where you’re implementing and to get there, you need goal setting and as you say, facing psychological hurdles, such as fears.

  10. Augustine

    Jul 13, 2015 at 7:30 am

    THANK YOU SO MUCH Mr. Heitem,it really shows how you also value our lives and i see you are determined on that,God bless you for such a wonderful full of wisdom article.

    • Heitem Ak

      Jul 14, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you for your kind words Augustine.

      Inspiring you is my main goal!

      Heitem Ak

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Success Advice

Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive

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productivity tips
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“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!

Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.

Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.

Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:

1. Wasting Time

Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.

Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.

“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks

2. Inaccurate Responses

An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.

Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.

3. Constant Back-and-Forth

Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.

Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.

You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.

A Better Approach to Emailing

For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.

Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.

Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:

1. Checking Them Less

I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.

2. Responding Quickly

People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.

“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk

3. The If-Then Technique

The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”

This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”

I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.

The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.

If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.

Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave

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how to be happy and successful
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It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.

It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.

Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:

1. Where Are You?

No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.

The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

2. Where Do You Want to Go?

When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.

There’s this saying:  When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.

Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.

So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?

3. Why Do You Want It?

Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.

You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.

So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?

“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins

4. How Are You Going to Get There?

And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.

For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”

To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.

In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to  get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.

Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.

Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.

Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!

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Success Advice

The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work

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Claude Silver CHO of Vaynermedia
Image Credit: VaynerMedia

A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.

The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.

A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”

Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.

Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.

Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:

1. By being unafraid to share her own story

Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.

When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”

Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.

“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson

2. Committing to a strong value system

VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.

With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.  

Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.

Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.

3. Listening with action

As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something.  As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.

Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.

Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.

“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:

“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.

I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.

From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.

What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

The 7 Secrets of High Achievers Revealed

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We all have goals in life, but very few of us ever learn to consciously set, work on and see our goals through. In our naturalness bias, we marvel at those who have set and reached their goals thinking they have some esoteric abilities that we don’t. We overlook that the final product is the result of a series of mistake-ridden, unrecorded pains. What if we could learn from the process, the habits and rituals of the high achievers? (more…)

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