Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Path to Success: Setting and Achieving SMART Goals (2/3)

The Path to Success: Setting and Achieving Goals.

Part (2/3)

This is part two of the series, "The Path to Success: Setting and Achieving Goals" by Robert Leavitt.

Goal Setting
Setting Goals

You may be asking yourself, "OK that sounds great, but how do I even get started with something like this?". Luckily for you, you're very smart and you are reading this blog, so that's the first step.

The second comes from my experience in college and we are going to learn about SMART Goals.

SMART Goals is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and anchored to a Time period. When creating a goal, we can use the SMART system to make sure that it is a realistic goal that we can create a realistic plan to acheive. Let's look at each section:

Specific - You want your goal to be specific. Saying something like "I want to own a business" is simply not good enough. You want to narrow down that vague statement, and create something more detailed like: "I want to own a footwear retail store". Now you have a specific goal that you are working towards. If you try and define the goal as something vague, you will not be able to really tell if you have achieved the goal, or if your plan needs to be refined.

Measurable - It is necessary to measure your goals. This gives you the ability to make sure that you are making progress towards completing it. For example, if you decide that you are going to quit smoking in 6 weeks, you may decide that you will smoke 1 pack for the first week, 15 cigarettes for the second week, 10 cigarettes for the third week, etc… Now as the time passes, you have a way to gauge if you are on track to obtain your goal or if you need to step up your effort to meet the time frame you outlined for your goal.

Attainable - This is a very important part of the goal-forming process. You have to make sure that the goal that you are setting for yourself is attainable. It does you no good to say something like "I want to have 500 million dollars and never work again" because the odds of you attaining this goal are very small. You need to set your goals up in a way that you can achieve them, that way you can feel the sense of accomplishment. I tend to set my bar a little bit lower than most, that way if I can achieve the goal, and perhaps even do better than I originally planned, I will get a great feeling of accomplishment, and feel like I am really achieving something.

Relevant - Make sure you goal has some sort of purpose. Is it relevant to your family, career or personal life? It is OK to have goals that are purely for pleasure, but remember that you MUST have goals that are designed to accelerate your career, financial earnings, and family life as well. This personal development is extremely important, because the more you develop yourself, the easier it will be to obtain future goals.

Time- Again, a very important aspect of defining a SMART goal. You must attach a time frame to your goal. This makes you accountable and also keeps you on track towards achieving it. You can't be vague here and say "I will quit smoking next summer", it is critical that you give yourself a specific date. You also should make sure that the time frame is attainable. Some projects require longer periods than others.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Path to Success: Setting and Achieving SMART Goals (1/3)

The Path to Success: Setting and Achieving Goals.

Part (1/3)

Are you tired of feeling like you don't amount to anything? Are you tired of feeling like you really don't have any purpose and you are worthless? Regardless of whether you have ever felt those negative emotions, learning to set and achieve goals will make a tremendous impact on your life. One of the most important things you can do in this life is to set some goals. Setting goals can seem daunting at first, but once you get used to doing it, and better yet, once you start to achieve some of your goals, your entire life will change for the better.

Here is a brief list of some of the advantages to setting goals:

  • They give you purpose.

At some point in your life you have probably given thought to the age old question, "why are we here?" Having goals can provide you with an answer that question. No one person has the answer to that question, but a person who has defined goals can at least answer it for his/herself. For example, if your goal is to be a business owner, with enough capital to send his two children through college, when that question comes up, you can honestly answer, "To provide an education to my children". This is a very specific example, but it can apply to any type of goal you set for yourself.

  • They cause you to focus.

When you are working towards a specific goal, and you have a plan (more on that in coming weeks) you can avoid being sidetracked into something else that is not target specific. It's easy to be distracted and wind up doing something that you never had any intention of doing. Sometimes these trips can last years, or decades, and by having your goal outlined, you can correct this behavior quickly and get back on the road to success.

  •  They Keep You Producing

When you have a goal, you don't have to wonder what you should be doing at any particular time. This is a great cure for boredom and will help you to lead a more rewarding life-style.

  • They Build Confidence

Once you start to achieve the goals you have set for yourself, you will feel a great sense of pride - especially if you are a member of the procrastination group and you have been saying to yourself "oh I'll fix it later". You are not the only person who has taken his or her time to set goals. Everyone develops at a different speed and there is no right or wrong time to start. I will recommend that setting goals sooner than later will probably be more beneficial to you by the time your life ends, but not everyone is ready to do this. The fact that you are reading this post and trying to learn about goal setting by itself, is the first step on the road to success.

Stayed tuned next week for the 2nd installment in this series.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Going Back to School - Vital Steps to Being Successful

Going Back to School after 20 years

How to Get your Work From Home job on the fast track

Working from home is a real challenge.  I have been working at home for a number of years now and I look at my experience as if I was Thomas Edison.  I haven't failed, I just know several things that don't work.  I also know things that sort of work, and things that absolutely work.  Armed with this knowledge, one can't help but ask more questions.  I wonder if my marketing strategy is correct, and what other options there may be.  I ask myself if I my accounting is correct and how accurate my books are.  I wonder if I will grow to a point where I need to start hiring employees and I need Human Resource skills.

Going back to school after 20 years
Going Back to School after 20 years

Whether you work from, or you have your own business, or you are an independent contractor, you will reach a point where you either realize that you need more information and education, or you can choose to ignore this and most likely fail.

After 20 years I have decided to return to college.  I am currently attending Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL.  I am majoring in Business Administration, and I have a minor in Marketing Management - Electronic Commerce.  I am just about to start my second semester and I am very excited about the opportunities that are starting to present themselves.

Education is vital to achieving your goals.  If you are thinking about starting your own business, or you already have one, you need to consider your educational level.  If you only have a High School diploma, with no college under your belt, I would HIGHLY advise that you start going to College immediately.  Don't procrastinate, get in there and register and start talking with advisers.  The school is there to help and there are financial aid programs and other sources of funding that are available.  I am currently on a scholarship and I have some loans out, which have to paid back, but as it stands right now, I am getting "paid" to go to school.  What kind of idiot would pass up that opportunity? 

There is the argument that certain highly successful people dropped out of college and ran with this idea and now they are millionaires.  There are several examples of these people, Mark Zuckerman from Facebook is one, and it is true, he did drop out of college.  But the point that I want to make to you is that those people were IN college and stopped.  They used the resources the college had available, and networked with like minds and then launched a business model that worked.  They saw the amount of income they started receiving and made a decision to stop going to school based on that information.  It is very rare to find someone that had no education whatsoever that succeeded in business.
Success in College as an Adult
Success in College as an Adult

The reality is that most of the people that HAVE degrees are not successful in business.  Business is hard, it is a lot more than being in the right place at the right time.  You have to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right contacts, and the right product or service and the proper education or equivalent for it all to work.  

If you are considering going back to school, I strongly urge you to do so.  If you have no college education whatsoever or perhaps even worse, no GED, I beg you to return to school.  This journey that you are taking with me requires education.  It is imperative that you obtain an education and use the College or University for the resources it has to offer you.  Even liberal arts classes that are not related to your major can be very enlightening, and it can really change your perspective on the world.