1. Have an idea of where you are going. Also called a mission statement, purpose statement, theme, goal, or life purpose. If it’s a project we can be clear. If it’s life it’s hard to be as clear, but we need to head a certain direction. Set some goals, get a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, and be prepared to adjust as you go along.
This seems like an obvious step, but how many times do we get in a hurry or procrastinate over something and how many times could we overcome this by simply getting a clear idea of where we are headed? Identifying an end goal is only one step of the project so don’t be overwhelmed yet figuring out how do I get from where I am today to where I want to be. You will get there by taking small steps, but first you have to know where you are headed.
2. Determine what you need. Whether it’s a college paper, remodeling project, career transition, or just cleaning out your refrigerator figure out what you need to get the work done. This step requires being honest about how much work is involved and what it is really going to take to accomplish the goal. If I need to completely empty the fridge then I need to identify that, if I need cleaner, paper towels, time, and help then I need to identify that.
I was encouraging an employee at an organization to consider taking some college classes to provide them opportunity to grow their career. Their reply was, “I can’t. I can’t afford the loans”. This person has an idea of where they want to go, but have not identified the steps towards getting there. They can’t determine how financial aid will work out unless they actually fill out a FAFSA, apply to the school, and talk to a financial advisor. By not taking the right steps they give themselves an excuse for not trying.
3. Get what you need. Procrastination does crazy things to the mind. It gives us excuses for not trying and doing. If we are busy getting the things we need to move forward we won’t procrastinate and we won’t become overwhelmed and quit. Just get what you need.
Again this seems like common sense, yet how often do we set a big goal and think well I can’t do that. If we get what we need to accomplish the goal we will keep moving forward. Chances are we haven’t really thought about it. We just look over our goal as another piece of information on a time feed. Oh wow, that’s nice. Can’t do it. It takes more than simply reading a timeline.
4. Do it. Action without a plan is just action. It may or may not get us where we want to go. Action that supports a specific plan will get us somewhere. All the great planning in the world will not help us if we do not act.
Now, factor in reality.
In reality it can be difficult to craft a clear mission. Create a buoy instead. A point at which you would like to reach, but that might move with the tide. Can you at least grasp the haze on the horizon? Maybe you don’t see the light house yet and that’s okay. Get a general direction and keep working hard until you can produce a clear, “This is what I want to do statement!”
When crafting your mission don’t back down from making it what you truly want it to be. Don’t think well I don’t have the degree so I will modify it. Write it down and then determine what you need. Sometimes is takes time to figure out what we need. As in the case of changing a career or starting a business and that’s okay. The time it takes to figure it out will help you grow and strengthen your resolve to accomplish your goals.
Take consistent action even though you don’t see the end in sight and the whole thing doesn’t make any sense. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I accomplished my goal without taking action”. Consistent action will get us somewhere. It will!
Have you ever met anyone who was happy living an unanalyzed life? They are on a journey and don’t know it. Someone told them when they were growing up that life was about getting a job and that’s it. They were never encouraged to find something to be passion about. If you are trying to purposefully navigate the journey of life and get to a destination all your own then congratulations! You are miles ahead of those stuck in that job.
Clarify, determine, get, and do.