Leadership 101

How To Create A Goal Traffic Light

Goal accomplishment would be much simpler if we had internal signals that would indicate green to go, yellow to wait and red when we should hit the brakes.

goals“When faced with failure, many persons are not sure if they should continue in their current direction or choose a different path. They may end up persevering with the wrong thing or quitting a good idea too early. How do you know when to stop and when to keep working on a goal?”  – Reader

Last week we looked at how to use failures to help you achieve your goals, by learning valuable lessons that can point you to the right pathway. However, sometimes failure can actually be a sign to stop. How can you tell if your goal is worthwhile pursuing, or if you are chasing a futile dream?

Goal accomplishment would be much simpler if we had internal signals that would indicate green when it was time to go, yellow when it was appropriate to wait, and red when we should hit the brakes. This would remove confusion and doubt, and prevent us from wasting time and money.

Since you were not designed with this decision-making feature, you have to find strategies that can help you to decipher the results that you experience when you start working on your goals. Here’s how you can create a ‘traffic light’ for your goals that will indicate the right steps you need to take.

Seek out relevant information

To make a decision, you must obtain all the details you need to create an appropriate plan of action.Don’t try to pursue your goal without arming yourself with critical information that will let you know if you should proceed or stop.

For example, if you want to buy your own home, you need to know your desired property value and location, how much deposit is required, and the income you need to acquire a mortgage. If you want to pursue a higher education, you need to seek career areas that are in demand, find out eligibility requirements, determine the tuition cost, and ascertain how you will finance your education within your budget.

It is extremely important to do your due diligence especially if you want to start your own business. Before you embark on any enterprise, you need to understand your technical and business capabilities and research the market opportunity before deciding if this is a viable option for you.

Getting information will allow you to assess your ability to move ahead with your goal and realize all the shortcomings that need to be addressed. The process will also help you decide if you are willing to do all the hard work that is required to realize your goal, or if you should just let it go.

Listen to wise instruction

When you have conceptualized a plan, it usually makes perfect sense to you. However, it’s critical to get other opinions about your ideas, especially if your plan will require money. Look for experts in the field you are pursuing and ask them to assess your ideas before you make firm decisions.

Once you have found someone who is qualified to advise you on your quest, make certain that you provide all pertinent information that can help this person to guide you. Listen carefully to the questions you may be asked and don’t get defensive if your idea receives constructive criticism.

Sometimes persons seek advice only to get an affirmation that they are on the right path. As such, they will selectively disregard any suggestions that may go against what they have already decided to do. They believe that the advisors didn’t really understand their goal, so their counsel is ignored.

While your mentors may be more experienced, their opinions are not infallible, so get other viewpoints if you are uncertain about their advice. Where weaknesses or flaws in your ideas have been revealed, use their cautionary words to reevaluate your objectives and improve your plans.

Follow your instinct or inspiration

There are times when a goal may be so unconventional that it defies logical reasoning and seems impossible to be accomplished. These ideas are often derived from a novel theory or some divine inspiration, and the persons who conceive them are viewed as mavericks or eccentric dreamers.

Magellan wanted to sail around the Earth; the Wright brothers wanted to travel in a flying machine; Roger Bannister wanted to break the four-minute mile barrier. While your goal may not be as earth-shaking, you may have been gifted with a brainwave that could change your community or country.

Your idea may be in the maverick category if you get responses such as “It won’t work because it’s never been done like this before,” or “We don’t have the capacity to do this.” If you have conceived a revolutionary idea, be prepared to go all-out and make major sacrifices to realize your goal.

You will need to have a strong motivating force that compels you to win, and a fierce determination to press through despite the inevitable obstacles and trials. Read stories of trailblazers and find other like-minded goal seekers who can help to encourage you to accomplish your big dream.

Cherryl-Hanson-Simpson_260486Cherryl Hanson-Simpson is a money coach, business mentor and the founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services, the Caribbean’s number one source for practical, down-to-earth and independent answers for all questions relating to personal finance. Cherryl is currently writing her first book, The 3 M’s of Money – How to Manage, Multiply and Maintain Your Money. See more of her work at http://www.financiallysmartadvice.com.

 

Photo Courtesy of grendelkhan [FLICKR]