During the past year, I have talked with numerous groups and I always ask the audience if they have a written plan for their personal success, which outlines what they want to accomplish in the next five years. There are usually only a few hands that are raised in response to the question. I must confess I would not have been with this group during most of my career journey.
I was told that I needed to write out my goals, but it was never emphasized. I figured I had it all in my head so there was no need to write it down. I sure wish someone had pushed me harder to do this and helped me understand why it is so important.
If you are not willing to invest the time and effort to articulate your goals in writing—then how much are you willing to invest in making those goals a reality? Writing them down makes them real and helps to crystallize our thoughts around them. About 60% of our brain function is tied to vision. When we can see our goals and visualize them, we become unstoppable in making them happen.
When our goals are written it makes it easy to focus on them and to communicate to others. You cannot assume others have telepathy and know what your desires are. However, if you communicate clearly you can engage others in helping you reach these goals. None of us is successful in a vacuum. The first step in engaging others in helping us is to communicate clearly what we want.
Most people are baffled when you ask them their goals. So, if you do this simple yet powerful writing exercise you will be better off than more than 95% of others who have not made this investment.
Knowing what your goals are allows you to prioritize your time and be more strategic about the assignments you take, how you invest your time and how you communicate with your manager, mentors, sponsors and peers. It can actually take stress out of your life.
In the 1920’s author Napoleon Hill was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie to interview 500 of the most successful people of this era to determine “what set these people apart and helped them be successful, when so many others were not”. This process took 25 years to complete. What he learned was these people had a clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish and they all expected to accomplish it.
How clear is your vision? I encourage you to make this essential investment in yourself. It is hard work to do this. That is why so few actually do. But if you make this investment in your future you are much more likely to be successful. This is one of the few things that no one can do for you. People can coach, counsel and assist you with this task, but in the end only you can decide what it is that you want and how you define success. So go ahead---write it down---I DARE you.
- Becky Blalock, trailblazer to the C-suite and author of the best selling book DARE: Straight Talk on Confidence, Courage and Career.