“A bird doesn’t have a choice or need to be taught to fly thousands of miles and migrate back and forth, it’s just their success instinct. Humans are the only mammal that can successfully select it’s goals and that is the result of 4 billion years of evolutionary success. You’re successful just by being born — but it’s that sophistication that makes you get in your own way.
Goal actualization may be the biggest creator of man made frustration in our modern era.
You write them down.
Try to convince yourself.
But you’re missing something — and that something is the foundation to achieve them which I’ll provide in this piece.
I wrote goals I didn’t achieve for decades, so I’ve failed enough to learn what works and finally broke through.
I now understand the principles and psychology required to fulfill any goal I want.
What I’ve learned is that goal achievement is actually very efficient — you get what you pay for.
I wanted to be an entrepreneur so bad I put my life on the line to make it happen. I spent my life savings, I quit a job making $300k a year. I moved to the best cities to pull it off. I wanted it because I valued growth and personal development.
So, #1, decide how bad you actually want the goal.
You need to ask that question seriously.
Often when you set a goal, you actually don’t care for it as much as you believe.
It’s a nice to have, not a need to have.
The big question is: what price will you pay for it?
In my writing class a few months ago, I told my coach I’d have 1000 new subscribers by the next call.
I’ve only hit 265 and we have our call coming up next Wednesday.
As you’ll read later, it turns out I didn’t want that goal bad enough and therefore didn’t set myself up to achieve it.
Now I’m scrambling to dig deep and get creative to hit my numbers.
I could have created those conditions earlier to better ensure it’s fulfillment however I just made up the goal arbitrarily and wrote it down like most of us do when we set goals.
To start, the foundation for achieving big goals takes three things:
- tool set.
If you don’t have all three, it’s hard to even set the right goals and people end up setting goals that are unrealistic as a result.
So start there.
When you have that foundation , you can follow the seven steps to ensure every goal you have get’s achieved with certainty.
So what are the mindsets, skillsets and toolsets to ensuring a goal get’s actualized?
Let’s go through each one at a high level and dig into what we need to do to achieve a goal.
The most important part.
Your mindset ensures you have the skills to think correctly.
That includes attitude, resilience and capacity to be the person you need to be to achieve the goal you set your mind to.
You need to be able to command your ego and recognize the difference between your ego self and your observer self.
This includes but isn’t limited to believing in yourself, having confidence, managing fears we all have — and an attitude that knows how to win.
It also requires believing you’re entitled to getting what you want, which is one of the biggest blockers of goal achievement.
Critical to have the skills to achieve the goal.
You can’t become a master writer if you don’t have the capacity to write well (practice every day) or don’t have anything interesting to write about (either first hand experiences or masterful creativity to connect dots that no one else has connected before).
Invest in your skill development and learning — the more the better.
The more you learn and experience, the more you master your skill.
A skill should be targeted toward a particular niche (toolset) and an apprenticeship is one of the most effective way to learn and develop your skill-set.
To further hone those skills, you need to test your work in situations that matter. Ie. the market.
How often is you’re work being ‘battle tested’ or shipped? What’s the market saying?
You need a lot of that feedback. I’m currently launching a course on getting people to treat you how you want to be treated.
I’ve relentlessly written on the topic, faced the problem myself exhaustively, solved and overcame it for myself with coaching and the exact prescriptions I prescribe.
Most importantly, have validated the market watching my articles go viral (strong signal) and email sign ups.
I know I’m the perfect person to dominate this niche.
In a nutshell, skill-set requires a lot of practice and experience — and it needs to get seen by the field and market itself.
The right tool set often means the right technology, capital or other help to deeply master your craft, understand the people you’re working with or selling to and reaching them (the market) in the best way you can.
Depending on how you look at it, tool set could be the least important though training is the most important.
In the context of personal goal setting to eventually acquire the toolset — those things requires creating the conditions and environment for what I call absolute resourcefulness.
Absolute resourcefulness ensures you find everything you need at the right time to accomplish the goal.
Absolute resourcefulness is the result of the right mental state and situation to achieve what you want.
For example, many amateurs think “having connections” is the key to success.
“If only Ashton Kutcher would share my article I’d go viral” or if so and so would introduce me to so and so who would make me successful by signing me or buying my product etc.”
The fact of the matter is, mentors will help anyone when they see promise and they feel like they look good by making an introduction for you.
In fact, they benefit by introducing the “up and coming start up” to the investor or the “up and coming film maker” to the producer.
So the question to ask yourself is:
“What can I do to make this person look like a star while helping me out?”
And that starts with the work.
Your job is to make them look cool by helping you and you’ll be able to get any introduction you want.
You connect with influencers by being valuable to them.
Ashton Kutcher shared this article of mine, and yes, one of my best friends was his co-founder at his media company, which at the time, was using his FB account to share viral news.
Though my friend got my foot in the door, by no means, and I repeat, by no means did he just send my article to Ashton to share it as a favor.
You should assume that doesn’t exist — and though nepotism does of course exist in various situations, it’s often way too costly.
Had I “forced” my best friend to shove the article down Ashtons throat to share it, he never would have helped me out again — and you always want to play the long game.
From the outset my friend told me given he has thirty people and needs to lead by example, he can’t play nepotistic favors and said my article would get tested like every other article.
If it tested well, they’d elevate it to the influencer pages which included Ashton’s FB with 18 million followers.
My article happened to be a very powerful piece that was trending on Medium, and was republished in the Ny Observer.
It was my entrepreneurial journey, and I had invested in exclusive art for it (which I still use for my writing today), so the piece was adding value to their site for sure.
Furthermore, when the piece ran prior to it elevating to Ashton’s page, I literally spent the whole day harassing every friend I had calling in every chip for them to share it.
It costed me a whole day of hustle.
Finally, I was sitting in a coffee shop where I was working from, and my email began getting flooded.
I looked up and I saw my article had been shared by Ashton Kutcher and looked at the follower number next to his name. It was over 18 million followers at the time.
This was the quote and screenshot shared.
I was so happy. I worked so hard for it and we had just finished building an app we were driving downloads too so watching 300 downloads come in was nice (even then only 300! Makes you realize how influential ‘influencers’ actually are?)
The point is that even with my dear friend being his actual business partner, I still had to earn it. You always have to earn it.
Always assume you’re going to have to earn it always and the only way to have someone help you is by helping them.
Absolute resourcefulness is the ultimate tool in the tool set.
Here are the principles for the right mindset, skillset and tool set to ensure every goal you put your mind to gets achieved.
2. Go All In With Crazy Uncertainty
Burn your boats and take the fucking island. — Tony Robbins
Get scared, real scared. I used to be scared shitless when I’d spend money on myself whether it was a conference or a course or training for with limited funds in the bank.
You’d probably guess from my writing that I’m financially much more well off than I actually am, but my bank account isn’t flooded by any means and I’m still living on a lean budget.
I’m kicking off a new company and still investing heavily in myself but now I’m ready to accept the abundance the world has in store.
I’m ready to breakout.
This was my personal breakthrough whether it’s for my start up or for my new found fire with writing (because I invested in an expensive writing course).
It took me two years to finally appreciate and understand that this is an absolute must to get what you want.
If you have three months of runway in the bank and you fail, will you actually be homeless? Can you imagine the state of intensity that brings out of you?
Of course, some people actually would be homeless (disclaimer don’t go risking your family fortune because I said too) and I’m not trying to discount facts of poverty or anything else.
For the average fearful professional (used to be me), you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Trust me, it’s never as scary in the moment as you project it will be whether it’s public speaking or cold approaching prospective mates.
I used to be scared talking to women. That fear of rejection was unfathomable for me. Literally after finally being forced to do it only twice, I realize it’s the easiest thing in the world and that rejection has nothing to do with me.
Even if it does, it’s likely not a good match either way but it took purging the fear to overcome it.
3. Invest In Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is you don’t value what you don’t pay for.
When you invest in something, you make it a part of who you are and identify with it “as me”.
So the more you invest “in me”, the more you value yourself and therefore focused you become.
I just spent money on two courses and they’re bringing out the fire in me and I’m hitting my writing stride and breaking through in my business as a result (both courses were on both topics respectively).
Since the writing course began, I’ve published a long form piece every day which never happened until I invested in the course. Before that, I was slogging a long slowly but surely but never the intensity and fire I have now.
The best connections I ever made were from a conference I spent $5,000 on. My dad told me to save the money. Had I listened, I wouldn’t have met the contacts who I ended up becoming roommates with, and who had my article shared by Ashton Kutcher.
My friend just invested $100k in a mastermind group and I’m positive it will raise his profile and business to the world stage it deserves to be on.
Money always ends up becoming electronic numbers in a bank account.
Using it wisely by investing in yourself is tangible and priceless and returns itself in droves.
4. Possess The Confidence To Put Yourself Out There
Whether it’s talking to potential customers, public speaking or hitting publish, you need to be in a confident state of sharing yourself through your work.
If you’re worried about what people think or your brand and reputation, you don’t possess the confidence required to ensure your goal gets achieved.
This was a huge learning for me as I used to be obsessive over every single detail.
During my first start up, I badgered my co-founder about how we appeared in the press (it never even happened because I didn’t let it).
The fact is, no one cares or has time to care and people forget.
You’ll find the bolder your headline and more comfortable you are saying or doing something, the less people actually care.
I sat on my ‘boldest’ piece for a year because I was calling marriage a violent institution. I published it finally with the help of my coach and no one cared. Crickets. Literally have gotten ten likes since publishing July 1.
People like what’s familiar and comfortable and safe.
Meanwhile, this piece went viral immediately and has been liked by almost 1,000 people.
People generally don’t share the deep dark things they don’t talk about but agree with.
Part of why noone thought Donald Trump could win, but the silent majority quietly voted for him.
5. Declare Goals Publicly and Use Deadlines To Force Creativity and Resourcefulness
I have a goal to acquire 1,000 subscribers prior to my next coaching call in my writing course. I’ve only hit 265 so far.
With the call being five days away, am getting resourceful. I’m going to reach far and wide to hit the goal. Call in chips that I otherwise wouldn’t have.
Now, I didn’t set negative consequences if I missed the goal from the outset so perhaps I would have worked with more intensity from day one now that we’re approaching the goal.
But had I said “if I don’t hit this goal, I’ll give a charity I despise $1,000”, I would have worked with more fire. Imagine if I would have upped the ante and made it $5,000.
Now imagine if I made it $10,000 to the American Nazi party or ISIS or something horrible like that (thanks Tim Ferris for those recommendations).
Not that I’d do it but you get the point.
Yes, subscribers are important to me but they apparently aren’t important to “burn my boats and take the fucking island”.
I will make them so on the next one!
So the question is, how bad do you want your goal? What price are you willing to pay for it?
6. Measure and Report Goals And Have Someone Unbiased Hold You Accountable
“What you measure, you improve. What you report, you accelerate.” — Legendary Management Expert Peter Drucker
Having to report to someone else who doesn’t care for you personally creates a healthy fear that spurs action. This is the exact purpose of board meetings and goals set at each one.
Others holding you accountable don’t see all your hard work that give you moral high ground to miss, they just look at the results. So it forces you to be results oriented.
At the beginning of our start up, our seed investor who put up our first $500k had us do calls with him every two weeks.
I’d have to wake up for them every other Friday at 6am because I was based in San Francisco and he was on the East Coast.
We’d send a deck with activity updates and goals — and every one of us would show up for a meeting to talk about our activity.
This did two things:
When you’re live with an authority, you tend to make bolder goals and when you know you have to report them to everyone, you can bet you go out of your way to follow through.
Now that we’ve stopped those meetings as we’ve progressed through that incubation period with that investor, I’ve noticed a significant drop in urgency.
We haven’t written goals down and we don’t go to sleep every night knowing we’re reporting them in front of the tribe every other Friday morning.
Real force functions work and having an objective, results only oriented person hold you accountable is critical to achieve results and grow quickly.
7. Get Outside Help With Someone Who Has Achieved What You Want To Achieve
“Never take advice from someone you wouldn’t trade places with.” — Darren Hardy
To that end, get coached by someone who has achieved your goal. Only take advice from someone who you’d trade places with.
That ensures the decisions you make as a result of their advice comes from the right place. There are too many teachers who think they know what to do because of study though don’t know how to teach it when it matters because they only know the knowledge or material or don’t have the deep experience required to transfer their mastery over to you.
That’s why I think the best psychologists are entrepreneurs or winning marketers, not often psychologists themselves.
Entrepreneurs and marketers have to deeply understand what makes a human being tick to act, and what motivates them to spend hard earned money, have employees work for them for years, rely on them and more.
They have lead people when it matters and got them to buy things with a lot on the line.
The average practitioner whether it’s a psychologist or medical doctor or lawyer has generally been risk averse which is what led them down that traditional path in the first place.
They often haven’t put themselves out there in a way that exposes themselves to people and situations to deeply understand the trials, tribulations and challenges people go through and the complexity of the self that comes with it.
This is of course not all black and white and not to say doctors and psychologists can’t be entrepreneurs but thinking about the traditional path from college to practitioners to make a point (which most of them would agree with me on).
Some nuance here of course but you get the point.
Make plans to create the mindset, skill set and tool set to achieve your goals.
Create the conditions and context for absolute resourcefulness and accountability to bring the deep creativity and commitment required to achieve whatever goal it is you want.
Add a master coach and you’re guaranteed to hit every goal you set your mind to.