Success Rule #14 – Know What You Want

Although this rule applies to all of us, it is particularly relevant to those who may still be in school, or are just starting their careers. For the rest of us, let me remind you, it’s not over ’til it’s over. Do you want something more from your career, in your life? To get it you have to know what it is you want.

So what’s your game plan for life? Making it through your next class, semester, to simply graduate? Your next annual review, the next sale or project? Don’t know? Haven’t thought about it? Most people don’t. That’s why they fail. They are adrift in a sea of uncertainty. It’s easy to give up on the plan you don’t have. You need an end game – what is your ultimate goal? CEO, President, SES, GS-15, E-9, General Officer, renowned designer, actor, comedian, musician, wealthiest person on earth? DREAM BIG, it’s your dream, why not?

If you’re not sure how to get started, here is a process that will help.

1. Take out a blank sheet of paper. In 10 minutes, list as many things as possible that you have not done, or don’t have that you would regret not doing/having if you died tonight. To the best of your ability, don’t stop writing and don’t censor or even think too hard about anything. Just write. You might find some crazy things coming out the end of your pen, and that’s OK. Let them.

2. Read your list. Notice any internal reactions you have to different items on the list. Note these in the margins next to your list so you can remember them later.

3. Step away from the project for 3-7 days, except to read your list once a day. Let the list percolate in your mind. Writing down our desires brings to the forefront things that we haven’t thought about in a while, or things we avoid at other times. It can take us a few days to become accustomed to these things being a reality in our lives.

4. Come back to the project and read the list again. Note any internal reactions that have changed as you let the ideas percolate.

5. Start pulling the different items on your list together and write a statement that encompasses what you’re about. In the beginning, this can be a list of more general categories that cover all of the items on your list. For instance, my list would contain such items as “helping people grow” and “working with groups to help them better understand and support each other.” My larger category might be, “working with people, as individuals and in groups, to help them better understand and support the growing process in themselves and others. Eventually, this statement will be less like a list and more like a sentence or two, but the list is fine to start.

6. Write down and commit to one step you can take this week! today! right now! to help move your life more in line with your statement. Make sure that this is small enough to be achievable and is something you can maintain.

7. Repeat steps 3-6 until you have a statement that feels right. Most people know when they’ve hit on the one that’s right for them. It moves many to tears, but some also feel joy or peace when they find it. Continue with the small goals until your life looks like what you want it to be.

8. Start living the life you’ve designed. Achieve your definition of success. If you know what you want then you can Get what you want, and create the life you want . . . Right Now!

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