making it happen

January 22, 2018

01 goals motivate us to take action

It is not the goal that motivates us, but our internalized reasons behind the goal that propel us to take action. The word motivation can be broken down into two root words—motive and action.

motive: an inner drive that prompts a person to act in a certain way. Motive is the goal or object of one’s action. Other words for motive include reasons, purpose, and intention.

action: the doing of something. Examples of actions include, do, rent, read, act, try, sign up, show up, eat, and move.

Motivation, therefore, is the inner drive to do, to try; motivation is the internal reason to act. Simply put, internalized reasons create movement.

02 we are motivated by other people

The decision to be motivated to progress towards a goal is a personal choice. I cannot motivate you and you cannot motivate me. I may be motivational. You may be motivational. But truly, no one is a motivator. The only person who can motivate you towards accomplishing your goals is you.

Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly. – Stephen R Covey

03 the key to goal achievement is reminding yourself of the goal

Often we fixate on a goal without giving enough focus and attention to the reasons behind the goal. Many of us do not need to come to terms with the world around us. Instead, we need to come to terms with our own unrealistic expectations and poorly defined goals.

Strong reasons make strong actions. – William Shakespeare

Well-established reasons help us feel the internal pressure needed to focus. We must dig to the roots and remind ourselves of the benefits, the reasons behind the actions that will move us closer to our goals. Each day, we have the choice to move forward, to progress, and to pursue our goals. Everything we do is done because we believe, consciously, or more often subconsciously, the projected consequences of those actions will be us feeling the unique, right mixture of six core feelings—feelings I call Lindsay’s six Ps of progress: peace of mind, pleasure, profit, prestige, pain avoidance, and power.

04 setting goals is challenging and hard

Setting goals is easy. The hardest aspect of goal achievement is crafting a goal that is so attractive, so alluring to us, that we are compelled to progress by continually making choices that move us toward their accomplishment. In short, well-crafted goals are PHAT: pretty hot and tempting. Setting goals is easy, crafting big PHAT goals is more challenging and rewarding. As a noun, craft can mean an object or machine designed for a journey, like a ship or an airplane. As a verb, craft can mean to make or manufacture with skill and careful attention to detail. A goal is the aim, the objective, the purpose, the point.

Goal-crafting is the practice of creating personal and organizational targets that are so clear, so well thought-out, so enticing, so attractive, so pretty hot and tempting that they actually become tools or vessels in our journey to their accomplishment. Our lives and organizations will surely change without well-crafted goals, but it is doubtful that they will progress.

Well-crafted, progress-based goals do not merely remind us of the desired destination; they help create the conditions and environment needed for their achievement. These goals propel us into forward-focused action and strengthen our resolve to progress. The real challenge is staying connected to the passion and understanding of ‘why’. Understanding the reasons behind our goal channels the passion in the right direction, or at least in some direction.

05 goals cannot be achieved without a plan

It is not the plan that makes goal achievement possible, it is persistent action towards the goal and persistent action is initiated and sustained by strong, internalized reasons (PHAT reasons). Personal, professional, and social progress demands persistent action. The greatest goals, ideas, plans, and skills in the world are useless unless they are combined with a generous amount of persistence. Persistence is a byproduct of passion. Passion leads to a zest in the pursuit. To keep the passion, we must constantly remind ourselves of the benefits we are expecting from our efforts.

News flash: goals can be achieved without a plan. It will most likely take us much longer, but we will eventually progress if we stay committed. The dangerous thing about not having a plan is that the longer it takes to progress toward a goal, the more likely we are to search out or give in to other ways to try to feel the six Ps of progress. Note that I said other ways, not better ways. And I said try to feel, not feel. Without a plan, we are likely to get discouraged and give up. ‘Losing sight of the goal’ means that it has not been defined clearly enough, and/or not held on to long enough, to be realized. A plan helps us achieve our crafted goals faster and more efficiently, without wasting resources or pulling our hair out.

Do not get me wrong, I am a firm believer in planning, but our best-laid plans will not get us where we are not committed to going. Keeping our thoughts constantly on the reasons behind our goals is the stimulus that keeps us committed and able to dispense with setbacks quickly, and to decisively redirect our efforts. Nana korobi ya oki is a popular Japanese saying that vividly expresses the importance of persistence, despite setbacks. As the proverb teaches, the eventual winners are those who ‘fall down seven times, get up eight’.

Every moment that we focus on the strong reasons that have inspired our goals, the closer we are to taking determined action toward their achievement. The key is to not let reasons for pursuing other goals steal our attention, become PHATter, or more compelling. We must keep our focus (and our employees’, customers’, and prospects’ focus) on the six Ps of progress that will be felt in accomplishing the goal.