Dream it, achieve it
Having a positive attitude is great, and dreaming about the future is essential. But you can't stop with just dreaming. Neither one of these will get you where you want to go, unless you roll up your sleeves and map out a step-by-step plan.
You see, goals are dreams and visions with work clothes on. I’m talking about leaving the strategic behind and focusing on the tactical. Setting goals and working toward them is the heavy lifting part of the equation. Without them, you and your business are like a ship without a rudder.
The key is to turn your dreams into individually attainable pieces that will gradually create something special down the road. If you wait on outside variables to motivate your team, or change things in your personal life, you’re going to wait a long time. You and your goals are the key ingredients. It’s your responsibility to lead, and goal setting is an important key to winning in business and in life. Goals are the process of bringing your dreams down to earth. Then, with your feet planted firmly on the ground, you must take actual, proactive steps to make your dreams and visions come true.
Components of goals. When setting goals, it is important to be very specific in what you want to achieve. Vagueness will only cause you and your team to be overwhelmed and disillusioned. As a leader, you do not want to become one of those dreamers who talks a lot and does nothing.
Let’s use losing weight as an example. You can’t simply say that you want to lose weight, because that is not specific. It may technically be measurable, but a solid goal should be both measurable and specific. A better way to set this goal would be to say that you want to lose 30 pounds, or have a waistline that is four inches smaller.
Planning a time frame will help you set realistic goals. If you don’t have a time limit and deadline in place for achieving goals, you’ll find that it’s very difficult to break your overall goal down into micro-goals that measure your progress. Putting a time limit on your goals forces you to accept the reality of what must happen in order to achieve them.
Get it in writing. Almost everyone drops the ball on this one. When I talk to people about this practice, they always say it’s a great idea to actually write down your goals. Still, few actually do this.
It’s almost impossible to accomplish anything that matters without some kind of written blueprint. You wouldn’t start to build a house without a plan, so why on earth would you attempt to build and grow your business without one?
Make sure they are your goals. Pushing through difficult obstacles is the mark of a winner. After all, big goals require lots of courage and a strong backbone. But if your goals aren’t really yours—if you’re pursuing something because someone else wants you to—the chances of failure loom large.
Goals are funny creatures in that you have to absolutely and completely own them in order to have a chance of making them happen. You have to want to achieve success and see things through to the end because you love what you’re doing—not because someone else envisioned the goal for you.
Communicate your goals. Finally, as a leader you should always share your goals with your team. Imagine someone putting you in a dark room and asking you to find certain items inside that room. I suspect you would be pretty frustrated, and perhaps a little bit scared. You probably wouldn’t do such a great job of accomplishing your task, either. Your team deserves to know what’s going on inside your head and what you expect of them. Shared goals create communication and unity. You wouldn’t just hop on a boat without knowing where it was going, so don’t leave your team clueless, either!
Conquering the fear of failure
Running a business can be scary. You put your heart and soul into your company and can’t imagine doing anything else. Then, you realize that no matter how successful you are, you might be just a few bad decisions away from losing your dream and disappointing your team.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. In my Entre Leadership Master Series I teach people to face their fears. I talk about how, years ago, fear paralyzed my decision-making abilities until I came up with a system. In fact, one of the core values of my company today is that decisions are never made based on fear.
So, how can you conquer your fear of failing?
Face up to it.You’re going to mess up at some point, and that’s okay. Own up to it, and realize you’re likely to stumble many times before you achieve success. Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and Thomas Edison all screwed up numerous times before they hit it big. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
What’s the worst that can happen?Always take into account a worst-case scenario when exploring new projects or options for your company. Ask yourself, Will we be able to survive if this new idea falls apart? When the answer is yes, the decision is no longer so frightening. Once you realize you’re not going to die from making a decision—even if it turns out to be the wrong decision—it releases you to make the call.
Talk it out. Remember how it was always better to have a friend by your side when you faced something scary as a kid? The same holds true for adults.
Find a business mentor who has been through tough times. Discuss your biggest fears with them. Once those concerns are out in the open, and you’ve gained insight through another person’s point of view, you just might find that they’re more manageable.
Always have a contingency plan. Having several options is a great fear killer. For example, use several vendors so you aren’t relying on just one. That way, if something goes wrong, you already have a back-up plan. Options give you power, and power lessens fear.
Now, understand this. There will always be some fear associated with your endeavor. Whether it’s being scared of losing customers, revenue, or even being sued, these are all legitimate concerns. But it’s how you handle them that can mean the difference between success and failure.
It’s wise to recognize that some fears may be well founded, and you should not ignore the potential consequences of the decisions you make. But never, ever allow the spirit of fear to drive you!
By: Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.Read More Articles by Dave Ramsey