The First Rule Of Goal Setting

You need a BIG – Bold, Important, Gratifying – goal and you need a plan. The plan gets you started, but the plan you start with is likely not the plan that will get you to your goal. Be adamant about your goal, but be flexible in the plan to get you there.

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A Plethora Of Plans

I had a difficult experience trying to find a job when I first moved to South Carolina. My wife and I, newly married, moved here when she was offered a position as a high school media specialist. I was finishing my degree in data processing. Computer programmers were in high demand, and we assumed I would have no trouble landing a job. However, this was not the case.

I began by having 100 resumes printed with our new address and phone number. I mailed them out, unsolicited, to 100 companies I identified in our area. Then, I waited for two weeks with not a single call. Then we learned from our local phone company that the phone number they said was our new number was not the correct one. I had mailed out 100 resumes with a non-working phone number!

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Power Under Control

You don’t need tons of self-discipline to live the Excelerated Life. You need just enough discipline to train yourself to behave in a certain way. Untrained power is useless. Excelerated Self-Discipline helps you get your strength under control and channeled toward the life you want.

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Blessed Are The Disciplined

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” ~ Matthew 5:5 (NIV)

I came across an interesting idea recently. It concerns the word meek, specifically as used in this Bible verse from the Beatitudes.

In English, the word u-meek comes from the old Norse mjúkr which, according to Google,
means “soft” or “gentle”. We sometimes think of this meekness as mild-mannered, reserved and unassuming, even to the point of weakness.

But here’s the interesting tidbit I found. The Greek word used in biblical texts is praus. Praus refers to strength controlled through discipline. It is “power without undue harshness.” [1]

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Between Stimulus And Response

The ABCs of effective living? A = Adversity, B = Belief, and C = Consequent feelings. Our Beliefs (B) about an Adversity (A) – NOT the adversity itself – cause our Consequent (C) feelings. [Seligman] It isn’t what happens to us but how we think about what happens to us that determines how we feel. By stepping into the space between stimulus and response, we can choose a more empowering set of beliefs. But first, we have to see that space.

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Understanding The Gap

“Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.” ~ Dr. Stephen Covey, “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”

When I first read this statement many years ago, I struggled to understand what it meant. I understood the words, but I didn’t get the concept. It was completely foreign to me. I had become so inured to reacting to whatever I encountered, it never occurred to me that there was any other way to behave. I pondered this idea, discussed it with various friends, and read and re-read that section in Dr. Covey’s book.

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Aligning Actions With Desires

When you embrace the Excelerated Life™, focus comes before goal setting. Without focus, your goals may not reflect your true desires. With focus, you have clarity on what you want and, importantly, why you want it.

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Lost Focus

I have a BIG — Bold, Important, Gratifying — goal. I want to have a blog that rates in the top 10% of blogs in the category of self-development. That is a huge goal and one that will take many, many, many steps. It’s my 5 – 10 year goal.

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Take Action On Your Goals

Two related principles of the Excelerated Life™ deal with setting and achieving BIG (Bold, Important, Gratifying) goals. The two principles are Goals and Goal Setting and Action. Goal setting is an important step but by itself is not enough. Once you have your BIG goal in mind, you must start to take the actions that enable you to achieve it.

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The Missing Ingredient

I have told the story before about my client, “Mary”, who came back for more coaching after she had set some good, workable goals but had failed to make progress on any of them. I told Mary at the time that a goal “was a necessary step toward creating her best life, but it is only a step . . . a beginning step at that. She needed to develop strategies – a detailed plan – to help her progress toward achieving her goals.”

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A Light In The Woods

“There is a candle in every soul / Some brightly burning, some dark and cold . . . Carry your candle, run to the darkness / Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn / Hold out your candle for all to see it / Take your candle, and go light your world.”

Chris Rice, “Go Light Your World”

In The Dark

I grew up in the country. Beyond our backyard was a pasture, then the woods. My brother, my cousins, and our friends liked to play in those woods. One evening after supper, we ran into the woods to play a game. We were having so much fun we lost track of time and didn’t realize that it was getting late. Before we knew it, night had fallen and we were in the dark. I began running, but of course I couldn’t see and ran smack into a tree! (I suppose you could say I couldn’t see the tree for the forest.) Fortunately for the rest of us, one of the guys had a flashlight. He turned it on and then we could see him. We all gathered around and he led us out of the woods, shining his flashlight . . . no more running into trees.

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To Improve Productivity Improve Efficiency And Effectiveness

Efficiency is “doing things right”. Effectiveness is “doing the right things”. Productivity entails both – doing the right thing in the right way. Excelerated Productivity comes when you improve both efficiency and effectiveness.

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The Lioness And The Vixen

“A Lioness and a Vixen were talking together about their young, as mothers will, and saying how healthy and well-grown they were, and what beautiful coats they had, and how they were the image of their parents.

‘My litter of cubs is a joy to see,’ said the Fox; and then she added, rather maliciously, ‘But I notice you never have more than one.’

‘No,’ said the Lioness grimly, ‘but that one’s a lion.'” (1)

Becoming Effective And Efficient

This Aesop fable comes with the moral “quality over quantity”. (I leave it to you to decide if one lion has more “quality” than a litter of foxes.) But we can also read it in terms of efficiency – the lioness had only one baby – and effectiveness – that baby was a lion!

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The Difference Between Trying And Doing

“Trying” to do is different than doing and different than not doing. Trying lets us off the hook – we don’t have to succeed and we don’t have to fail. We don’t have to really do anything. That is languishing, NOT flourishing.

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Trying Or Doing?

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Once upon a time, as I attended a workshop, the presenter asked me to come up to the front of the room. She laid a pencil down on the table and said to me, “Try to pick that pencil up.”

I picked up the pencil. “No,” she said, “I said ‘Try to pick it up.’ Instead, you picked it up. Now, again – try to pick the pencil up.”

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The Power Of Goal Setting

Success has been defined as “the progressive realization of a worthy goal”. Setting meaningful goals gives you focus and a target to aim for. Writing them down insures that you won’t lose sight of your destination.

Unable to See Her Goal

“When she looked ahead, Florence Chadwick saw nothing but a solid wall of fog. Her body was numb. She had been swimming for nearly sixteen hours.
Already she was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. She had managed to finish that swim in a record time, 16 hours and 22 minutes on August 8, 1950. Now, at age 34, her goal was to become the first woman to swim from Catalina Island to Palos Verde on the California coast.

“On that Fourth of July morning in 1952, the sea was like an ice bath and the fog was so dense she could hardly see her support boats. Sharks cruised toward her lone figure, only to be driven away by rifle shots. Against the frigid grip of the sea, she struggled on – hour after hour – while millions watched on national television.

“Alongside Florence in one of the boats, her mother and her trainer offered encouragement. They told her it wasn’t much farther. But all she could see was fog. They urged her not to quit. She never had . . . until then. With only a half mile to go, she asked to be pulled out.

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