The famed speaker and author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership John Maxwell once said, “What you are is not as important as what you are in the process of becoming. Where you are is not as important as where you are going.”┬á
Have you ever set a goal for achieving something – – – to have done this and that by a certain date or a certain age? I am sure we all do at some point because goals are the only way we have to measure the progress that we are making in our lives.
In fact goals have gained their fair share of publicity as the only way to success. Often we hear phrases such as big hair raising goals. There are all sorts of books on strategies and techniques for achieving goals. While I assume that your goals are worthwhile I also what to point out that goals by themselves are not enough for achievement.
To achieve a goal you must first become the kind of person that is worthy of the achievement of that goal. A champion track star becomes a champion way before she gets to the track. She build behaviors, attitudes and habits that elevate her to champion status before anyone knows her. By the time you get to see her win the championship it is just a formality because the hard work, the sweat and the tears are what you didn’t see behind the scenes. The daily 5 am training in the when most people are still are asleep is what makes a champion.
Therefore my question to you is what are you becoming, what behaviors are you building that will take you some place where you would love to be very much. Do you realize that before you can get there you have to become a person who is worthy of getting there? Before you achieve something different you have to become something different. Before you can achieve more you have to become more, because your past behaviors have brought you to where you are now and if you are going to be somewhere different in the future it has to start with you behaving differently now. You are at this point in time the residual effect of the sum total of your thought s and actions, therefore to go to places you have never been you have to think thoughts that you have never thought.
Muhammad Ali said that, “champions are not made in the ring they are merely recognized there.” I have often heard it said that fighters fight the way they train, if your training is weak and lazy but somehow you are hoping to step it up when it fight night, chances are that on fight night you will be clobbered by those that train like champions because they work harder than you daily. By the time you get to the ring you are down to the instincts you developed in training. So how much preparation are you doing behind the scenes? In your own private life, how are you preparing yourself for success? What are you saying to yourself in the privacy of your mind? Do you cheat when no one is watching? Do you skip tough steps, do you let yourself off the hook mentally with the excuse that after all no one is there to see?
Every day is a dry run for the real thing. It is what you do on a daily and habitual basis that will determine what you attract in your life. Success or failure comes down to your instincts. That is why it is important to develop habits that will take you closer to where you want to go. While training astronauts for early Apollo missions NASA scientists made an interesting discovery that it takes 21 days to build a new habit. Not 19 days not 20 days but 21 days, they also realized that you can follow a set pattern of behavior for 21 days straight on the 22nd it becomes like second nature to you. They also discovered you cannot break a habit but that you can only replace it with another habit. So what is it that you want to become? What baby step can you take today and tomorrow so that in 21 days you could be much closer to where you want to be?
Think about where you are and where you would love to be. Think of the skills, attitudes and competencies you need and the baby steps you must take. Now take these baby steps without thinking twice. The thing with most people is that they over analyze things, they preempt their moves. That’s is why they spend so much time thinking about what they are going to do and what will happen when they take action instead of actually taking action. The point I am writing this stuff is not so that you can say that this is great inspirational stuff and look forward to this column every week. The whole point why I am writing what I am writing now is so that you can be empowered to take action and move your life forward one step at a time.
There are lot of people that know great things and can you imagine how great life would be if we all did what we knew we should be doing. I know you know the things that you need to do to improve the quality of your life. You have thought out plans and detailed strategies but the thinking about these things is not going to move you forward, only consistent focused action will.
I want you to realize that the only person that will ever block you from making progress is you. It’s not your boss, your wife or your husband or your family or even friends. At the end of the day it boils down to you and you alone. At the end of the day the only legitimate question you should ask yourself is whether you have done that was all within your power to do that day. If not then prepare your assault for the next day, prepare your ambush of the day ahead well in advance so that when the day comes you have a couple of aces up your sleeve.
Besides on the final day of judgment (if there is such a day) you will be standing alone in front of your God. So do your work and do your work today, and today do only today’s work and tomorrow you will do tomorrow’s work. The great author JB Mathews wrote that, “a great opportunity is worth to man or woman exactly what his preparation enables him to make of it. If you are not prepared for your great opportunity, that opportunity will only make you ridiculous.”
You will also be judged on the basis of things that you did and not the things that you planned to do. So get up and go do some stuff that you deem necessary, don’t worry about failure or what others may think let it be their business. Your business is to get done the task at hand, period.
If it fails or doesn’t work for one reason or another let it be, learn what you can from it and move on to your next best thing. Action and the people who take action are what is needed in this world not the people who plan and plan on doing something without taking action. Have you ever caught yourself revising plans of something that you planned to do some time back? You planned to do something and the thing that you planned to do is still at the planning stages five years on?
There is no plan that survives reality intact, that is why in a moment of crisis you are down to your instincts. Some people say that life is what happens when things don’t go according to plan. I find such definition close to what happens in my life and I bet you it happens in your life too.
Today is an opportunity to redeem yourself and to prepare for tomorrow otherwise when tomorrow comes you will only look ridiculous when you try to prepare for the day as well as do that day’s work. Today is your opportunity to do today’s work which will lay┬á the foundation for tomorrow work so that tomorrow you will have God speed.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Over the past 10 years Lets Sithole has steadily built a solid reputation as the go to expert on areas of personal transformation, goal setting and life turn around. He is the founder and MD of Agenda 31(Pty) Ltd and you free to join his network in facebook.