Few of us take the time to stop and take stock of our lives but if you take a moment to reflect, you will find that you, in fact, accomplished quite a lot this past year. But did you achieve your full potential? Like many people, you probably have not. It’s likely that your full potential is much greater than even you recognize. I’m reminded of the story of the dog whose owner always kept him in the backyard on a 25-foot chain. The owner fed and cared for him and sometimes even petted him. But the dog was always chained. After a time, the owner unbuckled the chain but the dog never ventured beyond the 25-foot perimeter- now shackled by an artificial chain and collar. What’s holding you back from achieving your full potential? Have you created your own artificial chain and collar? For each of us, our destiny is to have an extraordinary life. Yet, it is up to us to claim it. For 2018, commit to break the chains that are keeping you from achieving your dreams.
What does it take to determine and then fulfill your full potential? One simple strategy is to follow a four-step process:
- Dream big dreams…then write them down. Start with a blank paper and write down everything you would do, own, buy, and accomplish if there were absolutely no barriers to your success. List everything you can imagine. This is where you want to think big and have some fun. See if you can come up with at least 100 items.
- Develop written goals. From your dream list, identify the top two or three things you would like to focus on as your top priorities. Write these down on a separate piece of paper and make sure you are very specific and include target time lines. The greater the detail, the better. Keep these where you’ll see them daily.
- Act on your intentions. Intention is evidenced by taking action towards predetermined goals. For each goal, list all the steps or details that must be taken in order to achieve your goals. In some cases, you may not know all the steps that are needed, but you will know the first few. Start there. As you list each step, again be sure to be very specific with time frames and set up a system for acknowledging and rewarding yourself for ‘mini-successes’. Now, take the first step!
- Get committed. Commitment is evidenced by daily focus. I believe that whatever you constantly focus on will likely come to pass. Yes, you have helped things along, but it is the constant focus that is the engine for achieving greatness.
Will this work?
From my personal experience the answer is yes. In the early eighties, I went through this exercise and, believe me, I ‘dreamed’ some outrageous ideas. They included being a writer, having a book published by a big New York publishing firm, being a financial expert on both national and local TV, getting a blackbelt in karate, learning to fly, becoming a self-made millionaire, having a lake home, being debt free, and the list went on and on. Virtually 90% of everything on my list I’ve accomplished, often under a different time table than outlined, but accomplished never the less. I’ve also noticed that many successful people followed a similar pattern and it’s the process and continual focus that drives their success as well. You too can have the life of your dreams if you’ll accept the responsibility for making your dreams a reality. How about start today?
Have a dreams-fulfilled New Year!