Would you go bowling if there were no pins?
It’s your time to shine. You step up to the front of the bowling lane. You concentrate; you square up the shot; then, swish – you release the ball. It rolls sturdily down the lane. But instead of a satisfying crash into a multitude of pins, the ball glides through the empty opening at the back and falls down into the retrieval mechanism.
Bowling without pins wouldn’t only be boring – it would be fruitless. There would be no point. The pins give us something to aim for, something to achieve – they let us know whether or not we’re winning the game, or even playing at all.
Hope is Not a Strategy
Bowling without pins is like having a dream with no strategy. How do you know if you’re making progress or falling behind? What metric are you using to define success?
As in love as we might be with our goals, hope is not an effective strategy to achieve them. If we want to secure our dream, we must direct ourselves with intention. Here are 5 strategic steps you can take to guarantee you achieve your goal.
1. STATE YOUR POSITION.
As the holiday season begins, you may find yourself at your local mall in search of gifts for friends and family. On your way in, you’ll notice a map kiosk that gives you a bird’s eye view of the entire mall – and right next to it, a detailed legend showing you every store inside. You have everything you need to make a thorough plan for your shopping trip.
But without the little “You are here” indicator, you won’t know where to start!
Achieving your dream is a journey, and like every major journey, it requires a plan. But no matter how intentionally we might map out our steps, we can’t make any meaningful progress without knowing where we are. Stepping toward your dream starts with taking stock of where you are now.
2. EXAMINE YOUR ACTIONS.
In personal growth and development communities, there’s a lot of talk about mindset – and it’s true that thought is a precursor to action. Our thoughts always directly impact our actions. Our actions won’t align with our goals if our thoughts don’t. But the deepest, most powerful discussions about planning and strategy will never accomplish more than even the simplest actions.
The secret to your success is determined by your routine. Based on our daily actions, we either move closer to our dream or farther from it. What daily habits are hindering your progress? What small steps toward your dream can you start taking each day?
3. CONSIDER ALL YOUR OPTIONS AND UTILIZE ALL YOUR RESOURCES.
In his autobiography, Theodore Roosevelt shares some powerful advice:
There is a bit of homely philosophy, quoted by Squire Bill Widener… which sums up one’s duty in life: “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”
Many delay their pursuit of something great because they’re not sure what the best first step is – or they don’t feel prepared – or they don’t have the whole plan figured out at the start.
But those dedicated to their dream are unwilling to sacrifice progress for the illusion of perfection. Their dream is non-negotiable; they see everything through the lens of achieving it. The opportunities stand out against the obstacles, so they take action despite not having all the answers. What steps can you take to make your dream a reality? What finances, connections, time, and talents can you leverage toward your dream?
4. REMOVE NONESSENTIALS.
And in that same vein, what is taking up resources that could be redirected toward your dream?
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Yet, every day, someone, somewhere in the world, starts their business, runs their marathon, hits their goal weight – someone, somewhere, achieves their dream, while some of us still find ourselves a long way off from our goal.
Let’s assume we all spend 8 hours working and 8 hours sleeping each day. That leaves us 8 hours. And, yes, we don’t get all 8 hours to use how we like. It’s chipped away at by commuting, running errands, preparing food – and of course, we give some away to our loved ones. But in that 8 hours, is there any time to spare?
As of 2019, the average Netflix user watched 2 hours of content on the streaming platform each day. Post-COVID, that increased to 3.2 hours a day. That means, statistically, if you’ve got a Netflix account, you’ve got one hour a day to devote to your goal.
We don’t have to remove all nonessentials. We need things in our lives that refill us. But there’s a margin between “no free time” and “too much free time” where we can fit in our goal.
5. EMBRACE CHALLENGES.
John Maxwell says, “Everything worthwhile is uphill.”
The dream is free, but the journey isn’t. Good things are only earned through growth, and growth is difficult. It calls outside of our comfort zone into the unknown, uncertain, and unconfronted – but into the extraordinary.
Anticipate challenges and embrace them – overcoming them is what earns you your dream. Try taking a new perspective toward them. How can you break down big hurdles into smaller, more manageable tasks? The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Do you have a goal you’re growing toward?
At Maxwell Leadership, our heart is personal growth and development. It is so much part of our DNA that at our twice-annual event, the International Maxwell Conference, we have an entire day dedicated to personal growth – and we’d like to invite you to join.
On March 13, 2023, join Dr. John C. Maxwell and his panel of personal growth experts at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Florida (or remotely!) for an entire day of growth and development training. Not only will you connect with other professionals passionate about achieving their full potential, but you’ll also go home equipped with an intentional action plan to begin putting in place same-day.
You can register for Personal Growth Day here – we would love to grow with you!