In Scott Adams’ book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Bigly, he makes the claim that losers have goals and winners have systems. That’s explained by looking at someone who’s trying to lose weight. The person who says, “I have a goal to lose 10 pounds,” is a loser up until the day they eventually lose 10 lbs. The person who says, I’m going to exercise for 45 minutes a day and follow a keto diet with intermittent fasting can be a winner every day.
To me that makes perfect sense. Yet, I’ve identified many businesses and people who use goals in their system. It has helps them stay focused in pursuit to massive success.
Vision: A vivid mental image of the future
I firmly believe you must have a clear vision of how you see yourself. I like to be as specific as possible when creating my vision. I do this with meditation, and I answer the following questions:
Who am I with? Who am I helping? Who am I talking to? Where am I? What am I working on? What do I own? Where do I live? What is my family doing? How am I spending my time?
Using meditation to work on my vision for 15-30 minutes every day has become an essential part of my life. It’s not only helped me to create, but also develop and clarify my vision. I’ve also learned not to expect too much from this process.
Instead, I have three expectations when it comes to understanding my vision.
- My vision will grow as I grow - if I work on it.
- My vision is not who I am today, but rather a person I intend to manifest - I love that person.
- I must be detached from expectations - simultaneously hold desire and an open mind.
"Free from desire you see the mystery.
Full of desire you see the manifestations."
Plans: Vision is nothing without a plan to execute it. – Kevin O’Leary
It’s very difficult to be haphazardly successful. If you’ve ever seen a house get built, then you’ve probably noticed the materials arrive in a very orderly process. They don’t bring in the landscaping before they pour the foundation.
I’m always surprised at how many people try to execute on a vision. It reminds me of the old men playing pickup basketball at the rec center. It’s a total mess. Most of the time the winning team is whoever threw the most elbows. Winning in business does not work that way.
You don’t execute on a vision. You execute on a plan.
For most visions, it’s best to have two types of plans. A phased plan for the vision and detailed plans to accomplish goals. I’ll keep using the house as an example. The phased plan might look something like this:
- Site prep and foundation
- Rough framing, plumbing, electrical and HVAC
- Insulation, Drywall and interior textures
- Interior trim, exterior driveways and walkways
- Flooring, countertops and exterior grading
- Mechanical and bathroom fixtures
- Interior finishes and exterior landscaping
Inside of each of these phases are the detailed plans. Detailed and phased plans are equally important. The detailed plans are where you identify what needs to happen and who will do the work. Keep in mind, the detailed plan does not need to be complicated. In fact, the more specific the action steps the easier it is to accomplish. Detailed plans might look like this:
- Site prep and foundation
- Digline check, John, Jan 2,
- Fencing, Doug’s Fencing, Jan 14 – 15, $1,500
- Site excavating & grading, SLV Excavating, Jan 14 – 18, $4,000
- Set Footings, Smith Concrete, Jan 19
- Initial Concrete and Set, Smith Concrete, Jan 20 – 24
- Foundation Frame, Smith Concrete, Jan 25 - 29
- Pour Foundation, Smith Concrete, Jan 30 – Feb 8
The ability to create a project plan is very rewarding. Whether you’re building a new website, launching a new course, marketing a new service, or making a new business investment is an essential part of success. It gives you the opportunity to think things through and minimize mistakes.
Goals: Consistently accomplishing small goals will produce big results.
A friend of mine once said, people who pride themselves on small accomplishments are much happier than those who pride themselves on big accomplishments. I’ve grown to appreciate that statement and have seen it validated repeatedly.
If you aspire to be an exceptional student, then you should pride yourself on getting great marks on each test and assignment.
If you aspire to reach $1 million sales, then you should pride yourself on exceeding expectations with each customer.
If you aspire to be a great father, then you should pride yourself on providing great individual experiences and lessons to your children.
If you aspire to be a great athlete, then you should pride yourself on great workouts, practice, and performances.
Worthy goals allow you to acknowledge accomplishments. People need frequent wins in their life.
In our example of new home construction, we can say the completed home is the vision. For the builder they might be able to visualize the furnishings, decorations, and landscaping. Now, if they can realize small goals during the construction process then they aren’t a loser every day until the house is built. Rather, they are energized by the foundation getting poured, the framing getting done, the dry wall being installed.
Every completed action is one step closer to success. Recognizing small accomplishments keep things moving in a big way.
Systems: How and when the work gets done.
I agree with Scott Adams. You need to create systems in your life. It’s not good enough to say, I want to be physically fit. I want to more freedom from my business. I want to add revenue streams.
How and when will the work get done? There must be a specific answer to those question.
Remember in high school how they blocked out times to learn science, math, English, and history? Imagine if you started the first day of your freshmen year and the principal simply said, “well we hope everyone get a degree.” Then they put everyone in the library and shut the door.
Unfortunately, that’s what many small business owners do. They want to achieve something, but they don’t allocate resources to work on it. They don’t leverage their employees. They don’t allocate resources to the plan, and they don’t set aside time. As a result, they work hard for their business, but they don’t work on their business.
Here's my tip. Keep a daily calendar and fill it up with intentional activity – including the implementation of your vision.
Every night, fill tomorrow’s calendar to identify when you will eat, exercise, read, learn, work, family, etc. Believe me, this is not stressful. In fact, it’s the opposite of stressful. It’s being organized and identifying when you’re going to do the work that needs to get done.
You must have a specific vision of how you want your life to look.
You must create a plan – even if you start with a phased plan. Don’t expect your vision to become reality right away. Expect yourself to start working in the direction of your vision. In the end, the vision isn't a defined result. It's a collection of circumstances.
You must have the ability to recognize small accomplishment. You and your vision are always a work in progress.
You must create systems that allow you to focus on making that vision a reality.