How to Achieve and Succeed – 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
by Kevin D. Crone
Several years ago, I created and presented a workshop that covered a combination of thoughts and practices. The short course contained ideas and actions I’d discovered and collected over years of studying the all-important subject of “how to succeed and achieve”. Of course, I first applied the actions, testing them myself. And then a CEO client of mine asked me for my information, first for himself, and then for his team. Charlie said the material was very useful because everyone knows they should have a success philosophy and goals, but very few know how to condense what they read into simple action.
I conducted the first version of the workshop at a meeting in Chicago for a couple of hundred Dale Carnegie people. By all accounts, it helped those who attended gain enough clarity to establish their philosophy, and it also helped give shape to their lives. The workshop followed a “Be – Have – Do” process. Here is the gist of it so you can see if it is a meaningful review for you. I made sure to have everyone in the workshop write the answers to the following five questions, because you really have to experience it and immerse yourself in it to receive the full benefit.
“Does success matter?” After much discussion, the consensus was yes, of course it does. You can never reach perfection, but planning, setting goals, and learning what you need to learn enables you to plant the seed, nourish the soil while you are growing, harvesting and taking advantage of the opportunities to enjoy the fruits of your journey. Are we just talking about money? Of course not but, money is one of the focal points because of what it allows you to do in your life.
“What are those areas of your life?” It begins with writing down the question, “Who am I?” – and then answering it. In other words, what is really important to me?
[This is the BE component in “Be – Have – Do”.]
When I was thirty, I used to answer, “I am a loving father and husband, a proud member of my Irish Catholic family, and a Dale Carnegie instructor,” because it was the best way I knew to express my interest in building and helping others, “a businessman, a friend to my buddies, a passionate outdoors person, a financially secure and thrifty investor, a builder of an organization, and an active and healthy person.”
I didn’t tell you this so you could judge my focus but rather, to prime the pump for you to review yours. Dale Carnegie once said, “I can’t hear what you are saying because of who you are”. In other words, make who you are so obvious that everyone can see and appreciate it – especially you, yourself. When you answer this question, you begin to discover where you need to get better.
The following are some areas that provide a general checklist to help in goal-setting:
Spiritual…. provides purpose
Family…. love and support
Community…. gives a sense of belonging
Recreation….. fun and adventure in the moment
Financial….. provides means
Social…… caring and sharing
Business…… opportunities and wealth creation
Professional….. advancement and intellectual interests
Health…… longevity and energy
Hobbies….. lose ourselves in fun
Travel….. see and experience the world
Education and study…… to think, know, and prepare.
Of course there are other distinctions you could make, adding other areas of life that are important to you, but this is a good beginning.
How are you with each area – honestly? For example, how are your health, family relationships, financial situation, and all the rest?
Is this what you want? How do you prioritize your aspirations? This is about putting some meat to the contexts. For every area that’s significant to you at the moment, write down your specific desired outcome, that goal you want to meet or achieve by (write down a date).
[This is the Have component in “Be – Have – Do”.]
For example :
Health: trim ____ lbs; a cholesterol level of ___; blood pressure of ___.
Financial: $_____ in bank for emergencies; $_____ in RRSPs; X in TFSAs; mortgage-free by___.
Some areas are easier to measure, but you must be specific if you are to be a self-directed success.
DO: What actions do you need to take in each area? (Again, in priority order.)
[This is the Do component in “Be – Have – Do”.]
Take a course in __________ by__________.
Walk ____times a week for 45 minutes.
Don’t eat after five o’clock.
Save/invest 10% of all income. (Pay yourself first.)
Travel with family once a year.
Of course, you’ll say that setting goals doesn’t necessarily work. You are right. You do the work. It takes motivation and discipline (and that doesn’t come naturally). That is the critical part. Successful people do what others don’t do or can’t get motivated to do. Just accomplishing this review is a big step. It takes an hour or two on your own, and it is motivating. Sometimes sharing goals with others, spending time with goal-oriented people, taking success courses, reading and studying, constantly reviewing how you are doing and then resetting priorities, goals and actions annually (such as at Christmas or New Year’s) are all keys to helping you stay focused. It’s important to be gratefully aware of what you are and what you have to keep you grounded.
Every year, my son Kevin, conducts a complimentary life goal setting workshop in January. Hundreds attend this fun and it’s a great beginning to a new year. I suggest you attend as well. But don’t just wait for that event. Get thinking, planning, and acting right now. It is not about what is happening; it is about who you are becoming. It is about being better. Success requires following a philosophy or a group of principles. These principles don’t change. You do. You follow those principles every day, and make them a habit, like shaving or putting on your makeup.
Shouldn’t you improve in all the important aspects of your life.
Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
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