Leadership & Motivation Archives

Setting Your Goals Part 2

If you haven’t read part one, stop now and go back to read.
We all know that goals help us make the best out of life because in goal-setting, we can map out the detailed work that we need to put into each year of our lives in order to accomplish our lifetime goals.

Apart from a detailed action plan, goal setting also allows us to evaluate and manage the resources we have in order to acquire the resources we need to reach our targets. Here are a few items that need to be considered when setting goals.

Attitude. Attitude is probably the best indicator of whether a person will succeed or not. If you have had a history of sabotaging your chances at success then it is time to evaluate the beliefs you hold about yourself and of success. If you think you have problems in these areas, then consulting with a therapist would help you clear your blocks to success and get you started on achieving your goals without constantly putting the brakes on.

Time Management. Time is the only resource we can’t ever have more of, because of this it is imperative that to be successful, we need to make wise use of our time. Plan beforehand your priorities and decide which of your priorities would be at the top of your list and which could take a back seat at certain periods of your life. In other words, ask yourself how far you are willing to go to get what you want and to what extent will your sacrifices be (e.g. time away from friends or family).

Limitations. Lack of knowledge or skill required of your goal may be a limitation. If a certain goal requires you to acquire a degree or special lessons, properly plan or manage the time and resources you have to fulfill the requirement. Additionally, physical capabilities may come in the way of sport-related goals. Assess your capabilities earlier and find ways to get around such setbacks.

Financial Concerns. Some education you need for a goal might require you to shell out money. You may find yourself juggling work and school. Being able to manage your finances well to accommodate your needs will greatly impact the success you’ll achieve or the speed at which you will reach your goals. Come up with a realistic approach on earning the money you need and want and create stages to measure your progress.

Family Planning. Some people have always included having a family as a part of their lifetime goals. For those who fit the bill, it is important that they create a time frame on when they will start creating their own family or when they plan on being a parent. You should consider your emotional capacity to become a parent too.

Chill Time. To prevent burn-out, always remember to include recreation and chill time in your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly plans. The key is to strike a balance between work and relaxation. As they say, “All work and no play makes one a dull boy. All play and no work makes one a mere toy.”

Setting Your Goals

Over the years, you will hear many troops whining and complaining about where they stand in their career. If you’re one of these people, stop for a second and evaluate one thing… your goals.

The first rule of thumb when setting goals is that you must know what you out of life. From that, you can begin building long-term and short-term goals that will help you get what you want.

For starters, you can envision the next 20 years of your life and what you want to be and have in those years. Create milestones for two year interval leading up to the 20-year game plan you made. This provides a gauge to measure your progress against and makes sure that you do not lose sight of your goals.

For the first five years, create yearly plans and milestones. For each year, break down your goals from bi-annual targets to monthly to weekly to daily targets. For each day you can create a to-do list that will allow you to not only measure your success but relish your accomplishment on a daily basis, which in turn builds your confidence and increases your level of competence.

Plans are not supposed to be set in stone because as we change so too some of our plans. So always give some time to review your accomplishment and milestones and be more flexible about changing some of your targets or courses of action.

Always remember that as you set goals, you have to provide an overview of the resources, time and knowledge you need to accomplish your goals and include the acquisition of those requirements into your action plans.

Problem Solving

Every problem has a solution and all you need to do is equip yourself with a fine-tuned ability to think creatively. Creative problem solving requires a little more imagination than your standard rational problem solving methods. It requires you to see a problem in a completely different light.

Here’s a good exercise that you can practice with your troops:

Pose a possible problem.

Everyone take a piece of paper and write the first word that comes to their mind. Write that word at the center of the paper. Focus on that word for about two to three seconds and then write down the two words that first pop out the top of your head after focusing on the first word. Continue the exercise until you are able to build a tree of connected words.

After warming up, you can then focus on solving the problem you have at hand. Here are some pointers to get you in the frame of mind to solve problems creatively.

Forget about assumptions you’ve made. Remove all preconceived notions you have or the assumptions you’ve made about the problem in order to open up your mind to new ideas. You do not have to throw away everything you know (in fact its best you keep a list of the things you know), but for a few minutes you can allow yourself to think outside the box.

When you have freed up your mind you can allow yourself to get to know your problem once again, ideally in a different light, and pay close attention to the minutest details involved—the who’s, what’s, why’s and when’s. You can break down the problem into different parts and dissect each part. This way, you will be more capable of seeing loopholes in the most unlikely areas of the problem. You can address these loopholes and perhaps the problem in the long run.

Take notes. Make notes of the assumptions you have made about the problem and review them accordingly. As you progress in your creative problem solving, you might find inconsistent assumptions. Scratch invalid ones to make decision making and finding a solution easier and more precise.

Listen to other people’s ideas. Two heads are better than one. Be receptive of other people’s ideas because the answer could be just a few improvements from other people’s ideas.

Lastly, be patient and persevering. Always remember that enlightenment does not always come as swiftly as we want it too and that Thomas Edison failed at least 100 times before he came up with the most important inventions of our time like the light bulb.

With these pointers, you should be ready to take on any problems. Get creative now!

If you have ever been in a tight spot that seemed very hard to get by, let alone solve, then being creative about your approaches to the problem will prove to be a lifesaver.

Every problem has a solution, always keep this in mind. Surrendering to the idea that every problem comes with a solution is, oddly enough, the first step to gaining the answer you need. Easier said than done but with diligent practice, you should be able to solve just about anything. So how exactly can you gain a creative perspective on problems?

There are two things you need to get your creativity rolling: optimism and open-mindedness. Being able to accept, without having the need to prove, that a solution is indeed imminent is the first thing you need to learn about creative problem solving. Secondly, you need to be open to all ideas that come your way and be receptive to the possibility that there could be more than one solution to the problem. The solution you’re looking for might come in packages you least expect.

To further your cause, here’s an exercise to squeeze out those creative juices:
In a piece of paper, write down the first word that comes to your mind. Take a few seconds to look at the word and, again, write down the first two words that strike you. Repeat the exercise until you can build a large enough tree of related words to fill the entire paper. This exercise will provide you with the practice you need to encourage spontaneous thinking and will result to a creativity that is enhanced and, well, spontaneous.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to come up with creative answers to a problem.

1. Review the what’s, the who’s and the why’s involved in the problem. Keep in mind that knowing the problem is crucial to solving it. If you know how a thing works and how it is structured, you will have a better chance of fixing it. Examine any benefits that can arise from the problem and take note of the setbacks it has caused and will cause. Sum up the information you have gathered and make a brief and concise statement of what the problem is all about.

2. Preconceived notions about things often cloud our judgment. Try to fairly assess the validity of your assumptions about a problem; this should broaden your perspective and find possible solutions that you have never thought of before.

3. Break down the problem from the top-down. Try to find solutions for each layer of problem you can uncover, starting from your general overview of the problem (refer to Step 1) to the more intricate layers. In other words, increase the complexity of your solutions as you go along each layer.

4. Two heads are better than one. Gather ideas and suggestions from others and you will discover that you will end up having more resources (perceptions, awareness, impressions, etc) to work with that will help you create ingenious, novel answers to your problem.

5. Being logical has its benefits, but sometimes it can get in the way of ingenuity. Creative thinking requires you to stretch your imagination, beyond the boundaries of established methods and systems. Apply creative thinking by looking for loopholes and developing and improving whatever solutions you have on hand. Tinker with other people’s opinions and suggestions as well.

6. Always remember that a problem may require more than one way out. It would help to keep a notebook that details either ideas that came to you out of the blue or the latest developments you have made on existing solutions.

7. Lastly, you have to make room for failures. Patience and perseverance must come into play on your road to creatively solving your problem. No one ever succeeded with just one try. Thomas Edison had to fail a thousand times in order to come up with some of the best inventions of our time.

Make It Happen, Be a Leader

Being a leader takes more than just being born with a natural talent to lead. You need to have the drive to learn more than what you know and the determination to always be better than you are today.

Most people just let things happen. Even if things could be better, they stick to the system. Leaders do not idly stand by, they do something. Anyone who has the desire to create change can be a leader. But you need to have more than the desire, you need to possess and strive to achieve the qualities of a real leader in order to successfully initiate the change you want. Change must start from you.

We must first define what leadership is before we can get to the essence of being a true leader. Leadership is all about respect and never about fear. It is about bringing together different-minded and diversely-skilled individuals and driving them towards a common goal. The question is, how does one achieve this?

To be a leader, you need to have a clear sense of purpose. You must know where you are now and where you want to go. You must not only know the vision, mission, goals and objectives of the organization, but must also know how you want things done, how to get things done, who to approach, how the system works and how to work your way around the company.

Real leaders lead by example. If you create an impression of having command of your environment, your subordinates will follow suit. You should exemplify the qualities you require from your team.

To get things done, you need to provide instructions and communicate goals. It is easier to communicate goals when your team trusts you and your abilities. Gain the trust and confidence of your colleagues by always acting respectfully. Relationships that are built on respect will grow into strong, reliable partnerships that will eventually give you a team of individuals that trusts you and your abilities. Once you have earned the trust of your colleagues, you will find it easier to communicate goals and impart strategies and actions to take. Leaders get trust and entrust directives towards their subordinates. They are not afraid to delegate and, more importantly, they know when to delegate and whom to entrust certain responsibilities to.

To be a good leader, your judgment calls also have to be shrewd as well. Your decisions should not only be perceptive and marginally precise but should also be swift and timely. Your company and your subordinates or team will come to rely on your judgment, depending on the soundness of the decisions you have made.

Good leaders do not emerge overnight; they undergo years of practice and even a few mistakes along the way. When taking on the responsibilities of a leader, always remember that leading is not just about one person; it is about making wise use of a pool of resources, including your team who each have unique talents to contribute to the greater whole.

The thoughts that constantly cross our mind, our voiceless commentaries on our actions, on events, on other people, among others, often reveal our mental landscape—whether we have a positive outlook in life or a negative one. Have you ever tried listening to these silent commentaries? Take the time to do so. You will find that the quality of our thoughts often go beyond the corners of our head and out into our actual, physical interactions with others and with life in general.

Positive people or people who carry a positive attitude are always brimming with life and thus attract people towards them. Negative people or people whose thoughts are generally negative have a tendency to suck the life and energy out of events or people. This is why negative people often repel others.

Developing a positive attitude has a lot of benefits. Positive people are healthier, have better stress coping mechanisms and are better at drawing people to themselves compared to negative people. Positive people have a filling effect on the people they interact with. Studies show that a positive attitude delays aging too!

In contrast, people that are inclined towards negative thinking or who have a generally negative outlook in life do not only cause gloom and low spirits within themselves but also unknowingly compels others to feel the same way.

So why do some people continue to adopt a negative attitude even with the unpleasant outcomes it carry? A negative disposition is often a call for help. Getting angry and sad are not necessarily bad but prolonging the feelings is no longer healthy or beneficial. A person needs to be able to let go after giving themselves a time to mourn.

Adopting a positive attitude is therefore the more logical, healthier disposition or outlook to assume. So how do we go about doing this?

Focusing on the good things in life produces a positive attitude and focusing on the sad and terrible things in life produces a negative attitude. Attitude is all about outlook and to adopt a positive one you need to bombard your thoughts with positive, happy things. Sadly media more often presents us with negativity. Parents even have only one positive thing to say, out of every 14 things they communicate, to their children.

Take steps to steer away from fostering negativity in your mind by taking the time to appreciate the little things in life. You could also watch a funny movie, play with kids (if that’s your thing), tell jokes or better yet do something you enjoy. These are activities that create a happy, positive feeling in your system. The more you practice these, the closer you are to developing or maintaining a positive attitude.