Take Action on Your Future!
By Douglas Vermeeren
honest … by now you’ve long forgotten the New Year’s resolutions you
promised to uphold this year. You know from experience that those
resolutions won’t stick, so stop wasting your time on them! If you
really want to succeed, you need a clear-cut plan and the commitment
to follow it. Only then can you finally achieve the success you’ve
question is, “How do I plan something as complex as my future?”
That’s a valid question. Unfortunately, many people believe planning
for success is a complicated process filled with detailed charts and
timelines, or they think planning is nothing more than stating a few
goals. In fact, effective planning falls in the middle of this
spectrum. Yes, you do need goals, but you need to take those goals
to the next level. And yes, you do need details, but the details you
need rest more on what you create in your mind, not what you can
calculate on paper.
the right balance and create a winning plan for your future,
consider the following guidelines.
the difference between “should” and “must.” When most people
state a goal or try to plan, they do so in terms of “should.” “I
should go to the gym more this year.” “I should schedule more
prospect appointments for the week.” “I should do better follow up
with clients.” Realize, though, that “shoulds” rarely get done.
Instead, think in terms of what you “must” do. The word “must”
carries with it a sense of urgency. As such, “musts” usually get
done. Remember than an effective plan always begins with a decision
(a must), not just a nice idea (a should). We all have lots of nice
ideas, but when you turn that nice idea into a clear cut decision,
you automatically have a sense of commitment and have thereby turned
the idea into a must.
your plan from fact to feeling: Most people are great at stating
facts, such as, “I’m going to sell 50 insurance policies this
month.” Such goals are nice to say, but in order to make them a
reality, you need to attach the fact to a feeling. Why? Because it’s
the feeling that motivates us, not the fact. Realize that no one
ever dreams of having a filing cabinet filled with signed policies.
Instead, they have a feeling or desire for what that full filing
cabinet represents: more time off with the family, a new car, an
exotic vacation, etc. Therefore, part of your plan needs to include
the facts, but don’t forget to tie those facts to some motivating
Create a vision using all your senses: Visualization is a key
component to any successful plan. And you’ve likely heard of
creating a vision board, when you cut out pictures of the things you
want in your life and post them on a board in your home or office.
The problem with the typical vision board is that it only uses one
of your senses—the sense of sight. If you really want your vision to
guide you, you need to incorporate all five senses. Therefore, go
beyond the typical vision board. Pick out a victory song that
represents your vision and listen to the song every day (auditory
component). As you achieve small milestones, celebrate at a
restaurant (taste component). Pick a smell that symbolizes success
for you (perhaps a certain brand of cologne, or maybe even the smell
of roses) and surround yourself with the fragrance. Similarly, if
you want a new car, go test drive the car. Smell the new car smell,
feel the leather, listen to the engine hum. The point is not only to
use a vision board, but also to expand it so it’s not just a matter
through your entire journey to see all the possibilities: Your
plan doesn’t just involve the end result; it involves the journey as
well. Therefore, mentally go through the journey of what it will
take to get to the end vision. By doing so, your mind will
automatically start solving problems. It’s a lot like telling
someone to notice what he feels in his left foot. Chances are that
until that moment, the person wasn’t thinking about his left foot at
all. But the minute you draw his foot to his attention, he starts
recognizing sensations. The same happens when you plan. When you
know the journey and how things are supposed to go, those things
start to appear in your life. Some people call it The Law of
Attraction. In fact, those things you suddenly see were always
there. But now that you know where you’re going, you can see where
everything fits. So once you know where you’re going, possibilities
begin to appear. The key is to then translate those possibilities
into action, as that is when you produce the real fruit of your
labor and move closer to the end goal. Remember, without action, all
you have are ideas.
everything down: As you plan, keep a planning journal where you
can write your ideas down. Putting your plans on paper does two
things: 1) It ingrains the vision into your mind, and 2) It helps
you determine which ideas are good and which are not. Sometimes you
might discover that what you wrote makes no sense at all, and you’ll
realize that you need to go back to the drawing board. Other times
you’ll see how viable your idea really is and how you can build on
it for even more success.
Prepare for defeat: No matter how great a plan you have, you
need to plan for defeat, because along the way you will always have
challenges. It’s not a matter of “if” the challenges appear; it’s a
matter of “when.” The key difference between top achiever and those
who don’t accomplish much is based on how they deal with failure.
People who don’t accomplish much stop at the first obstacle. Top
achievers find a way through every challenge. Also, top achievers
are not perfectionists, and they don’t wait for ideal conditions
before they act. Top achievers are improvisers. No matter what the
conditions, they find ways to improve them and make them work. You
simply can’t afford to wait for all the answers. The world is
changing so fast that you have to act based upon what’s happening
now and improvise as you go. That’s the only way to ensure your plan
is a success.
Action on Your Future Now: Everyone always wants the next month
or year to be better than the previous ones, but that will only
happen if you take action. Use these guidelines as you plan and your
future will fall into place. People always say, “Knowledge is
power,” but that’s a misnomer. The truth is that applied
knowledge is power. You now have the knowledge. Apply it wisely!
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