goals

More Than Just Thankful

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As we end a year and bring in 2017, reflection and goal setting is natural. We have much around us to be thankful for, yet we don’t alway remember to give thanks for the people, ideas, gifts and experiences that improve our lives. The simple thing to do, and important thing, is to say ‘thank you’, yet how can we become a person who others want to thank?

For those who we owe thanks, do something for them that is worthy of thanks in return. When a simple ‘thank you’ isn’t enough, the next level is to seek symbiosis. Just as the tree gets it’s nourishment and life from soil, it gives back to the soil each autumn by shedding it’s leaves and replenishing the nutrients within. Both benefit and freely give, giving true thanks and appreciation of the other. How can you nourish and replenish others around you?

Relationships work best when they go both ways. It’s something we could all work to improve upon, and when we do, we all benefit.

Symbiosis: interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.

 

Train Your Eye

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Black bear observed at Yellowstone National Park

Our lives are filled with lots of stimuli that distract us from the course we are meant to take. Once you determine your goals and set your course, keep your eyes trained for the opportunities you seek.

It is simple to spend energy dwelling on the past and the things that could have been or you could use your energy seeking the next opportunity. We all work with limited resources, but opportunity is all around us. It is not abundant and opportunity usually sits hidden or unnoticed. We need to have the vision to see it and the hope that it will happen.

Recently, prior to our family trip to Yellowstone National Park, I taught my daughter how to locate animals in the woods or from afar. We discussed and practiced training her eyes to see the color, shape and movement of animals, as they are so well adapted to not being seen.  While in the park (and now anywhere), she is great at locating the opportunities to watch the animals she so excitedly wants to see and experience. She seized the opportunity by training herself to see it, and then was able to help others who did not have the same skill.

This is not unlike business or life. Once we know what we are looking for, we need to keep our eyes and ears open to the possibilities. Partnerships and resources don’t typically fall in your lap and it takes a keen eye to find the possibilities, but you need to be trained to look for them.

Take some time to identify your goals and needed resources, and then train your eye to find them. Give yourself the edge over others who cannot see these opportunities and those who do not even look for them. It requires some patience and perseverance, but the time will come and your keen eye will see an opportunity that will propel you closer to your goals.

Opportunities are all around if you know what to look for. If you don’t see them, surely someone else will. Train your eye!

Achievement (On the Lighter Side)

It is common to set goals, dream and desire past times, but what separates dreams from success is those who do it. Follow your passion and purposefully make progress: step by step, brick by brick, day by day, skill by skill, place by place, person by person. Take the time to make progress toward these goals and their achievement becomes possible. There is one guarantee: If you aren’t working to achieve your goals, they are only dreams. In the words of the famous philosopher, Calvin:

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Now, get your knees dirty and make progress toward your dreams!

Commitment vs. Plan B

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There comes a time in a project, adventure or plan when we must commit to doing it. This commitment takes time, resources and risk. For successful outcomes, you need to be tied to your goals, yet we need to always consider a lightweight, sturdy device used for climbing to illustate a point: the carabiner.

The guinius of the carabiner is that it secures you to your commitment, yet it gives you the freedom to quickly release, if needed. We have all played victim to commitment and stayed with a plan too long, even when we knew it was no longer a good idea. We had no way to easily release. We were tied to the plan. The spring-loaded gate of the carabiner keeps you secure, but also gives an easy opening to release. Sometimes our best plan is to go to Plan B.

Prior to making the plunge on a new project, adventure or plan, remember the carabiner, and if that time comes when your commitment is bringing you down with it, release!  There is no shame in cutting your loses! It could save you someday, allowing you to rebuild your current failed attempt or later commit to other worthwhile projects.

The caribiner: used by climbers… and now its a concept used by leaders considering how to tie themselves to their goals, yet retain a quick-release, if needed.

Limit Yourself vs. Push Your Limits

Setting limits can keep you from overextending, but it can also limit one’s potential. Set a goal for yourself and start achieving it now. The goal may not be to complete the project in its entirety or to reach the summit, but maybe its to start. Write your business plan and share it with someone or set a goal to hike to the treeline and back. Whatever your limit is, make sure it is extending your reaches, not holding you back.