Monthly Archives: December 2009

Making Your Goals Count in 2010

As we enter into a New Year we all tend to have a heightened sense of the opportunities and possibilities that 2010 can bring. The need for goal-setting becomes more obvious and clear. And the great thing about goal-setting is you can keep it as simple or get as elaborate as you would like.

I’ve often said the major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get. That is why goals are so powerful – they are part of the fabric that makes up our lives. And goal-setting is where we create our goals.

Goal-setting is powerful, partly because it provides focus. It shapes our dreams. It gives us the ability to hone in on the exact actions we need to perform to achieve everything we desire in life. Goals are GREAT because they cause us to stretch and grow in ways that we never have before. In order to reach our goals we must become better. We must change and grow.

Also, goals provide long-term vision in our lives. We all need lots of powerful, long-range goals to help us get past short-term obstacles. Life is designed in such a way that we look long-term and live short-term. We dream for the future and live in the present. Unfortunately, the present can produce many difficult obstacles. But fortunately, the more powerful our goals (because they are inspiring and believable) the more we will be able to act on them in the short-term and guarantee that they will actually come to pass!

So, let’s take a closer look at the topic of goal-setting and see how we can make it forceful as well as practical. What are the key aspects to learn and remember when studying and writing our goals?

1. Evaluation and Reflection. The only way we can reasonably decide what we want in the future and how we will get there is to first know where we are right now and what our level of satisfaction is for where we are in life. So first take some time and think through and write down your current situation, then ask this question on each key point – is that okay?

The purpose of evaluation is two-fold. First, it gives you an objective way to look at your accomplishments and your pursuit of the vision you have for your life. Secondly, it is to show you where you are so you can determine where you need to go. In other words, it gives you a baseline from which to work.

I would strongly encourage you to take a couple of hours this week to evaluate and reflect. At the beginning of every month reevaluate to see where you are and write it down so that as the months progress and you continue a regular time of evaluation and reflection, you will see just how much ground you will be gaining – and that will be exciting!

2. What are Your Dreams and Goals? These are the dreams and goals that are born out of your own heart and mind. These are the goals that are unique to you and come from who you were created to be and gifted to become. So second, make a list of all the things you desire for the future.

One of the amazing things we have been given as humans is the unquenchable desire to have dreams of a better life, and the ability to establish goals to live out those dreams. Think of it: We can look deep within our hearts and dream of a better situation for ourselves and our families; dream of better financial lives and better emotional or physical lives; certainly dream of better spiritual lives. But what makes this even more powerful is that we have also been given the ability to not only dream but to pursue those dreams and not just pursue them, but the cognitive ability to actually lay out a plan and strategies (setting goals) to achieve those dreams. Powerful!

What are your dreams and goals? This isn’t what you already have or what you have done, but what you want. Have you ever really sat down and thought through your life values and decided what you really want? Have you ever taken the time to truly reflect, to listen quietly to your heart, to see what dreams live within you? Your dreams are there. Everyone has them. They may live right on the surface, or they may be buried deep from years of others telling you they were foolish, but they are there.

So how do we know what our dreams are? This is an interesting process and it relates primarily to the art of listening. This is not listening to others; it is listening to yourself. If we listen to others, we hear their plans and dreams (and many will try to put their plans and dreams on us). If we listen to others, we can never be fulfilled. We will only chase elusive dreams that are not rooted deep within us. No, we must listen to our own hearts.

Here are some practical steps/thoughts on hearing from our hearts on what our dreams are:

Take time to be quiet. This is something that we don’t do enough in this busy world of ours. We rush, rush, rush, and we are constantly listening to noise all around us. The human heart was meant for times of quiet, to peer deep within. It is when we do this that our hearts are set free to soar and take flight on the wings of our own dreams! Schedule some quiet “dream time” this week. No other people. No cell phone. No computer. Just you, a pad, a pen, and your thoughts.

Think about what really thrills you. When you are quiet, think about those things that really get your blood moving. What would you LOVE to do, either for fun or for a living? What would you love to accomplish? What would you try if you were guaranteed to succeed? What big thoughts move your heart into a state of excitement and joy? When you answer these questions you will feel GREAT and you will be in the “dream zone.” It is only when we get to this point that we experience what OUR dreams are!

Write down all of your dreams as you have them. Don’t think of any as too outlandish or foolish – remember, you’re dreaming! Let the thoughts fly and take careful record.

Now, prioritize those dreams. Which are most important? Which are most feasible? Which would you love to do the most? Put them in the order in which you will actually try to attain them. Remember, we are always moving toward action, not just dreaming.

3. S.M.A.R.T. Goals. S.M.A.R.T. means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive.

I really like this acronym S.M.A.R.T., because we want to be smart when we set our goals. We want to intelligently decide what our goals will be so that we can actually accomplish them. We want to set the goals that our heart conceives, our minds believe and that our bodies will carry out. Let’s take a closer look at each of the components of S.M.A.R.T. goals:

Specific: Goals are no place to waffle. They are no place to be vague. Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results. Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures.

Measurable: Always set goals that are measurable. I would say “specifically measurable” to take into account our principle of being specific as well.

Attainable: One of the detrimental things that many people do – and they do it with good intentions – is to set goals that are so high they are unattainable.

Realistic: The root word of realistic is “real.” A goal has to be something that we can reasonably make “real” or a “reality” in our lives. There are some goals that simply are not realistic. You have to be able to say, even if it is a tremendously stretching goal, that yes, indeed, it is entirely realistic — that you could make it. You may even have to say that it will take x, y, and z to do it, but if those happen, then it can be done. This is in no way to say it shouldn’t be a big goal, but it must be realistic.

Time: Every goal should have a time frame attached to it. I think that life itself is much more productive if there is a time frame connected to it. Could you imagine how much procrastination there would be on earth if people never died? We would never get “around to it.” We could always put it off. One of the powerful aspects of a great goal is that it has an end, a time in which you are shooting to accomplish it. You start working on it because you know there is an end. As time goes by you work on it because you don’t want to get behind. As it approaches, you work diligently because you want to meet the deadline. You may even have to break down a big goal into different parts of measurement and time frames. That is okay. Set smaller goals and work them out in their own time. A S.M.A.R.T. goal has a timeline.

4. Accountability (A contract with yourself or someone else). When someone knows what your goals are, they hold you accountable by asking you to “give an account” of where you are in the process of achieving that goal. Accountability puts some teeth into the process. If a goal is set and only one person knows it, does it really have any power? Many times, no. At the very least, it isn’t as powerful as if you have one or more other people who can hold you accountable to your goal.  Facebook and social media sites are a great forum to socialize your goals to your friends and peers. 

So: Evaluate/Reflect; Decide What You Want; Be S.M.A.R.T.; Have Accountability. When you put these 4 key pieces together, you are putting yourself in a position of power that will catapult you toward achieving your goals.

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

The 10 Biggest Lies that Stop People from Getting What they Want

They say that “everybody’s a critic,” and that never seems truer than when you’re pursuing a dream. There will always be well-meaning people who want to “protect” you from your “unrealistic fantasies.” Critics tried to discourage the people profiled in the book Unstoppable. Everyone ignored the negative input and achieved their goals. Follow their lead and you, too, will be UNSTOPPABLE!

1. The timing is all wrong. In 1987, prior to accepting Paramount’s offer to host a late-night talk show, Arsenio Hall was told by everyone: “It’s too hard to crack into the late-night ratings. Television isn’t ready for a black talk show host. This is America, and you can forget it.”

2. Why don’t you get a real job? Not understanding his desire to become Mr. Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s family pleaded with him, saying: “How long will you go on training all day in a gymnasium and living in a dream world?”

3. It’ll never work, you’ll lose everything. Weeks before she opened her first store, cosmetic tycoon Mary Kay Ash’s attorney said: “Liquidate the business right now and recoup whatever cash you can. If you don’t, you’ll end up penniless.”

4. Don’t rock the boat. In response to Muriel Siebert’s application to be the first woman to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, officials responded: “The language on the floor is too rough and there’s no ladies’ room.” She bought a seat anyway and remained the only woman there for nine years.

5. It’s never been done before. Upon applying for a job after graduation from Columbia University, announcers for NBC Radio responded to Sally Jessy Raphael: “You have the perfect voice for broadcasting, but you should get a job as a secretary. We’re not using women.”

6. You don’t have enough talent. Responding to his desire to become a recording artist, Ray Charles’ teachers said: “You can’t play the piano, and God knows you can’t sing. You’d better learn how to weave chairs so you can support yourself.”

7. Don’t even try, you’ll just be disappointed. When auditioning for a part in a high school musical, a teacher rejected Diana Ross saying: “You have a nice voice, but it’s nothing special.”

8. You don’t fit the mold OR you’re not the right “type.” Trying to convince her she didn’t have the right look, fashion photographer Richard Avedon told Cher: “You will never make the cover of Vogue because you don’t have blond hair or blue eyes.” When she did make the cover, Vogue sold more copies than it had ever sold before.

9. Don’t give up your day job. Commenting on the first manuscript of an unpublished author, a New York publisher told James Michener: “You’re a good editor with a promising future in the business. Why would you want to throw it all away to try to be a writer? I read your book. Frankly, it’s not really that good.” Michener’s first book, Tales of the South Pacific, later won a Pulitzer Prize and was adapted for stage and screen as South Pacific.

10. There’s no market for it. When hearing his plans to launch Perrier in the United States, several consulting firms advised Gustave Leven: “You’re foolish to try to sell sparkling water in the land of Coca-Cola drinkers.”

The only opinion about your dream that really counts is yours. The negative comments of others merely reflect their limitations — not yours. There is nothing unrealistic about a dream that aligns with your purpose, ignites your passion, and inspires you to plan and persevere until you attain it. On the contrary, it’s unrealistic to expect a person with such drive and commitment not to succeed. Choose to be unstoppable!

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

Get a New Attitude!

One of the first and foremost things to do to change your life is to change your attitude. Attitude is fundamental to the success or failure that we experience in our life.

Are you less successful than you would like to be? Do you have the money you want? Do you have the family you want? Do you have the job that you want?

If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, then you may want to take a look at your attitude, because so much depends on it!

“Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it,” says Irving Berlin. It is true. Now don’t get me wrong, that 10 percent is M-A-J-O-R, but even bigger than that is what your attitude is. So, do everything that you can – action wise – to make your life an absolute success. But when you are done acting, you will only have what you have. It may be big and it may be little. But it is what you have to live with. Now the biggest key will be what your attitude is toward what your actions have brought to you. One person will work and be happy with it. Another will work, achieve the same thing and have a terrible attitude about it. Who will achieve the most successful life? My bet is on the one with the best attitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.” It is all in what value you give to it! You see, you may look at one thing and say “That’s terrible,” while another person may say, “That’s great!” A simple example would be a half a ham sandwich. Now, if you are used to fillet mignon, you are going to think, “A measly old ham sandwich? Is that it?” But a starving person would have a very different viewpoint! They would think, “I won the lunch lottery!

Another reason to keep in mind that our attitude is so very important is because often times the attitude we demonstrate is exactly what we will get back to us. The great Earl Nightingale said, “Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us.” Think about it. You walk into a store and say to the clerk, “Hey lady, do you think you could get off your duff and tell me where I can find the milk?” What kind of attitude do you think you will get back? Instead, we should go in and say, “Excuse me, but would you be so kind as to tell me where I could find the milk?” You will get a good attitude back from that! The same is true in every area of our lives. Do you find that others have a bad attitude toward you? Then maybe you have a bad attitude toward them. The old saying is true that you reap what you sow. If you are reaping bad attitudes, you are probably sowing bad attitudes. Take a closer look, and you may find the key to turning your life around.

“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. That little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” W. Clement Stone.

Let’s face it; there is little difference in people physically or intellectually. But what does make the difference is the attitude. You can take two people of similar background, education, skill and intelligence and find that one is the kind of person you are looking for because of a positive attitude while the other is a complete dud – the eternal pessimist! Your attitude is the big difference.

What is your attitude? Is it positive or negative? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? I guarantee you, no matter what your attitude is, it is affecting you – and your success. Take this test: Purposefully upgrade your attitude for 90 days and see if life doesn’t begin to change for you! Pick a few areas where you can make a change. For example, begin to trust people and believe the best in them and see if your relationships begin to change!

If you’re stuck or if you just want to go to the next level of success, it’s time to “Get a New Attitude!”

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

Two Principles for Financial Success

There are two great principles for achieving financial success.
The first Principle is called the law of attraction. The law of attraction says that you are a living magnet — your thoughts create a force field of energy that radiates out from you and attracts back into your life people and circumstances in harmony with them. Any thought you have, combined with an emotion, positive or negative, radiates out from you and attracts back into your life the people, circumstances, ideas and opportunities consistent with it.

How to Attract the Success You Desire
Many people feel that this is perhaps the most important of all mental laws. It says that if you have a very clear idea in your mind of your desired goal, to become wealthy, and you can hold that idea in your mind on a continuing basis, you will inevitably draw into your life the resources that you need in order to achieve it. Every person who has become wealthy or successful has become wealthy and successful as a result of holding the idea of wealth and success in their mind long enough and hard enough, until they drew into their lives the resources they needed to accomplish it.

Your World Reflects Your Thoughts
The second principle is called the law of correspondence. This mental law is very powerful. It says, “as within, so without.” It says that your outer world is like a mirror that reflects back to you what is going on in your inner world. And this law of correspondence says that everything that happens outside of you corresponds to something that’s going on inside of you. When I say that your outer world is a reflection of your inner world, I mean both at a conscious and subconscious level.

Visualize Your Goals Clearly
If you consciously believe that you have the ability to achieve your goals and you can hold a picture of those goals clearly in your mind long enough and hard enough, eventually your outer world will correspond with it.

Three Reflections of Success
There are three places where we see this law of correspondence. First of all, your outer world of people will correspond exactly with your own attitude. You will always see your attitude reflected back to you in the faces and the behaviors of the people around you. If you have a positive, optimistic attitude, people will respond to you almost immediately, even before you open your mouth, in a positive and cheerful way.

Relationships Show You Who You Are
The second area where you see the law of correspondence is in your relationships. Your relationships will always mirror back to you exactly the kind of a person you are. When you are happy and optimistic and at peace, your relationships will be happy and harmonious and loving. But when your thinking is disrupted or negative for any reason, consciously or unconsciously, this will be immediately reflected in your relationships.

Inner and Outer Wealth
The third place you see the law of correspondence is with regard to your wealth. Your external world of wealth and financial accomplishment will be a mirror image of your inner world of preparation. The only part of the equation that you can control is your conscious thoughts, and if you can keep your conscious thoughts on what you want, on your images of wealth and affluence, eventually your external world of reality and experiences will reflect it back to you.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do to apply these principles in your financial life:

First, guard your thoughts carefully. Whatever you think about, combined with the emotions of desire or fear, you will attract into your life. Be sure that you are attracting what you want by continuing to think only about what you want.

Second, keep feeding your mind with new information, ideas and pictures of the person you want to be and the life you want to live. By creating this inner attitude of mind, you change the outer aspects of your reality.

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

Three Principles for Success in Business and in War

The recent decision by President Obama to send 30K troops to Afghanistan got me thinking about similarities between business and war. In both cases, the victor is the one who uses superior strategy against his or her competition.

There are three principles of military strategy you can apply to your work every single day. The first idea from the military is called the Principle of Maneuver. The principle of maneuver says that you should be clear about the goal, but be flexible about the process of achieving it. According to the Menninger Institute, this quality of flexibility is the most important single quality that you will require for success in times of rapid change.

1. Be Open to Continuous Feedback
A key peak performance quality for you is to “accept feedback and self-correct.” Peak performers are those who can take information from their environment and even if the information is contrary to all of their planning, they can accept the information, modify their plans, and continue moving forward. They are always open to new ideas and insights.

2. Learn What You Need to Know
The second military principle you can use is the Principle of Intelligence. This principle of intelligence means simply, “get the facts!”

The most important thing in business decision making is for you to get accurate information. Facts don’t lie. It is important that you get the real facts, not the assumed facts or the apparent facts or the obvious facts, or the hoped for facts, but the real, provable facts.

Perhaps the key job of the executive is decision making. The quality of the decisions that you make will be in direct proportion to the amount of time that you take to gather timely and accurate information. The very best thing that you can do, if you have insufficient information, is to delay making a decision at all.

3. Invest Your Resources Wisely
The third military principle applied to strategic planning is the Principle of Economy of Force. Economy of force means that you expend only the resources necessary to achieve the objective and not more or less. It also means that you commit sufficient resources to achieve the objective once you have decided upon it.

Since your own personal energy is all you really have to invest over the course of your lifetime, the military principle of economy says that you should be very selfish when deciding how you are going to use your self. Keep asking your self, “How important is this?” and more important, “How important is this to me?”

How to put these ideas into action
Here are two ideas that you can apply immediately to be more strategic in your work and personal life.

First, remain flexible when you are working towards your goal. In times of rapid change, all of your best ideas can be contradicted by new information. Be willing to try different things. Be open to new inputs and ideas.

Second, get the facts! The more and better information you can acquire before you make a decision, the better your decision will be. The very best managers spend a good amount of time getting the real, provable facts before they take action.

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

Establishing Dreams and Goals

One of the amazing things we have been given as humans is the unquenchable desire to have dreams of a better life, and the ability to establish goals to live out those dreams. Think of it: We can look deep within our hearts and dream of a better situation for ourselves and our families; dream of better financial lives and better emotional or physical lives; certainly dream of better spiritual lives. But what makes this even more powerful is that we have also been given the ability to not only dream but to pursue those dreams and not only to pursue them, but the cognitive ability to actually lay out a plan and strategies (setting goals) to achieve those dreams. Powerful! And that is what we will discuss here: How to dream dreams and establish goals to get those dreams.

What are your dreams and goals? This isn’t what you already have or what you have done, but what you want. Have you ever really sat down and thought through your life values and decided what you really want? Have you ever taken the time to truly reflect, to listen quietly to your heart, to see what dreams live within you? Your dreams are there. Everyone has them. They may live right on the surface, or they may be buried deep from years of others telling you they were foolish, but they are there.

So how do we know what our dreams are? This is an interesting process and it relates primarily to the art of listening. This is not listening to others; it is listening to yourself. If we listen to others, we hear their plans and dreams (and many will try to put their plans and dreams on us). If we listen to others, we can never be fulfilled. We will only chase elusive dreams that are not rooted deep within us. No, we must listen to our own hearts.

Let’s take a look at some practical steps/thoughts on hearing from our hearts on what our dreams are:

Take time to be quiet. This is something that we don’t do enough in this busy world of ours. We rush, rush, rush, and we are constantly listening to noise all around us. The human heart was meant for times of quiet, to peer deep within. It is when we do this that our hearts are set free to soar and take flight on the wings of our own dreams! Schedule some quiet “dream time” this week. No other people. No cell phone. No computer. Just you, a pad, a pen, and your thoughts.

Think about what really thrills you. When you are quiet, think about those things that really get your blood moving. What would you LOVE to do, either for fun or for a living? What would you love to accomplish? What would you try if you were guaranteed to succeed? What big thoughts move your heart into a state of excitement and joy? When you answer these questions you, will feel great and you will be in the “dream zone.” It is only when we get to this point that we experience what our dreams are!

Write down all of your dreams as you have them. Don’t think of any as too outlandish or foolish – remember, you’re dreaming! Let the thoughts fly and take careful record.

Now, prioritize those dreams. Which are most important? Which are most feasible? Which would you love to do the most? Put them in the order in which you will actually try to attain them. Remember, we are always moving toward action, not just dreaming.

Here is the big picture: Life is too short to not pursue your dreams. Someday your life will near its end and all you will be able to do is look backwards. You can reflect with joy or regret. Those who dream, who set goals and act on them to live out their dreams are those who live lives of joy and have a sense of peace when they near the end of their lives. They have finished well, for themselves and for their families.

Remember: These are the dreams and goals that are born out of your heart and mind. These are the goals that are unique to you and come from who you were created to be and gifted to become. Your specific goals are what you want to attain because they are what will make your life joyful and bring your family’s life into congruence with what you want it to be.

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.