She shifted her weight hastily from one foot to the other, clearly irritated.
I was too. Irritated, that is.
Her, a hundred other travelers in front of me, and I had chosen the wrong line at the airport, and security was moving us through their checkpoint at a snails pace.
The line to my left seemed like a racetrack by comparison. Each of the travelers walked confidently toward the checkpoint faster than American Pharoe to the Triple Crown. They seemed happy, almost cheery (or so my imagination told me).
That’s when this woman in front of me made her break for freedom.
Hitting Goals Faster with a Line of Sight
While I stood steaming about how long things were taking, she had caught sight of a security agent opening up a new line; a line with no passengers and fresh, happy, friendly, expedient agents (or so I imagined).
With no warning, she took off, losing her place in our line but gaining pole position in the new line and immediately cutting 20 minutes of unnecessary waiting. Dozens of other travelers fell in rank behind her quickly, leaving me and everyone else in my line wondering how we’d missed such an opportunity.
But the answer was simple, and we knew it. She had a line of sight to her goal and, without hesitation, she acted, saving herself valuable time and reaching her goal faster than the rest of us.
See the Path, Then Take Action
We all want to reach our goals faster. But we don't always have what we need to do so. We stand ready to act, ready to put in the hard work, but can't move because we don't have an important element to any strategy or plan...
Line of sight.
This woman had a line of sight to our goal. I didn't.
Though she was only two feet in front of me, and though I towered over her like a giant sequoia over a Midwest oak tree, she had a line of sight to our goal. I didn’t.
She saw the TSA agents at the end of the line, could watch them open up a new path to victory, and saw the b-line between her and our goal. I didn’t.
Because of this, she was able to see the path to her goal, capitalize on an opportunity, and take action.
Taking the Critical Path
There's a concept in project management called the critical path. In a large project with many tasks, some tasks can be done simultaneously, some tasks can be delegated, but some must be finished before others. Though cake batter can be mixed and an oven preheated at the same time, the cake cannot be baked until both are complete. That’s a critical path.
Your goals, unlike a project, may not have a clear set of tasks that get you from zero to done. As such, building a critical path might be impossible. But the concept applies. If an extra $1 million in revenue is your goal this year, it may be impossible to list all the tasks that will get you there. There are too many variables, and to many unknowns. Yet even without a critical path, your line of sight must be clear.
To get that extra revenue, you need to calculate how many more customers you will need. You’ll need to know where to find those customers. You’ll need to understand the messaging those customers will need to hear before they become buyers.
If you don’t, you’ll stand stagnant in your business like I did in line, wondering what your first step should be; wondering how your competition passed you buy.
Build a Line of Sight to Your Goals
Your line of sight will appear, but only if you are watching for it. You must keep an eye toward your end goal at all times.
With clear, achievable, time-driven goals, ask yourself where you need to be next quarter, next month, next week, and tomorrow in order to claim success.
Then, ask yourself 1) what is currently blocking your path and 2) go one step further to ask what could block your path. Then figure out how to break (or prevent) the blockade.
If you don’t have line of sight, keep asking yourself these two questions until your goal (and every step along the way) is in sight. Only when you can build a set of tasks that will inevitably get you from zero to success will you have your critical path.
And once you have that, you know the first, next, and last steps to take to get there. You can take action.
Find your line of sight and everything becomes clear.
About the Author
Traveler, Clarity Seeker, Goal Junkie
I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.
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