The Difference Between Achieving Your Goals and Staying Exactly Where You Are

The Difference Between Achieving Your Goals and Staying Exactly Where You Are

Have you ever set a big goal for yourself only to lose sight of it quickly?

You planned on hiking to some distant land of happiness and abundance, but didn’t know where to start? Or maybe you started strong, but lost momentum along the way?

Over time, your goal became increasingly unattainable until, seeing no end in sight, you struck it from your list and carried on with your life.

It’s happened to all of us, and it’s not hard to understand why.

One Life Hack Every High Achieving Entrepreneur Should Know

One Life Hack Every High Achieving Entrepreneur Should Know

It was 4 am, and the house had long since settled into its frame after a day of heavy traffic. Every creak had worked itself out. Every computer had gone into hibernation. Every child had sunken into their slumber.

It was calm. Peaceful. Silent.

My sleep, however, was interrupted by a deep, unsettling feeling that something was wrong. I gasped for air, sucking in oxygen quickly as if my head was forcefully plunged into a bucket of cold water. My eyes shot wide open, searching for the source of trouble, unable to find it in the black of night.

The Cure for Uncertainty, Lost Focus, and Lack of Motivation in Your Business

The Cure for Uncertainty, Lost Focus, and Lack of Motivation in Your Business

It's debilitating, isn't it?

Not knowing if you are on the right path. The uncertainty of whether what you are working on will bring you success.

You work and work. You push from every angle to make an inch of progress Only to look up one day and find yourself lost; unsure if what you are doing is getting you anywhere, worried that you are missing something.

It's a hard feeling to shake.

When this uncertainty hits, it saps your motivation. Your focus and clarity transform into a gloomy cloud of doubt hanging overhead, raining worry and dissatisfaction upon you.

Every business owner knows this feeling.

What Is Effective Strategic Planning for Small Business

What Is Effective Strategic Planning for Small Business

Having a strategy is vital for any small business. A strategy defines your plan for moving from where you are today to where you want your business to be in the future. On a more tactical level, having a clearly articulated business strategy is essential to being able to prioritize, build consensus, make decisions, and assess progress toward your goals.

Unfortunately, the “classic” approach to strategic planning doesn’t work very well for small businesses. The traditional methods found in textbooks are designed for large organizations. Small businesses don’t need the same kind of plan that a large corporation does, and they certainly don’t need the types of plans that global corporations produce. Using the wrong methods for strategic planning can cause a lot of frustration for small business owners as well as wasted time, effort, and resources.

So then, what is the right amount of strategic planning for a small business? What should you focus on? Who should be involved? What should the final plan look like? How much planning is too much?

This post will give owners of small businesses a simple and effective process for performing strategic planning by taking a look at some common issues small businesses run into with strategic planning, the most important elements of planning that small business should focus on, and concrete steps to tackling strategic planning the right way.

25 Eye-Opening Lessons with Proven Project Management Results

25 Eye-Opening Lessons with Proven Project Management Results

If there’s one thing I learned from projects, it’s this…

They’re on track until they’re not.

And once they get off track, there’s no going back. They either spiral out of control or get stuck, the last 10% effort taking longer than the first 90% combined. 

You see, project management is theoretically easy. Start your project, define your project, launch your project, control your project, and close your project. Five easy steps with volumes of books written about each, explored and experienced by hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of project leads and project managers worldwide.

In practice, however, it’s one of the most challenging aspects of business. 


All Great People Fail - So Should You

In this video, we look at a specific example of failure and discuss how we used this framework to deal with negative emotions and turn this failure into a learning lesson and ultimate success.

What do historical legends such as Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Abraham Lincoln have in common with modern day magnates Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, and J.K. Rowling? The obvious answers are fame and success. But there is a more powerful answer that might surprise you.

They all experienced painful, demoralizing failure on their journeys to the top.

The kind of failure that would derail many people from going forward and pursuing their goals and dreams. Had they succumbed to these failures, they easily could have faded into anonymity. Their incredible contributions to science, history, sports, business, and literature may have been lost.

Edison was deemed "difficult" by a teacher and lasted a total of 12 weeks in school. Einstein dropped out of school at 15 and then failed his first university entrance exam. Lincoln lost eight elections, failed in two businesses, and suffered a nervous breakdown. Jordan was famously relegated to his high school's junior varsity team. Oprah was publicly fired from her first television job. J.K. Rowling, a single mother living off of welfare when she started her first Harry Potter novel, once described herself as "the biggest failure I knew."

This raises in an important question - what is it that fuels people who are wildly successful and separates them from others? Are they ultra-talented? Do they have access to special resources that the rest of us don’t have? Are they just lucky?

Sometimes it is easy to feel this way. After all, when we look at successful people, we see where they are today. We don’t see the difficult circumstances, the embarrassing mistakes, and the crushing disappointment that they have overcome.

But the truth is that these people earned their success in spite of failure, and they did it through effort, persistence, and resilience.

The Reality of Failure

Failure is an ugly word. No one likes failing and no one wants to be known as a failure. And yet, as these and many other examples reveal, failure is inevitable if you want to accomplish anything of note.

The reality is, you can be certain that you will experience failure in one way or another. So, you have a choice. You can:

  1. avoid trying anything new or difficult to prevent failure from occurring,

  2. experience failure and be crushed by it, or

  3. embrace failure for what it is – unavoidable, necessary, and a chance to learn and grow.

This post is for people who are ready to step up to option 3. If you’re someone who already has a healthy tolerance of failure, this post can help you influence others to adopt a similar mindset. And while some people will have an easier time with this than others, we know with certainty that anyone can build the capacity and fortitude to overcome failures and achieve their goals.

Let’s look at why failure feels so bad, why we’re afraid of it, and strategies for turning failure into a catalyst for success.

Why Does Failure Feel So Bad? Why Are We So Afraid of It?

The answers may seem obvious. But it’s worthwhile to dig a little deeper to understand what informs our views on failure.

1. We Like to Look Smart and in Control

We admire people who appear to have all the answers and everything under control. We want to be the same way and we worry about what other people think of us.

Failure is not a good look when you prioritize how others perceive you. It feels embarrassing and shameful. If you see failure as humiliating, you’ll avoid sticking your neck out in fear of scorn and judgment by others.

2. We Judge on Outcomes, Not Process 

From a young age, we are taught to judge ourselves and others on outcomes. Getting an A on a test, winning a game, getting accepted to a prestigious school, these are defined as measures of success. But we often forget to acknowledge and praise the effort that it takes to achieve these.

Focusing only on outcomes, and not the process of success, makes us vulnerable to quitting and acquiescing to defeat when the going suddenly gets tough. It makes us question ourselves and withdraw the first time we get a “C,” have a bad game, or receive tough feedback.  

3. We Overstate Risks

When we look at a new challenge or opportunity, we may obsess over the downside. We are prone to hyper-focus on what might go wrong. When we do this, we paint an unbalanced picture of negativity that prevents us from moving forward. We will say “it’s not worth it.” 

4. We Are Impatient   

Everyone likes instant gratification. It feels good to achieve immediate results. And even though we know that there are few overnight successes, we set our expectations unrealistically high.

The problem with this is that we will be easily disappointed and discouraged at the first sign of difficulty. If things don’t go well right away, we may be inclined to give up and jump ship.

Together, these factors may cause you to be paralyzed by the idea of failure and to develop a closed mindset about what is possible and worth trying. This fearful mindset can become worse if you do gather the courage to try something and it goes poorly. Instead of seeing the failure as an event, you may begin to think of yourself as a failure. This line of thinking can have disastrous consequences.

It’s Time to Rewrite Our Story on Failure

Anyone can build the capacity and fortitude to overcome failure and achieve their goals.

Anyone can build the capacity and fortitude to overcome failure and achieve their goals.

There are plenty of reasons to fear failure, to avoid taking risks, to quit when things get hard, and to assume that successful people made it using some special abilities or powers that you don’t have. However, if you accept this as your reality, you’re also accepting that you aren’t going to go very far in your personal and professional endeavors, at least in terms of fulfilling your full potential.  

If you don’t like the way that sounds (and you shouldn’t), then it’s time to re-write the script on what failure is.

Failure is healthy. It is a sign that you are trying new things and pushing your limits. It’s an invaluable learning experience. It sends a message to others that you aren’t afraid to take on something difficult. It’s a challenge to be embraced. It’s worth experiencing failure because it puts us on the path to accomplishing more than we could have before.  

Theodore Roosevelt once said,

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

5 Steps to Overcoming Failure

Hopefully by now you are convinced that you don’t have to be one of those “poor spirits in the gray twilight.”  If so, here are five steps you can take to make sure that you are ready to take on failure without looking back.

1. Acknowledge That Failure is Inevitable

You need to accept now that things won’t always work out. You’re going to have ideas that go nowhere. You’re going to be rejected by others. You’ll be told that what you are trying to do is impossible. You’re going to try something new and find it to be much harder than you thought.

Knowing that these experiences are coming will help you to stay committed and not be deterred when things go sour.    

2. Stop Caring About What Others Think 

Yes, we all want to be liked. But it’s a real problem if you make your decisions and choices based on a desire to appease others.  It’s time to put that concern at the bottom of the priority list.  

You’re not going to convince other people to like you – so worry about achieving your goals and let the rest work itself out. Know what is most important to you and seek the company of those who will support you and offer positive, forward-looking feedback.  

3. Recognize That It’s Going to Hurt

Up to this point, we’ve talked about the need to embrace failure. This does not mean that failure is ever going to be fun. Even the most optimistic people among us are going to hurt when the bottom drops out on an idea or venture, especially if a lot is at stake.

It’s ok so spend some time with those emotions and to feel the frustration, anger, and disappointment. The key here is to not let these feelings linger in an unhelpful way. Let them go and see if you can channel them into motivation for whatever you pursue next.

4. Roll Up Your Sleeves and Get to Work

You can only control one thing when trying something new, whether it’s as simple as a new hobby or as complex as a new business venture:


Keep grinding away and relentlessly pursue your goal. Having to work hard at something is not a sign of weakness. Effort is a hallmark of those who succeed.

5. Take a Step Back. Look at The Journey

When something goes wrong, it’s easy to lose perspective. Take a big picture view of your goals and progress and make an honest assessment of where you are.

Effort is a hallmark of those who succeed.
— Seth Sinclair

If you are only three months through a project that you knew would take a year, don’t panic. When you hit a setback, pull yourself out of the moment and try to be objective about what you are experiencing. It’s possible that all is not lost.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it never would have amounted to much if everyone gave up at the first sign of trouble. As Thomas Edison once said, “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

From Ignorance to Mastery: How Adults Learn

From Ignorance to Mastery: How Adults Learn

Becoming a better team member, manager, or leader is a learning process. Through continuous learning we grow our knowledge and skills, build our capacity to take on new challenges, and push closer to achieving our potential. If you are curious about how you can improve or how to foster growth in others, it is important to understand how learning works, specifically for adults.

The truth is that learning is a journey. Reflecting on where you are in the learning process will help you prioritize what is important, more accurately gauge your progress, and shed light on the struggles that often accompany personal growth and professional development.

Fortunately, we have a simple four-stage model to help illustrate this.

How to Create a Plan Today to Maximize Tomorrow

How to Create a Plan Today to Maximize Tomorrow

This post is for anyone who wants to get ahead; who wants to stop reacting to life; who wants to stop floating through life day by day, hoping for the best. It's for anyone with much to accomplish and little time to do it. This post is for anyone who wants to focus and thrive, yet finds himself distracted and unsure of what to do next.

The most successful people in the world have a plan. Not just a plan for big projects, but a plan for the little periods of time that they know will add up in the long run. When you are done reading this post, you will know how to develop a plan tonight that will guide you tomorrow. You will be able extract maximum value out of each and every hour of your day. Your plan will guide you when distracted and, in the early hours of the morning when your willpower is low and it’s difficult to think, it will provide you with a goal to kickstart your day and accomplish something while the rest of the world is still waking up. Creating your plan will not be complicated... it is as simple as filling out an index card.

How Creating a New Daily Habit is the Answer to a Better Self

How Creating a New Daily Habit is the Answer to a Better Self

Since birth, we have been constantly learning. Though it is not something we "feel", we assimilate knowledge and build habits from new experiences daily. In the beginning, learning was effortless. As we grew into adulthood, the roots of our knowledge spread deeper becoming ingrained in us and making it more difficult to pick up new concepts.

This has nothing to do with our intelligence, we are simply creatures of habit... and not just those hard-to-break habits like nail biting. We unknowingly create habits for nearly everything. It's a matter of efficiency. 

Of course, we all wish to break ourselves of those unappealing habits. We design clever tricks to catch ourselves in the act--strings around fingers, random chimes every few minutes, etc. But building a better self is more than eliminating bad habits; it's about creating new, positive, fulfilling ones.

Four Lessons Motorcycles Taught Me About Focus

Four Lessons Motorcycles Taught Me About Focus

Focus is that state of being we desire when solving challenging problems. Focus is the awareness we need when cramming for a final exam. Focus is the differentiator between the most successful entrepreneurs and those that struggle on. As important as it is and try as we might, achieving focus can be one of the most demanding and frustrating areas in our lives.