A lot of us have set out the goals that we want to achieve in 2018. Whether it’s business, family life, financial, career or social goals we have set them out and we expect to achieve them by 31st December 2018.
How successful have you been in the past? Personally, at the end of the year, I find I have achieved 50% or less of what I set for myself to achieve. So what am I doing wrong?.
I stumble across an interesting TED talk by Reggie Rivers, his first bold statement was that “IF YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE GOALS STOP FOCUSING ON THEM!” This caught my interest as it goes against what I had learned so far, I listened to the entire presentation.
Reggie broke down that focusing on the goal makes you unable to use your energy on actually achieving the Goal. Moreover, more often than not you are not in control of the outcome and are only in control of your behavior and reactions.
We all want to make money in our business by the end of the year, but you can’t force customers to buy from you, you can make the product as good as possible, yes, but you really can’t guarantee the outcome i.e. profits.
For instance, if you want to lose weight you end up weighing yourself every week. Of course, those who struggle with weight like I, realize that this does not lead anywhere fast.
In fact, you end up frustrated and abandon the whole weight loss journey. You are focusing on the outcome.
He suggests that you should focus on WHAT IS IN YOUR CONTROL, your behavior.
Hmm… what does this mean? He says that you should focus on your behavior, which you are in control of, to achieve your goal.
Assume you are able to achieve the goal and perform the tasks to achieve it. In the weight loss scenario, you should focus on what you are eating, how much you exercise and what you drink.
We need to break the goal into smaller tasks that we can perform easily and fast while working towards the main huge ambitious goal. Reggie suggests that you should have tasks that you can perform TODAY, TOMORROW and THIS WEEK.
I like the idea that you break up your big goal into smaller manageable bits. What does this achieve?
You remain motivated as you achieve something every day and week. Every small step moves you closer to the big goal.
You can dream big and break the large goal into smaller action points and you end up achieving an ambitious goal. This works even when you need to save or invest. This I can testify to.
You keep on revising your plan every so often and thereby are able to make necessary changes to move you closer to the goal. This is particularly helpful in business so that where you can change a strategy that does not work before you lose too much money.
It helps you be disciplined on simple tasks and eventually bigger ones. This is a way to get rid of bad habits like procrastinating. If you are accountable on a daily and weekly basis you notice your weakness and work on it more often to improve yourself.
It actually keeps you on track as you end up spending the necessary time, without getting distracted, to achieve your eventual goal. Normally when a task is huge we are quick to allow ourselves to be distracted away from it.
In conclusion, I think this is a great concept to adopt in business and generally in life, deal with what you are in control of.
Forget what is not in your control because you can’t change it anyway.
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The final #SheHive tour was in Joburg this November. The Motherland Moguls in Joburg got a chance to hear inspirational talks from women making strides in their respective industries, giving us lessons on #BossingFromBirth. Two of the women were Vere Shaba of Shaba and Linda Mabhena-Olagunju of DLO Energy Resources Group.
One of the many valuable lessons we took from Linda and Vere was their entrepreneurial drive from an early age. Both women started in the corporate sector. Linda started off as a lawyer at one of the top five firms (Bowman Gilfillan) and Vere started off as a Mechanical Engineering at WSP Group but both left to start their own companies.
The aim of only making money is not a good idea to get into business
For some people, the driving force to starting their own businesses is to only make money. If you get into a business base with the intention of only making money, people will definitely see through that.
Vere pointed out that what helps in getting into business is having the passion for it. This is an important lesson because the passion is what will drive you to make your business and career path work.
Whether you’re in building your business or building yourself in your career, failure will happen but as Linda had pointed out, it’s about having a good comeback. It’s about continuing even after the failures and making sure you fail upwards and keep moving. You need to be resilient.
As with any business or career path you choose, things probably won’t go as planned or what you have wished for, so you need to ensure you have a strong support system. A support system could be your colleagues, family and close friends. Have those people around you who will encourage you to keep moving. Most importantly, you need to have a extraordinary confidence and belief in yourself, Motherland Moguls!
Every person that you meet could be your potential client or business partner, therefore creating networks and maintaining those relationships is key. Always make sure that you leave a good impression on people.
This should not business or career wise but also all aspects in your life where you’re constantly meeting and working with people.
Planning is key! It’s also important to commit everything into writing. Once you commit a thought to writing or once you tell someone about a dream or thought, you should hold yourself accountable. Ensure that you execute on those dreams and thoughts that are on paper. Linda pointed out that: Your word is your bond.
Making plans is important, and plans change but as a chaser of your dreams, learn to be adaptable. With all the changes happening, always make sure you know what your end goal is and whatever you do aligns with that end goal.
Put in the hard work
With growth, comes more learning. Learn and master your craft. It’s very easy to see through you if you don’t know your craft and you can easily lose credibility for that. Know that you are on a consistent journey of learning. You never really arrive at a destination of learning and once you feel that you know it all, then it’s probably time to check-out. This doesn’t mean stop learning, but it means find something that challenges you and continue the journey of learning everyday.
#MotherlandMogul tip from Linda: Make a plan, and know that your plan might deviate. Know and write down your short, medium and long term goals and execute on them.
To understand your client base, ensure that you surround yourself with them. You need to be clear on who your client base are and understand them.
This will help in you better positioning yourself based on who your client base is. Everything about you and your brand and how you carry yourself, should align with your brand.
#MotherlandMogul tip from Vere: Have a clear plan about what you want, your client base, your brand and Live Your Brand!
Know when to continue or give up
In some cases, the breakthrough happens just when you’re about to quit. Stick through it during the hard times. Yes, it won’t be easy but it is so fruitful to work hard to make your own dreams a reality than to work hard towards making other people’s dreams a reality. When you know that this is your passion, continue until the breakthrough.
Chasing a business dream requires a deliberate and focused sense of concentration on set goals.
Don’t you hate-love those successful people who make success seem so easy? Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring their magic to your own life? Imagine walking into a multi-million dollar event to a standing ovation. Everyone is clapping and the spotlight is on you, the bombass CEO of your own company. Sounds like a dream, right? Snap out of it! It’s time to live that dream.
First, there’s the parody of that person who takes the giant step of starting her own business. Now, years have passed and the enthusiasm has dwindled because she’s held on to the same approach. Don’t be her. If you must make the leap, be sure the potential rewards are huge and satisfactory. Otherwise soon, you’ll be complaining like Jane who went into selling clothes because Maryann’s boutique was blossoming.
It’s a simple, sad fact that the vast majority of entrepreneurs would rather invest in whatever business idea is currently trending than create their own dreams. Yes, we all need inspiration but success doesn’t come by pursuing someone else’s dream. You want to become the next Oprah Winfrey? Cool, but you need to learn to do what you love better, faster and more often.
Where am I going with all of this? Simple.
Define your dream
Do you have a business idea? How big is your goal? Think back. How long have you nurtured this idea? How sure were you in it, when it was birthed in your mind? It’s so easy to look around at people who have achieved business success and say, “Oh she achieved that height because she’s special, it’s just the way she was made.”
Okay, saying this may make you feel a bit better, but like Lupita Nyong’o once said, “Your dreams are valid too.” Yes girl, they are!
The idea, big or small, must be laid out in detail. Achieving your dreams does not have to be easy, but you need to be able to know, at any moment, where you are headed. Set goals with timelines.
Here’s my example, by January 13th, 2017, I shall have set up a firm on the 14th floor of East Grove Towers with a portfolio of 120 clients. Time to werk.
Get to work
The nature of the idea must require an intense sense of concentration. An example would be a goal-driven SLA contributor. Ideally, she is a brilliant lady who is detailed, pays attention to research and is not afraid to be sassy. This is someone who can devote the energy required to get the work done. Now apply that to your business.
You must be willing to make the best of resources to get work done. If you have the innate abilities of a genius kid, beautiful! (Also, lucky you) Otherwise, leave the work to experts. This is especially important in sensitive areas like sales, finances or technical implementation. That dream of you wearing 20 hats and running everything yourself should remain in lala-land. You’re awesome but you’re not Super Woman.
Send yourself future letters or emails
This might sound crazy but stay with me. There are great websites and apps that allow you write yourself emails due to being delivered say, in three months. I love starting my letters this way,
“Dear future me, by now you must have scored that East Grove Tower office and earned enough for a holiday in Maldives. Where are we at now?”
See, not hard. Believe it or not, these letters are a great source of motivation and accountability.
Share your dream with 5 people
You need regular enough feedback from sincere people. This way, you can constantly adapt and make progress toward your goal. These people should call you out when you fail on your business plans. They should challenge you to be the best you can be. Choose the No BS’er friend who will taunt you to action.
Finally, if you must be successful, you’ve got to work hard, very hard. The way you go about it is the difference between good and top-of-the-ladder great. While working hard, remain positive. Positivity is a virtue common to successful people. It’s that cultivated sense of success.
We have Walt Disney to thank for this quote, “Dreams come true… only if we have the courage to pursue them.” What steps are you taking in achieving your business dreams?
Some days ago on a road trip to IITA Ibadan for my company’s annual retreat, there was this huge debate between what I have chosen to call the new school modern family values enthusiasts and the old school traditional family values enthusiasts, over married women and their career choices/decisions.
It was a long and interesting conversation, voices were raised, opinions flew back and forth, words were exchanged (although with no ill intents), feelings and sentiments were bruised, perspectives were vehemently challenged and even faith was questioned. At the end of the trip (and as such the conversation), there was no victor and no vanquished, proving (yet again) that:
Opinions are formed over time, experiences and the accumulation of a body of knowledge and it takes more than one heated conversation to get people to change those opinions.
Back to the reason we are all gathered here today, I think that because of my age, most of the conversations I have with family, friends, acquaintances and even colleagues are pivoted around, you-guessed-right! Marriage. So, while we talk business, entrepreneurship, career and our shared ambition to take over the world, we should also take a moment to address the pink elephant in the room.
So, tag along while I attempt to dissect some of the concerns we young women have when it comes to the institution of marriage.
The validity of aspiring to marriage
With Chimamanda Adichie’s 2013 TED talk (made even popular by Beyonce’s inclusion in the song, Flawless) finding its way into mainstream culture and conversations, we women are gradually being liberated from that flawed conviction that marriage is the gold standard and a ‘mark of success in life’.
While this can be called progress in some ways, it also has its downsides. Hold on, let me explain. The feminist-driven academic and journalistic culture celebrating today’s “liberated” women, also in some ways, seeks to suppress a natural need for family that most women have.
In recent times, there has been a blizzard of anti-marriage sentiments shared vocally among the female folks especially across social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. And this is largely because most of them do not want to be seen as aspiring to marriage but hand on heart – and this is quite controversial. I do not know of one woman who does not want to have her own husband and possibly children to come home to after a long day at work.
When discussing the issue in an open and public platform, most young women would be quick to put up an air of indifference with respect to marriage but get her alone and the story would be entirely different. There, I’ve said it! (But let’s not forget that this is an entirely unscientific view based only on my circle of friends, acquaintances and interactions with random people).
Therefore, my take on this issue is rather simple: as much as marriage is not the holy grail of womanhood, I think wanting to be married and subsequently aspiring to it, is valid! As such, you are allowed to be intentional about it, as you are with work/business. (For more on this please try reading this from Dr. Meg Jay).
The dichotomy between marriage and work
In 2011, the COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg made a statement that went viral;
“The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry.”
I only came across this statement last year and it was insightful for me because it reaffirmed a conviction that I have always held and still hold; that the man I marry would take me one step closer to my biggest dreams. Before going further, I should clearly state that I have nothing against stay-at-home mums. On the contrary, any woman who readily gives up the fancy skirt suits and board meetings for house cleaning and grocery shopping has my respect.
However, I do not think that marriage and even motherhood has to be a stumbling block on a woman’s pathway to progress. Society typically expects the woman to lean back and make only those career moves that are convenient for her status as a married woman but that does not always have to be the case. Family is a collective and shared responsibility placed equally on both the man and the woman even though both have to function in different capacities. With proper planning, communication and understanding between partners, I believe it is possible for both to raise a decent family without anyone’s dreams or goals suffering for it.
This is where Sheryl’s statement becomes important. Because for this to happen and for this system to work, you need a man who acknowledges the validity of your dreams, believes in the weight of your ambitions and is ready and willing to support you towards reaching your goals regardless of what that ‘support’ might involve.
So yes, married or single, you are allowed to aspire to heights unimaginable in your personal and professional life and marriage if done right, would serve as a catalyst and not a distraction.
Knowing when enough is enough!
There are reports that say that every fourth Nigerian woman suffers some form of domestic violence in her life time. The worst forms of these are usually battering, trafficking, rape and homicide. And it seems only sensible that I lend my voice to this recurring social menace that is plaguing our society, the institution of marriage and women in particular. This is however not to say that men do not suffer domestic abuse or to disregard that possibility.
On this issue, there really isn’t so much I have to say that would be entirely new to you but this, LEAVE! If you unfortunately find yourself in an abusive relationship, before you consider any other solution or any form of therapy, get yourself out of that situation and environment. No man is allowed to hit you out of love or in an attempt to discipline you or for any other reason that you may want to let yourself believe.
So, for the young woman whose boyfriend angrily shoved her aside and slammed the door on his way out after she informed him of her decision to enroll for another master’s program, for the mother of 2 who got slapped because she scolded her son for spilling fruit juice all over his school uniform, my advice to you is simple. LEAVE!
I have to admit that this is definitely not the easiest thing to do especially with cultural and religious beliefs that advocate total submission and endurance of whatever treatment a woman gets from a man or her husband, as the case may be. But understand that submission as admirable as it is, should also not put you in danger or harm’s way. Many lives and dreams have been lost to domestic violence and yours should definitely not be one of those. Because if he hits you once he would hit you again, if he ever does hit you, please LEAVE!
I’d conclude by saying that as women, we cannot avoid all of the conversations around marriage but what we can do is carefully moderate that conversation in a way that encourages an exchange of perspectives that is beneficial to us all.
So what is your narrative?
Single and conflicted as to whether or not you should be actively seeking out a life partner?
Married and tempted to quit your job because someone thinks you are not capable of making both work?
In a relationship where your partner would rather dialogue with his fists than words?