From deciding on how you would like your life to be at a certain point in the future, to making that dream a reality - here are the 10 steps you need to follow to take control of your destiny.
1 Decide what you want
Sounds simple enough. The important thing though is to have a vision for all areas of your life, so it stays in balance. This helps avoid all work and no play, or all play and no work.
The way to do this is to sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and say to yourself: "I wake up on a Monday morning two years from now, and everything in my life is perfect, what does my life look like?"
You then write about every aspect of your life - work, business, finances, family, friends, possessions, etc.
If you don't feel comfortable with two years, change it to three or something else.
Note - this isn't saying 'do you think you can achieve this?'. Write out how you truly want all areas of your life to be without leaving things out due to doubts about your ability.
2 Write it out as if you've got it already
Now rewrite the visions from point one, making sure it is all in the present tense - 'I have, we have, we are', etc. Those should be the way each statement starts - not 'I want, I need, I hope'... that's not the way to do this. Write it out as if you are living that life now.
3 Read the vision a few times a day and feel what you would feel like when you are actually living that life
This is important. Our minds only show us things and give us ideas about things that it believes are relevant to us. For most of us the things we "want" are not relevant to us from our powerful subconscious mind. The things we have though are very relevant.
Example - when most of us want a new car, say a specific model and colour, we rarely, if ever, see them on the road. As soon as we get one though, we see them everywhere! So, has the universe put lots more out there overnight just to frustrate you? No - they were always around, you just didn't notice them because your mind didn't think it was relevant enough to distract your thought patterns from everyday thoughts.
The only thing that has changed from when you didn't see the cars to seeing them is you went from wanting one to having one!
This is why in point two we have to write our visions out as if we already have achieved them and feel like that in point three - then our minds will start to give us ideas or we will spot things that can help us lead to the goals we desire.
You don't need to know how you will achieve these goals; the 'how' ideas will come too.
The key is to keep thinking about the visions a few times a day, every day and feel good about it, keep doing it daily and in days, weeks or months, things will start to change as your mind notices and alerts you to solutions and opportunities that align with your visions.
4 Don't take advice from those less successful than you or with lower ambitions than you
This sounds harsh, I know, but so many times I see this happen. Someone comes up with an idea or goal for their future and they tell their family and friends. These family members and friends often say things like, "Are you sure you want to take on all that extra work or responsibility or risk?", along with something like, "You know you'll only be disappointed if it doesn't work out".
These people often care about us and that's why they are being protective but it can easily put us off going for what we really want.
Some years back I decided I wanted to become an author and be published by a top publishing house. Most people I told about this goal said it would never happen. They went on to explain how many manuscripts are sent in and how few are chosen. The thing is none of these people giving me this advice were published authors.
5 When ideas come up of what actions are needed - write them down
As mentioned earlier, once you start thinking about your vision and goals on a daily basis and feel good about them, ideas will come up of what needs to be done or could be done.
When those ideas come up, you need to write them down on your to do list.
6 Make an action plan and take action
For most people, things only get done when they make a to-do list AND take action on it. So, take your list made in point five and put a due date and details of the actions you need to take. It's a good idea to put the actions needed in your calendar so you have time allocated to them.
7 Why are you hesitating?
If you hesitate to take one of your actions because you find yourself saying something like "I can't do xxxx" remember to change that statement to "I won't do xxx because…." And list all the reasons why that is. This gives you a list of things you need to learn or explore deeper.
For example - say one of my actions is "Phone company x and find out about y" - I then catch myself saying "I can't phone them up and ask that" - so I turn it around and say to myself "I won't phone company x and ask about y because…."
Then things come to mind like "I won't know what to say", "They may not want to help me" etc
This is now a list of things to go and solve, search online or read books to develop the skills or confidence you need to take those actions.
8 If something doesn't work out, don't give up...
...Get curious about the outcome and think about what else could make it work. Don't give up. Find another way. Most success comes after many apparent failures.
In most instances failure isn't failure it is just an unexpected result.
Failure is often in our control and we only give up when we stop going for what we want, any disappointments along the way are unexpected results to be analysed and our method changed to go at it again.
9 If anything negative happens, respond rather than react or overreact - step away from the emotion and think logical
When most people hit a problem, they panic and start saying "This will never work, it's all gone wrong" - but successful people stay calm, they step back from the situation and say things like "OK, what could make this work?" or "What could I do to improve this?" Ideas then come up - maybe in a few minutes, maybe a few days.
10 Celebrate each mini goal
Keep at it and remember to celebrate every step or mini-goal achieved along the way to your ultimate vision and once you are living that vision you created in step one, it is time to set your next goal.
* Mark Rhodes is an entrepreneur, mentor, and international speaker. He is the author of 'How to Talk to Absolutely Anyone: Confident Communication for Work, Life and Relationships' (Capstone publishers)