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Why are you reading this right NOW? What decision compelled you to click on this page? Have you ever thought about why you do what you do...
(I contemplate this often)
In lives, decisions define us. They determine whether we seize opportunities or let
them pass us by. Many of you have probably seen the following slogan related to 2B:
Dreams › Goals › Objectives › DECISIONS › Success
This is a flowchart that depicts a necessary progression for many events in life. And let’s start simple—what have you done today? Went to the grocery store (yum yum, me too)? OK, so you had the goal of cooking a healthy dinner, you had the objective of going to the grocery store to buy food and whether you found the food determined your success in the endeavor. But you had to make the decision to get in the car and drive there. Understand?
Of course, this is a painfully simple example of something we do every day (and it somewhat ignores the dream element—unless you dream of food), but think of how it would apply to some of the loftier aspirations in life—getting in shape, landing a job, conquering a fear, having a family—things that are not so clearly defined.
So, let’s dissect each of these elements individually and talk about how to tie them all together:
Dreams: dream (noun) 1. something that somebody hopes, longs, or is ambitious for, usually something difficult to attain or far removed from present circumstances
2. to want something very much and imagine having or doing it, though it may be unlikely
This is where it all starts. Everybody dreams. We dream of what we want—car, house, job, body, family, friends, LIFE—in other words, what we want 2B. Everything good starts with a dream.
Dreams can be in the conscious and subconscious. Dreams in the conscious mean we are aware of what we want 2B (if you have this awareness, what’s stopping you from acting on it?), others have only a vague, non-concrete idea and their dreams reside primarily in the subconscious—beneath the surface. But both dreams symbolize something different from the present. Neither type is good or bad, because both require more concrete steps to develop the dream into a reality.
In general, dreams lack specificity. Sort of like when you were young and you dreamed of being a doctor or lawyer, you probably didn’t dream of being an oncologist or a criminal defense attorney. This lack of detail is one of the primary reasons that dreams are never acted up. It’s so much easier to say, “I’d love 2B a (fill in the blank),” but then never see it through. Many people have many dreams and the first step is identifying that your dream is indeed what you truly want. It is not a fantasy and it is not a flash in the pan. It is identifiable and compelling. The second step makes the dream take shape by setting goals…
Examples of Dreams:
Goals: goal (noun) 1. purpose toward which an endeavor is directed
2. something that somebody wants to achieve
Goals add something specific and tangible to the dreams and take it a step further. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve something unless you have a clearly defined goal. Think of it like this—if you were going to pack up and drive to your favorite city in the United States (figuring you don’t already live there), your favorite city is your goal, or destination. Thus, a dream is knowing you want 2B somewhere other than where you are now. A goal is where you want to go. The question is, do you know how to get there?
There are three different types of goals—Outcome Goals, Performance Goals, and Process Goals. Of these, Process Goals and Performance Goals are by far the best, but the problem is, most people focus almost solely on Outcome Goals. An Outcome Goal typically deals with winning or losing, and success or failure. It is painted black and white with not a lot of gray. Placing in the top 10 in a local race is an example of an outcome goal. Herein lies the problem—can you do anything to control how fast the other people race? No, you cannot. You can only control your own performance. Thus, you could have the race of your life and still come up short. Remember this when it comes to your family, your friends, your boss, your peers, and the other people on the road (yes, I’m talking about road rage)—you can only control your own emotions and your own performance.
A Process Goal involves the underlying methods to get you to an outcome. Say you want to lose 20 pounds—Process Goals include getting enough sleep each night, eating healthy, doing regular strength training, and varying the intensity of your cardiovascular exercise, etc… These processes are fully in your control and are much easier to focus on than the end destination.
Performance Goals are you competing against yourself, which is a fundamental principle of 2B. I LOVE these types of goals. At the end of the day this should be all that matters—trying to get a little bit better each day. In the previous paragraph, losing 20 pounds is a Performance Goal (an outcome goal would be comparing your weight loss with someone else). 2B works with many runners, cyclists and triathletes, and a PR in a race is an excellent example of a Performance Goal. And if we all took the time to focus on one specific thing we could improve about our life performance, just imagine the possibilities…
Examples of Goals:
Objectives: ob·jec·tive (noun) 1. a target or purpose
2. free of any bias or prejudice caused by personal feelings
Objectives are the roadmap to your goals. They comprise two very important factors—an analysis of where you currently are (in the Goals example, the city you are in) and what specific steps need to be taken to get there.
So, your favorite city is San Francisco (the Goal)…now you need to know where you are driving from. If you are driving from Los Angeles, Dallas, or Seattle, your path to get there is going to be very different. Without a clearly defined starting point you have no idea which way to go. You will go somewhere but it could be in the completely wrong direction. And 2B doesn't want you going in the wrong direction.
Another easy analogy is to think of objectives like stairs. Each “step” is an objective that will help get you to the top (the goal). What specific stairs do you need to climb to get you where you want 2B? Sorry, there are no elevators in these situations…only stairs.
Objectives are detailed, executable actions that move you in the right direction and get you closer to your goals. There is no ambiguity and there should be no confusion as to what needs to be done. Once you have established objectives to get to your goal, you have done all the work necessary to carrying out your dream—you just need to make the decisions…
Examples of Objectives:
Goal—I want to have six-pack abs
Goal—I want to PR in a 10k
Goal—I want a managerial promotion
DECISIONS: de·ci·sion (noun) 1. the ability to choose or decide about things, after considering it and other possible choices, in a clear and definite way without too much hesitation or delay
You’ve done great up to this point, but nothing matters if you don’t make the proper decisions to carry out your dreams, goals and objectives. This is where the rubber meets the road and you either put up or shut up. I’ve seen a lot of people that have done all the planning necessary to make extraordinary gains with their brain and body, but they sabotage their efforts by not following through with their decisions. But you will be different…you will make the decisions necessary for success.
Everyday we make decisions—we make them with our brain and we make them with our body. It is an interactive relationship and to make consistently positive, progressive decisions we need to acknowledge what is happening and the affect that one has on the other (see The 2B Formula for more examples). How does a “bad mood” (brain) affect how your body feels? Try these:
Similarly, how does a tired body affect the way your brain functions? How about:
Decisions don’t come easy—for anyone. How many times have you seen the person that eats well all the time, works out regularly, is always on time and is always happy? Yes, that person drives me nuts, too. But you can be that person—or more like that person—with the proper decisions! And that is what we do with 2B—we focus on the small, manageable decisions to get the ball rolling and keep the momentum moving. Remember, nobody wakes up successful. Nobody wakes up in shape. And very few people wake up fulfilled. These are uncommon things that, sadly, very few people truly experience—and they are all brought about by proper decisions.
So, tomorrow as you’re going through your day, pay attention to some of the “simple” decisions that you make everyday and ask yourself why you make them. Get to know yourself better. Are your decisions—personally, professionally, physically, spiritually—leading you closer to the person you’d like 2B? If the answer is yes, awesome! Good for you! If the answer is no, don’t sweat it. Just ask yourself the $64,000 question (no phoning a friend)—what is stopping you from making these helpful decisions? Because these decisions breed confidence…and confidence breeds success.
Success: suc·cess (noun) 1. the achievement or attainment of something planned or attempted
Success is a wonderful thing—I don’t think there is anything better in life than to feel like you’ve succeeded. It can be as simple as fixing the vacuum cleaner or as complex as rocket science, but setting a goal, having the guts to go after it, and realizing the achievement is a great thing. For me, it occurs as I’m tossing and turning in bed each night. I reflect upon the day and I realize that my best days are the ones in which I achieved something—no matter how big or small. My worst days are when I lay on the couch all day and do absolutely nothing beneficial for myself or anyone else (yes, I have those too). But, thankfully, those are few and far between.
So, now the $125,000 question is, how do you define success? While you contemplate the answer, let me share with you the other definition of success:
2. somebody who is wealthy, famous, or powerful because of a record of achievement
Very interesting, and not the least bit surprising because these are the adjectives society equates to success.
Are all wealthy people successful? Wealth is probably the most common trait that we use to measure success. If you make more money you are more successful, right? I would respectfully disagree. Wealthy people are not necessarily successful, they are secure. And trust me, there is a huge difference. If health, work/life balance, and overall everyday fulfillment are measures of success, I’ve seen more than a few wealthy people come up short.
And then there is fame. Fame typically means you’re wealthy, so at least you’re 2/2. I don’t read a lot of celebrity gossip, but I would be cautious of equating fame to success as well. Just because you’re famous does not make you successful—it just makes you well known.
When someone says the word “powerful,” who do you think of? President? CEO? Coach? Teacher? I tend to think of powerful people not monetarily or in terms of job title, but in their ability to influence and inspire. And by this definition, I’ve seen some extremely powerful people (and successful people) in places you least expect them—namely churches and schools.
So what’s my point?
One thing I’ve come to realize is that success isn’t the only barometer one should use for happiness, or fulfillment. I do not succeed in everything I do—far from it. But having the courage to attempt something is very gratifying. One of my favorite saying is, “How would you live your life if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Think about it—for most people (hopefully not you) the first thing they think of when presented with a challenge is what will happen if they fail. How will they feel? What will others think? What will happen next? Don’t live your life paralyzed by fear—live it driven by desire.
A useful exercise can be to write down the top ten ways you would define success—in all aspects of life. This includes physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, monetarily, socially, and relationally. Some of these may weigh heavier than others for you but until you define your own individual criteria for success, you’ll need to worry about whether your dreams are real, or whether your dreams are based on societal standards. By now you know the difference…
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