How to Build a Personal Brand that Stands Out
How to Develop a Plan to Achieve Your Goals
Where there is no vision in a company, people are eventually reduced to simply going through the motions, operating from day to day, with no idea of the kind of future they are supposed to be creating. ~ Brian Tracy
In this post, I’m going to give you a 9-step all-inclusive procedure on how to develop a plan to achieve your goal. As someone trying to create an outstanding Authentic Personal Brand, you have already defined your vision in step 1.5. Now, we are going to get into more specific details about how you’re going to develop a plan and break down your goals (defined by your vision) into objectives, strategies, plans and actions.
STEP ONE: DECIDE EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT
You’ve already thought about the 8 different areas of your life and hopefully come up with an ideal image in each area (step 1.5 of this guide). Now, it’s time to break down each long-term vision into smaller goals. There are essentially bitesize goals that are easier to comprehend and handle.
It’s essential that you know the difference between goals and wishes. A real goal is SMART. A wish or a hope is blurry and unclear.
A S.M.A.R.T. Goal is:
- Specific. What exactly will the goal accomplish?
- Measurable. How will you measure whether or not the goal has been reached (list at least two indicators)? What would have to be done for you to say you’ve achieved this goal?
- Achievable. Is it possible? Have others done it successfully?
- Realistic: Do you have the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, and resources to accomplish the goal at this time?
- Time-bound. What is the reasonable completion date?
Let me give you an example here: Let’s suppose you’re an author and your goal for the next 3 years in the Financial Area of your life is to earn 3 times as much as you’re earning now. It might sound like a difficult task to do. However, you know there are other authors earning that kind of money and, definitely, you see yourself more capable of what you’re doing now and willing to put in more effort. Then, your SMART goal would be:
Earn $200,000 a year by the end of year 2019
STEP TWO: WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS AND THE REASON WHY YOU MUST REACH THEM
A study at Harvard University showed that only 3% of people have clear written goals, and the same 3% do up to 10 times better than the other 97% combined!
Something happens when you put pen to paper and you write down your goals. The idea takes physical shape and gets a step closer to becoming a reality. Also, when you write down your goals, you’re actually taking action, which in turn build momentum. Besides, you become more committed to something you have expressed in a tangible form than something vague you just muse over in your mind.
Another important thing you should do is writing down the reasons why you have to achieve that goal. Reasons come first, answers second. If you don’t have strong enough reasons, you might become overwhelmed with distractions along the way or the path may become too difficult for you to follow. Write down the reasons why there’s no way you can let go of your goals.
STEP THREE: CHANGE YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS
The theory of blank slate says that each person comes into the world with no thoughts or ideas at all, and everything that a person thinks and believes is learned from birth onward. Everything you are today is the result of an idea that you accepted as true because of something that has happened to you, something that somebody told you, or some teachings of an authority such as a teacher, a parent, a book or media. When you believe something is true, it becomes true for you, whatever the fact may be. Henry Ford says, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.”
In every case, if you want to change your performance and your results in any area of your life, you have to change your beliefs about yourself for that area. Fortunately, your beliefs are not the Truth. They are not always based on facts. In other words, your true is not necessarily the Truth.
I have good news for you. You can replace a limiting belief with a more empowering one. Yeah, you’re not a victim. It’s your choice. You may ask me, “How do I go about doing that?” You see, the way to overcome a limiting belief is to challenge it. And there are several ways to do this, such as asking the person who holds this belief for proofs, providing evidence to the contrary and exploring the effect this belief has had on his/her life.
For example, let’s suppose my imaginary friend Tonya, who is standing here, wants to learn skiing at the age of 55, but she thinks nobody can learn skiing at that kind of age.
Now, let’s help her challenge her belief, shall we? OK, Tonya, I’m going ask you a few questions and please listen carefully and be honest with your answers: Can you provide proofs for your belief that you definitely can’t learn anything new at all? How about a new recipe for a meal, or some trick for a game? Another question for you: how has this limiting belief of yours affected you and how do you feel about yourself? Don’t you want to change that? Don’t you want to make your loved ones proud of you? One last question for you Tonya: Suppose you’ve broken through this limit and accomplished your goal. How would you think, act and feel?
You see how it works. Does that make sense?
STEP FOUR: THINK OF EVERYTHING YOU MUST DO AND GET IN ORDER TO REACH YOUR GOAL
Make a list of everything that you are going to have to do if you want to make your goal a reality. Are you going to have to put in extra hours and work a little harder? Write it down. Are you going to have to upgrade your knowledge and skills, and take additional courses? Again, write it down. Are you going to have to change cities, change industries, or change careers in order to achieve your goals? Write it down.
Many people sabotage their own success by not being willing to pay the full price and not taking 100% responsibility for their goal. Brian Tracy in his book Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life says, “This is like wanting to experience the panoramic view of the hill top, but not wanting to put in the effort to climb the hill.” By failing to make a total commitment, you’re definitely guaranteeing your failure.
STEP FIVE: MAKE A DETAILED PLAN
Practice “back from the future” thinking. Project into the future and imagine what your life would look like if you achieved all of your goals. Then look at the path that you would have to take to get to where you want to be in the future.
Make a list of all the activities that you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal. Once you have made your list, you can add always new items as they occur to you. Then organize your list in terms of PRIORITY and SEQUENCE.
For example, going back to the example of the author at the beginning of the post, you might say, “To make $200,000 a year, I can break it down this way: around $50,000 from my book, $50,000 from my teaching and consulting, and $100,000 from my speaking engagements. For the book sales, I should attract $1,000 true fans who’d be willing to spend $50 a year on my products: book and seminars. For that, I’d have to ……”
STEP SIX: TAKE ACTION ON YOUR PLAN IMMEDIATELY
Never leave the site of goal-setting without taking action. As Ralph W. Emerson beautifully put it, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” This small action will build momentum and get you going in the direction of your goal.
STEP SEVEN: DO SOME FOCUSED WORK EVERY DAY
Success is always the matter of taking baby-steps, sticking with it till you master it and then making the steps bigger and bigger. If you want to make sure you won’t lose momentum, never miss a day without doing something of value in the direction of your goals. For you to maintain your courage, confidence, and self-motivation, you must be doing something every single day that gives you a feeling of forward motion and progress.
STEP EIGHT: MEASURE PROGRESS/ BE FLEXIBLE
Successful people monitor their progress constantly. Look at the small deliverables you came up with while you were breaking down the goal/task in step five. Always be checking how you’re doing against your plan. Change details if necessary all the while trying to have the big picture in mind.
It’s absolutely necessary to know that you are never going to give up on your dream, but this doesn’t mean you have to keep banging on a closed door when there is an open one very close by. Take a step back, evaluate the situation, be flexible and take a detour if you need to.
STEP NINE: KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED THROUGHOUT THE WAY
Resolve in advance that you will never quit once you have started toward your goal. I recommend you read my bog post on the 15 keys to creating and maintaining motivation.
Finally, never compare your current level of accomplishment with a successful accomplished person. Almost everyone who is on the top today was once at the bottom. Almost everyone who is at the front of the line of life was once at the back of the line. Almost everyone who is wealthy today was once poor. So, it’s never too late to dream another dream if you’re willing to take the nine steps above to develop a plan to achieve your goals.
Dr. Shahab Anari is a Personal Branding strategist, coach, and speaker. He is the co-author with Brian Tracy of the upcoming book Ignite Your Life.