When tackling a new goal there are four things that will help ensure success. I refer to these as PACE—Purpose, Attitude, Challenges, and Expectations.
The first thing one must do in planning for success in any project or goal is to define the purpose. This is not the same thing as naming the goal. When you set the purpose, you are providing a reason for your goal. This could be as simple as “because I am hungry,” if you are trying a new recipe, or “because I want to challenge myself,” if you are trying to run a marathon. On the business side of things, your purpose should relate in some way to your company’s mission statement and overall goals. Failing to understand a purpose for tackling a goal often prompts people to put less effort into achieving it. Individual goals may be given up on prematurely by lazy or undisciplined people, and business goals may not be taken seriously when a purpose is not provided.
The second key to success is having the proper attitude to complete your objective. If you go into a task with doubt in your abilities or disregard to the importance of the objective, you are just setting yourself up for failure. One does not learn to cook by constantly reminding him/herself of all the times they burnt the food or made people sick. Instead, they remember what not to do and learn from it, hoping that next time will be better. (seek help though if it was really bad) Similarly, one will never complete a marathon if they constantly complain about being out of shape or the bad weather. Having a bad attitude in a business sense could be even more detrimental to the successful completion of a goal. Not only do you limit your personal productivity, but you can also create a negative atmosphere with those you work with and end up limiting their productivity as well. There will always be things may not have gone as planned or are not in an ideal state, but there is a difference between winners and losers in the race to success. Winners find ways to learn from or overcome the obstacles that may be slowing them down. Losers just find excuses for those same obstacles to hold them back.
The third key to success is to create smaller goals or challenges for yourself or your team. By setting smaller goals on a bigger task, it makes the overall goal less daunting. How many times have you made a huge goal for yourself only to get overwhelmed by the amount of work and effort it required to complete? By setting smaller goals, you are creating milestones that are much easier to tackle. Sometimes these challenges can be designed to improve your skill in a particular area. Each challenge should relate back to your purpose of the goal. If you are cooking for example, your smaller goal could be to acquire all the ingredients and make sure you have the proper equipment if you are simply hungry. If your purpose was to improve your cooking ability, you would set your challenge as studying and trying out a new technique for cooking your meal. If you are running, you must decide if you simply want to finish the marathon or if you want to compete for a specific time. Training could consist of simply adding a mile per week to the previous distance, or it could be more intense in an effort to get the best time. When leading a team that may have free will in how they accomplish the goal, you should make an effort to ensure that they make challenges that best suit the purpose of the goal and not individual objectives. You do not want someone producing sloppy work just because they had an objective to get out of work early.
The final step to success is very similar to the first three in that it is a reiteration of the purpose and smaller goals/ challenges made earlier. The difference in this step though is being able to picture the final outcome and every step in between. What results do you expect to see with the completion of your goal? Are you expecting a mouth-watering meal, or another failure? Are you picturing yourself crossing the finish line of the marathon with all your friends cheering for you, or are you expecting to find yourself collapsed on the ground somewhere from exhaustion? Is the business project going to end with a big promotion or more clients, or is it just wasting the company’s time and money? The expectations you place on your goal plays a big impact on the attitude you or your team will have in making it happen. The more you can picture the success of your goal, the greater chance you will have in making that success a reality. If you picture failure, your attitude will be one of defeat and your goal will likely end up exactly as pictured.
So set your expectations high, but reasonable. Meaning expect success, but don’t push yourself or your team beyond their capabilities as humans. That just creates negative attitudes when challenges are unable to be accomplished. Create smaller, achievable goals that are on track with your purpose and aim to keep your/ your teams attitude positive. This is your PACE for success, so start making those goals a reality.