Thoughts on Leadership: Owning Your Goals

By Gino Blefari

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” – Jim Rohn

This week my travels find me in Dallas at the MidAmerican Energy National Sales Meeting. I was invited to speak by Ed McGreen, president of MidAmerican Energy Services, LLC a Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company. It’s been an honor to share my knowledge with such inspired and dedicated sales professionals who thrive on goal setting and more importantly, owning those goals to completion.

If you’ve noticed, the theme for “Thoughts on Leadership” this month has been goals – how to set them, where to record them, when to review them – and one of the most important ways to ensure your goals are seen through to accomplishment is by owning them.

Goals aren’t just random strings of words, thrown together to fulfill some perfunctory assignment. Instead, think of them as life-changing nuggets of success, activated when you take ownership of each one and commit to its achievement. You alone are responsible for your success. Not your boss. Not your mentor. You. Other influential people may inspire your goals, but nobody is forcing your hand. If you want a goal to get done, you’re the one who has to do it.

There are, of course, certain known adversaries to goals, and those must be addressed, overcome and thwarted before they defeat you. Negative emotions—like anger, jealousy, rage, suspicion and self-pity—get in the way of goals. (As you know, I often laud the effects of a positive mindset on sustainable success.) Negativity itself can be broken down into several factors: justifying failure of a goal is acting negatively toward its completion; being overly concerned with the minutia of a goal is also a roadblock to getting it done; taking a challenge or small setback personally is a contribution toward negativity; and blaming others is the most offensive and negative thing you can do in the arena of goal-setting.

One of the difficulties in accomplishing goals is that we often disconnect ourselves from the accomplishment. If it’s a goal for our company, we may not see it as our goal. If it’s a goal for a team, it also may not be our goal.

For any goal, think of yourself as being self-employed in the business of your life. You’re the one steering the ship that’s guiding you toward greater success. Fate is no longer a nebulous concept floating above you but now a tangible destination you can reach with your own hands.

To fully own your goals, here are seven points to ponder:

  1. What’s the most stressful thing in your life right now contributing to your negativity?
  2. When thinking about this major stress in your life, in what ways are you responsible for the situation?
  3. Pretend you’re the CEO of your own company. How would you act differently if you were completely responsible for its success?
  4. Make a pledge to stop blaming anyone but yourself for the failures in your life and/or business. What are three positive actions you can take to turn your losses into wins?
  5. Everyone makes excuses. Take out your journal and list some of your favorites. Common examples might include: I have no time. I’m not smart enough. I’m too inexperienced. I’m not good with technology. Then, review your list and pretend it’s a work of fiction, a fabricated story someone else created to prevent your greatest success. How would you live your life knowing none of these excuses are real?
  6. Now that you have your journal, on the next page, make a list of the people who you must forgive in your life. Whether their offences were big or small, leave no one off the list. Review the list and tell yourself you’ll forgive them all. Make this the moment you let it go. Then, become so busy owning and crushing your goals, you have no time to even think about why you were upset with these people in the first place.
  7. Imagine you are the creative driver of your life. No one else is more creative than you when it comes to finding and executing solutions. As this supreme creative individual, what would you do first to ensure your goals are accomplished?

So, what’s the message? One of the most powerful ways to achieve your goals is by owning them. But owning goals doesn’t just mean carrying them around with you in a journal that you purchased. It means eliminating the negativity that forces you to disown and disassociate with them and replacing it with positivity, productivity and a deeply personal passion for owning your undeniable ability to accomplish your goals.

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