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I’m New Here

I’m New Here

Before Apple, personal computers seemed like a stupid idea. eBay was founded by some people looking for a web-facing way to trade and sell parts of their PEZ collection. Getting Things Done is nothing more than practical wisdom, years old in content, reskinned to meet the needs of people’s current conditions. So, how did they come into existence and change our world?

Someone said, “I’m new here.”

New is the new Black

Experience is overrated at times. History is littered with roomfuls of stodgy men grumbling and clearing their throats and saying, “It can’t be done. That’s proposterous! We’ve done it this way for fifty years with moderate success.”

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Shortly thereafter, the newcomer shows up and turns thinking on its side. There are really countless examples of this happening, but for whatever reason, I’m thinking mostly of web businesses. Netflix came along and stuck one in Blockbuster’s eye. Amazon told the big bookstores they were fine, but watch this! 37Signals came along and threw together a programming framework that made web development silly-easy.

But how do they do it? How does “new” end up equalling “super big success?”

New, but Thoughtful

When people enter a situation with eyes open to possibilities and paths that aren’t the pre-established thinking, it gives them a free pass. “You are new here. This is your first time seeing it. What’s your take?” This does not equal insight, nor wisdom, nor thoughtful consideration.

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One needs to actually apply thinking to the new scenario to find the magic in “new.”

Perspective-changing is a skill, like any other. To see things with your “new” lens, start seeing your existing situations, the ones around you daily, with that viewpoint. Why are you typing on a keyboard? Is that easier than other ways to push information into a computer? When Xerox-PARC created the mouse, were they thinking about keyboards?

New Requires Anthropologists

Look at everything as if you’re an alien who’s just landed on this planet. Consider everything around you. Why do we live in one community and drive an hour to work somewhere else? Isn’t the work nearby just as necessary to be accomplished? What makes everyone choose to build websites for social community? Shouldn’t we gather in real-space?

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Be wary of your cultural experiences as a distorter. I’m from the USA, and specifically New England. I was raised Catholic. I’m of Irish/French/Scottish descent. I am male. I’m moderately educated. These are all lenses to consider when talking about things. Have you every heard this expression: “In America, 100 years is a long time; in Europe, 100 miles is a long distance.” Think about the lens you bring to your considerations, and try as best as you can to correct for it.

Use your notepad. Write notes frequently about things that seem awkward or odd. Each one is a possibility. They all lead your brain towards larger realizations. They help you get up and above the in-line experience that others can’t shake. This brings you closer to new.

New Requires Checking Your Ego

The things people who see things with “new” eyes hear back when they discuss their vision is, “That will never work. That’s been tried. That’s done. That’s stupid.” Learn to press forward politely, and ask questions. “What would you do differently? Show me how it really is.” And then, take those comments in context. Is this just because the other person is stuck in the old framework? Or do they really have information that you hadn’t considered? Use it.

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A great trick one of my bosses taught me was to bring something to the picnic, check my ego, and let people tear it apart. Especially good is when the something isn’t directly important to my needs or viewpoint of the “new” something. Meaning, I can let others correct and better my view of things that are in the “old” setting, freeing more mind share for the “new” things.

Begin

Everyone has ideas. Everyone is certain they know what would make a great new invention. The difference between people who are successful and people who know the names of those successful people is as simple as this: the people who bring change to the world do so by beginning. Start. Do something. It can be the wrong thing. Better if it is. Because you should be able to learn. Learn from the early failures. Turn them forward. Discard the negative feelings, and push it forward.

And when you’re done, share your something new with the world. We’re waiting.

— Chris Brogan tries out new things often at [chrisbrogan.com]. He wrote a companion article to this, “In the business, ON the business,” that might prove interesting to you. His new thing is here.

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How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever

How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever

Achieving personal goals deserves a huge amount of celebration but setting these goals in the first place is a massive achievement in itself.

While the big goals serve as a destination, the journey is probably the most important part of the process. It reflects your progress, your growth and your ability take control and steer your life towards positive change.

Whatever your goal is, whether it’s losing 20lbs or learning a new language, there will always be a set amount of steps you need to take in order to achieve it. Once you’ve set your sights on your goal, the next stage is to take an assertive path towards how you will get there.

The aim of this article is to guide you through how to take action towards your personal goals in a way that will help you achieve them strategically and successfully.

1. Get very specific

When it comes to setting your personal goals, honing in on its specifics is crucial for success.

It’s common to have a broad idea of where you want to go or what you want to achieve, but this can sabotage your efforts in the long run.

Get clear on what you want your goal to look like so you can create solid steps towards it.

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Say you have a vision on retiring early. This goal feels good to you and you can envision filling your days of work-free life with worldly adventures and time with loved ones.

If retiring early is a serious personal goal for you, you will need to insert a timeframe. So your goal has changed from “I’d like to someday retire early and travel the world” to “I’m going to retire by 50 and travel the world”.

It may not seem significant, but creating this tweak in your goal by specifying a definite time, will help create and structure the steps needed to achieve it in a more purposeful way.

2. Identify the preparation you need to achieve your goal

It’s easy to set a goal and excitedly, yet aimlessly move towards it. But this way of going about achieving goals will only leave you eventually lost and feeling like you’ll never achieve it.

You have to really think about what you need to do in order to make this goal possible. It’s all very well wanting it to happen, but if you just sit back and hope you’ll get there one day will result in disappointment.

Self-managing your goals is a crucial step in the process. This involves taking control of your goal, owning it and making sure you are in a great position to make it happen.

In the early retirement example, this would mean you will need to think about your financial situation.

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What will your finances ideally need to look like if you were to retire early and travel the world? How much money will you need to put into your retirement fund to retire at 50? How much extra savings will you need to support your travels? You could also start researching the places you’d like to travel to and how long you’d like to travel for.

Outlining these factors will, not only make your goal seem more tangible, but also create a mind shift to one of forward motion. Seeing the steps more clearly will help you make a more useful plan of action and seeing your goal as a reality.

3. Breakdown each step into more manageable goals

The secret to achieving your goals is to create smaller goals within each step and take action. Remember, you’re looking for progress, no matter how small it may seem.

These small steps build up and get you to the top. By doing this, you also make the whole process much less daunting and overwhelming.

In the early retirement scenario, there are several smaller goals you could implement here:

  • Decide to make an appointment with a financial advisor asking what financial options would be available to you if you were to go into early retirement and travel. Get advice on how much you would need to top up your funds in order to reach your goal on time.
  • Set up and start to make payments into the retirement fund.
  • Research savings accounts with good rates of interest and commit to depositing a certain amount each month.
  • Make sure you meet with your financial advisor each year to make sure your retirement plan remains the best one for you. Research new savings accounts to move your money into to reap the best returns in interest rates.
  • Start investing in travel books, building up a library that covers where you want to go.
  • Think about starting a language course that will help you get the most out of your travel experience.

4. Get started on the journey

Creating a goal planner in which you can start writing down your next steps is where the magic happens. This is where the real momentum towards your dream starts!

Create a schedule and start by writing in when you will start the first task and on which day. Commit to completing this small task and feel the joy of crossing it off your list. Do this with every little step until your first mini goal has been reached.

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In the early retirement example, schedule in a meeting with a financial advisor. That’s it. Easy.

As I mentioned before, it may seem such a small step but it’s the momentum that’s the most important element here. Once you cross this off, you can focus on the meeting itself, then once that’s ticked off, you are in a position of starting a profitable retirement fund…and so the momentum continues. You are now on your journey to achieving your dream goal.

5. Create an annual review

Taking a step back and reviewing your progress is essential for keeping yourself on the right track. Sometimes you can be moving full steam ahead towards your goal but miss seeing the opportunities to improve a process or even re-evaluate your feelings towards the goal.

Nominate a day each year to sit down and take a look at your progress. Celebrate your achievements and how far you’ve come. But also think about changing any of the remaining steps in light of new circumstances.

Has anything changed? Perhaps you got a promotion at work and you feel you can add more to your monthly savings.

Do you still feel the same about your goal? It’s normal for our desires to change over time and our personal goals need to reflect this.

Perhaps you’d like to take someone new with you on your travels and you need to take this into account regarding timelines. Are there any new steps you want to add as a result?

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Remember, reflection is a useful tool in realigning your goal to any changes and it’s important to keep on the right trajectory towards it.

Strive to become the best goal-setter you can be

Having personal goals gives you purpose and the feeling of becoming a better version of yourself.

But it’s the smaller steps within these big goals that the growth and achievement really lies:

  • Whatever your goal is, make sure you get specific on when you want to achieve it. This helps you focus on the necessary steps much more efficiently.
  • Research the actionable steps required to get to the end result and…
  • Break these down into smaller, manageable goals.
  • Create a daily or weekly schedule for these smaller goals and start the positive momentum.
  • Reflect each year on your goal journey and purpose, readjusting steps according to changes in circumstance or desire.

Keep going and always have the end goal in sight. Remember the ‘why’ behind your goal throughout to keep you motivated and positive.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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