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10 Things Successful People do to Reach their Dreams

10 Things Successful People do to Reach their Dreams

Everyone has dreams but not everyone possesses the power, knowledge and ability to make their dreams a reality. All successful people possess certain truths and habits, principles that make them the success that they are. I have carried out an intense research on habits of successful men and women. In this article, I have compiled below a comprehensive list of the top 10 things successful people do to reach their dreams. Come with me on a journey as we learn from these great men.

1. They set goals and follow through on them.

It is one thing to set a goal and it’s another thing to achieve that goal. Almost everyone sets goals but only a few possess the guts and discipline to follow through on those goals. At the beginning of every year, we all make resolutions about things we want to start or stop doing. If you look back to the first day of this year, can you proudly say that you have achieved 40% of your goals? Anthony Robbins is a very good example of someone who knows how to follow through on his goals. This amazing guy went from earning $38,000 to $1 Million in just one year. The great oil billionaire H.L. Hunt once said that there are only two real requirements for success: first, he said, is to decide exactly what is it you want, second is to determine the price you are going to have to pay and resolve to pay that price. Obey this rule and you will be successful; ignore it and you will remain a local champion.

2. They are consistent.

Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that 10,000 hours of guided practice is the key to success. While some scientists may not totally agree with that principle, I believe that there is more truth in it than lies. For you to become truly excellent at whatever it is you do, you need to be consistent at it. Cherish every opportunity you have to do what you love and do it well. All successful people know this secret.

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3. They make the best of every situation.

Horatio G. Spafford had just lost his son to scarlet fever and his lifetime investments were lost in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. On a trip to Europe in 1873, his wife and four daughters were involved in a tragic ship wreck which claimed the life of his four daughters. After the incident, Horatio’s wife, Anna sent him a telegram to inform him of the accident. On receiving Anna’s telegram, Horatio immediately left Chicago to bring his wife home. Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean the captain of the ship called Horatio to the bridge. He informed Horatio that they were now passing the spot where his daughters drowned. That night, alone in his cabin, Horatio Spafford wrote one of the greatest hymns of all time “It is well with my soul”. He turned adversity into advantage and for that reason; he became one of the few men of his time that are still remembered today. If you are going to become successful, you must be ready and able to make the best of every situation because tough times will definitely come.

4. They take responsibility for their lives.

Nothing ever happens to us by chance. Our life today is a reflection of our past decisions and the choices we make today will shape our future. In the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006), the story of Chris Gardner was told. Christopher Paul Gardner’s childhood was marked by poverty, violence, alcoholism, sexual abuse, and family illiteracy. He didn’t even know his father and he was taken away from his mother at a very tender age, as he lived in foster homes for a large part of his childhood. He is now a CEO, investor, motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist. In fact, his book spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times best seller list and has been translated into more than forty languages. You can see that despite his unfortunate childhood, he didn’t accept the fate he was handed. He took responsibility for his life and he resolved to make a difference. He used what he had to get what he wanted.

5. They form valuable relationships.

Behind every successful Steve Jobs is a Steve Wozniak and there is a Paul Allen behind every successful Bill Gates. You need to have people that will help you achieve your dreams; believe me, you can’t do it alone. You need mentors, partners, employees, spouse and so on. Some of the criteria for finding good partners and mentors are compatibility, experience, similar values, loyalty, and mutual benefit among many others.

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6. They make unusual sacrifices.

A man was born in 1918; he disappeared from view in 1964 after giving a four-hour speech at his trial where he was convicted and received a life sentence. He spent 27 years in prison because he wouldn’t compromise his political beliefs. Released in 1990, he won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, became the president of South Africa in 1994, and has since then received more than 250 other honors. As you have probably guessed, his name is Nelson Mandela. He made a huge sacrifice for his nation and he finally got what he had dreamt about for over three decades.

Let me tell you another story. In order to generate $1,350 in capital they used to start Apple, Steve Jobs sold his Volkswagen microbus and Steve Wozniak sold his Hewlett-Packard calculator. They each made what was then a big sacrifice but it was really a small price to pay considering the fact that Apple is currently worth over $80 Billion. You need to make your own sacrifices now so that people can tell your story in the years to come.

7. They never give up.

Real estate mogul Donald Trump is currently worth over $2.7 Billion, not bad considering the fact that he was previously indebted to the tune of $900 Million. The world didn’t end for him when he lost all he had and was bankrupt. He actually borrowed more money and kept trying until he made it.

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Thomas Edison tried over 10,000 times to make a light bulb before he succeeded. We would probably still be in darkness now had he given up. The toughest card life deals you and me is the test of time. Only those with resilience and the willingness to persevere will pass this test.

8. They take risks.

Every successful man or woman is a risk taker. When we were children, the society and the people closest to us shaped our lives. For instance, your parents probably told you to go to school, finish with good grades and get a good job. Everything our society preaches to us is get security and this is why whenever you want to take any big decision in life or do something out of the ordinary, you get scared. The difference between a success and a failure is that a failure runs away from his fears while successful people run towards their fears. “Do one thing every day that scares you,” said Eleanor Roosevelt. If you don’t take that advice, you are never going to grow and you can as well forget about becoming successful.

9. They cherish hard work and discipline.

Brian Tracy defined self discipline as the ability to make yourself do what you should do when you should do it whether you feel like it or not. I write everyday not because writing is so interesting but because I have to do it if I’m going to succeed as a writer. You need to really develop this habit because there is no other way to become successful. Rose Blumkin founded Nebraska Furniture Mart which is now owned by Warren Buffet. She worked every day at her store till the age of 103; she got ‘work sick’ the only time she took a vacation for about a week. She knew the value of hard work. To become successful in life, you need to find what you love doing and do it with all your heart. “With faith, discipline and selfless devotion is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve,” said Muhammad Ali.

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10. They create value.

Value attracts wealth and attention. Becoming successful can be simply defined as solving a problem. Find a problem that your skills, passion, dreams and potential are programmed to solve and solve that problem. Increasing demand for pizza better and faster access to pizza gave birth to pizza delivery. Business men and women needed faster means of transport to business meetings all around the world and boom, the private jet was made. You have been made to solve a particular problem, solve that problem and success will be yours.

All the points mentioned above are just principles and will not make you successful until you decide to make them habits. Make a decision to succeed today and nothing can stop you.

Be the next successful person and add your must-do item in the list too!

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

15 Ways to Set Professional Goals (Examples Included)

15 Ways to Set Professional Goals (Examples Included)

It’s hard to describe the frustration you feel when your professional goals keep falling flat. You’re floundering and you’re not where you want to be professionally, which bleeds into your personal life and causes you to get upset and sad easily.

You need a system, a way to set goals that makes them attainable 100 percent of the time. When you establish your system, it takes the guesswork out of goal achievement and makes it a matter of completing specific steps.

Where would you be right now in your life if you had followed such a system from the beginning of your professional career and stuck with it? Would you be owning and running your own business, would you be working for a company you love, or would you be independently creating great work that keeps you in high demand?

This is where it gets good. The following tips will cover the most actionable ways to set professional goals (with professional goals examples included). If you follow these tips and do your absolute best each step of the way, you’ll have no choice but to launch into a new, exciting period in your professional life.

Start with tip number 1 — this tip is essential to any and all of the other tips on this list. Although you’re starting with 1, this is not a linear list. You can take each tip by itself and run with it, or you can implement as many as possible — the choice is yours. That said, the more action you take, the closer you are to making tip 1 a reality.

Ready to grasp the very essence of what it is to succeed? Keep reading.

1. Identify What You Love — and Make a Statement

This is it — the single most important word is not career, it’s love. Your primary, overarching, life-defining career goal must center around what you love.

You figured out what you love when you were young, and then somewhere along the way you lost it in the noise, the pressure, and the clutter of everyday life.

Billions of people exist on this Earth, and things aren’t what we wish they could be because we succumb to fear instead of doing what we love.

How can you take what you love and serve this love with your career?

  • Create a statement, a single sentence that encapsulates your overarching career goal. Make it specific.
  • Write the love-of your-life career goal sentence down and pin it to the wall where you’ll see it every day.
  • Make sure this sentence informs all your other objectives.
  • Make sure your primary career goal is the result of what you love to do.

Example:

“Be a successful nonfiction author: Write nonfiction content — books, poems, essays, blog posts — to help people realize the priceless importance of love and the imagination, and get your content published.”

2. Don’t Just Create SMART Objectives — Be Ultra-SMART

Now that you have your ultimate career goal nailed to the wall, it’s time to get SMART. That is, use the SMART acronym to create objectives:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timed

Your SMART objectives are micro-goals that fit all of the above criteria. They are not nebulous, vague, and tough to complete. They are daily objectives you know you can handle, and they’re necessary.

You have to complete SMART objectives in order to meet other, tougher goals, which ultimately contribute to your main goal.

So how do you make your SMART objectives ultra-SMART? Push yourself. Don’t settle for the same level of output every day. Don’t hold yourself to low standards. Think about quality and do your absolute best.

Example:

SMART: “Today I will write 500 words about the power of love between 10am and 2pm.”

Ultra-SMART: “Today I will write 500 words about the power of love between 10am and 2pm, and will find 3 accredited, scientific sources to backup my argument.”

Note that “Ultra-SMART” is not about writing more — more isn’t necessarily better, and if you’re just starting out, may not be achievable; rather, ultra-SMART is about focusing on quality within a reasonable framework.

3. Identify an Absolutely Essential Stepping Stone and Step to It

No one realizes their ultimate goal without finding a job that will push them in that direction. Jobs pay, and you need money to survive, but you don’t want a job that has nothing to do with your career goal. Pinpoint a job that is like an apprenticeship for what you ultimately want to do.

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Example:

When famous author Neil Gaiman delivered his commencement address[1] — which, by the way, is phenomenal — to University of the Arts in Philadelphia, he said something that makes perfect sense:

“I wanted to write comics and novels and stories and films, so I became a journalist, because journalists are allowed to ask questions, and to simply go and find out how the world works, and besides, to do those things I needed to write and to write well, and I was being paid to learn how to write economically, crisply, sometimes under adverse conditions, and on time.”

Note that Gaiman’s goal was to be a creative writer, but he took a position in journalism, which isn’t creative writing; it’s about facts, writing them well, and having discipline. For Gaiman, journalism was a stepping stone towards achieving his overarching goal.

4. Get Really, Really Good at Crafting Your Resume

You’re not going to settle, and there are multiple stepping stones towards your final destination. But here’s the clincher:

Crafting a great resume is about more than landing a job.

Crafting a great resume is about learning how to think from someone else’s perspective. If you can imagine what someone else wants to see in a great resume, you can view other things from their perspective too, and that’s important in the professional world.

To do a resume the right way, consider the mistakes you should avoid:[2]

  • Avoid disorganization: Provide your name, work experience and corresponding titles, education, relevant skills.
  • Avoid irrelevant information: Consider the position you’re applying for carefully and focus on information relevant to it.
  • Avoid length: A one page resume with just the right wording is a thing of wonder.
  • Avoid showy fonts and words: Be basic but let your personality shine through.
  • Avoid sloppiness: Check for typos, misspelling, and grammatical mistakes.

Example: Here’s a great resume example, courtesy of Shayanne Gal from Business Insider:[3]

    5. Ask Yourself the Most In-Depth Questions

    Throughout your educational career, you heard teachers say, “There are no bad questions” or something to that effect.

    It’s true; however, this mantra ignored the fact that some questions are better than others.

    Asking, “How can I do x in a unique and interesting way?” is better than asking “How can I do x?”

    You can set professional goals that you might accomplish, or you can set professional goals you’re highly likely to accomplish because you went in-depth with your questions. This goes very well with SMART goals. Specificity and detail are the hallmarks of achievable goals.

    Example:

    Say, for instance, you’re at the point where you feel you can start your own business from home. The Hartford offers pertinent questions you should ask before doing so:[4]

    • Will your house accommodate your business?
    • Can you find work-life balance?
    • When you interact with customers, how will you showcase a professional image?
    • Are there city zoning ordinances you need to consider?
    • Do you have the insurance and tax liabilities covered?

    6. Use a Digital Assistant to be Insanely Efficient

    Executives and bosses have personal assistants to help them with scheduling, organization, and other time-consuming tasks.

    You may not be at the point in your career where you can afford to hire somebody, which is why it helps to have a productivity assistant to help you be more efficient.

    Use an app to keep track of mundane scheduling and other minute details so you can free up your mind for creativity.

    Example:

    See this list of task management apps . Out of all of them, Any.do has one of the best interfaces, and it will give you the reminders you need to stay on task.

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      7. Create a Vivid Mental Picture

      Discouragement can and will happen — it’s a part of life, whether professional or personal. Don’t wait until you get discouraged to visualize yourself doing well.

      Practice your mental picture of success even at the times when everything is going so well it’s unbelievable, but you’re not quite at the end-point yet.

      When things aren’t going well, it’ll be the much easier to remain in a positive mind-state because you practiced being there.

      Example:

      Social scientist Frank Niles provides a perfect example of goal visualization:[5]

      “Former NBA great Jerry West is a great example of how this works. Known for hitting shots at the buzzer, he acquired the nickname ‘Mr. Clutch.’ When asked what accounted for his ability to make the big shots, West explained that he had rehearsed making those same shots countless times in his mind.”

      Note that West visualized sinking the exact shots; again, specificity matters.

      8. Express Your Professional Goals Positively

      This goes directly with the visualization process. Goals can seem like chores, which is why it’s important to use positive, proactive wording when you’re vocalizing or writing things down.

      Through positive expression, you’re training your brain to take a certain path whenever you think about your professional goals. This translates into forward, positive momentum whenever you take action.

      You’re more likely to take action if you associate that action with positive thoughts and feelings.

      Example:

      Instead of, “It isn’t that hard to type 500 words in 4 hours,” say, “I like taking advantage of the time I set aside to zone in and really have fun with what I’m doing.”

      Note that the specific goal — 500 words in 4 hours — is implied because you already know it.

      The point of this statement is to associate a feeling of enjoyment with commitment and focus.

      9. Build Your Network with Passion and Purpose

      A professional network will help you hit those stepping stones necessary to achieving your ultimate goal. But you don’t want to network with just anyone.

      Build a network with other people who share your passion, build it based around your specialty, but also look for people from outside your usual sphere who can help you gain a different perspective.

      Demonstrate your passion by helping other people, and listen more than you talk.

      Example:

      Find a mentor — it’s perhaps the most critical networking move you can make. MileIQ provides some examples of where to start:[6]

      • The SCORE Business Learning Center
      • Small Business Development Centers
      • Women’s Business Centers
      • Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers
      • Minority Business Development Agency
      • A trade association through your SBA district office

      10. Benchmark a Competitor Like a Boss

      If you’re freelancing or running your own business, this one is particularly applicable to you.

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      Is there an exemplary freelancer or small business owner with whom you’re impressed? Analyze what this person has done to get where they are, find a metric to serve as a benchmark of their success, and aim to do better.

      Example:

      Benchmark social metrics — say, for example, you’re writing an article on cryptocurrency for a finance website. Buzzsumo[7] provides a tool you can use to benchmark the number of social shares a competitor has earned for this topic:

        11. Master Time Management

        Here’s the thing about professional goals:

        You must master time management to accomplish them. Understand how much time to set aside for each objective; and when you’re working on objectives, use your time not just efficiently, but mindfully.

        That means immersing yourself in the activities that are essential to completing objectives. Focus on what works best to achieve your desired outcome.

        Example:

        Life and business strategist Tony Robbins recommends “chunking your goals,” otherwise known as compartmentalization:

        • Write down tasks you need to get done during the week.
        • Group different tasks together based on their categories, e.g. “Consult SCORE about a mentor” and “talk to Ted about job opportunities” would be categorized under “Networking.”
        • Set aside time for each category.
        • Work on the tasks for a single category during a specific chunk of time.

        12. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses — and Get Strategic

        As you move toward accomplishing your primary career goal, you’ll note that different objectives fit into different categories, and you’re better at some categories than you are others.

        Once you know what you’re good at, focus on it. Spend as much time as you can concentrating on your strong-points.

        When it comes to your weaknesses, ask for help.

        Forbes contributor Elana Lynn Gross reveals that asking for help the right way can advance your career. “Ask targeted questions that will allow you to set your strategy,” Gross says.[8]

        Within any category, work on what you’re good at first, and then ask your network for help with blind spots.

        Example:

        Christine Wallace, VP of Branding and Marketing at Startup Institute, told Fast Company how she ended up dropping her first venture:[9]

        “I took a train from the Valley up to San Francisco and met with two mentors, who agreed that it was the end of the road for Quincy [Apparel]. After it was all over I spent three weeks straight in bed. Then after 21 days of sleeping, crying, I put on my big girl pants and rejoined the world.”

        In Wallace’s case, she needed to ask her mentors for help to understand when to move on.

        Don’t be afraid to ask for advice when something isn’t working.

        13. Take Advantage of Awesome Resources at Your Disposal

        When it comes to setting professional goals, tunnel-vision and short-sightedness are big problems for many of us.

        We think there’s only one way to complete an objective. The truth is there are multiple ways to approach any problem.

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        This implies taking a moment to step back, view your objective from a distance, and survey your options. Think differently, use your imagination, and do a thorough search — online and off — for resources.

        Example:

        Get a library card, scour the shelves, AND crowdsource ideas from social media — you may find something unexpected.

        14. Be a Brand That Stands Out

        Believe it or not, your brand is a very important part of your overall career goal. There are two aspects here:

        • How you appear via any published format
        • How you appear in person

        It’s more important to have a quality brand than it is to be prolific, so don’t publish anything — on social media or elsewhere — that you will regret.

        You will make mistakes in your endeavors, and in fact it’s important to take risks and make mistakes.

        There are good mistakes. Good mistakes are the screw-ups that show you’re striving toward your goal. Anytime you set an objective, think about how it aligns with brand and overall goal. In other words, know when to say “no” to projects that don’t compliment your brand and overall mission.

        Example:

        View yourself as a thought leader, be one, and make content that showcases your thought leadership:[10]

        • Videos: Post on YouTube, your website, and social media
        • Podcasts: Learn how to start podcasting.[11]
        • Workshops or meetups: Look for a community space and invite others to join you in discussion.
        • Blog posts and newspaper op-eds: Share your knowledge and opinions.

        15. Steal Ideas from Your Competitors

        This is the one truth that’s hard to stomach. Great ideas come to those who steal. You may not be sure of your next step, your next objective, and time is precious.

        Observe what other great professionals are doing, capture the core of their objectives, make them your own, and craft them into something new.

        Example:

        Steve Jobs, the visionary behind Apple, fully endorsed the Picasso quote, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”[12]

        In 1989, Xerox sued Apple for stealing ideas and incorporating them in the Macintosh and Lisa computers, but lost the lawsuit. That’s because Apple made something new.

        Here’s a simple way to go about this. Say you’re writing about freelancing, and the Freelancers Union blog is one of your top competitors. Pop the URL into Buzzsumo. You’ll see that the top articles are about taxes:

          In that case, you can write a “Definitive Guide to Taxes for Freelancers” or “Definitive Guide to Tax Breaks for Freelancers.”

          It’s About Passion and Practicality Combined

          Your primary career goal must be about what you love to do. Otherwise, why would you want to do it?

          To reach your goal, you must make small, practical steps. Don’t expect everything to go perfectly along the way, and don’t eschew hard work that isn’t exactly exciting.

          Too often, we get caught up in the excitement of the dream, and when the step-by-step isn’t nearly as exciting, we quit.

          Learn how to do the boring, rote tasks with joy because you’re doing them to achieve greatness.

          Always remember why you set out on a mission to begin with, and let your brain follow your heart.

          More Tips for Setting Professional Goals

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

          Reference

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