The Secret of Achieving Your Goals

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I have just read an interesting article on setting goals entitled How to Set Goals You Will Actually Achieve by Steve Pavlina; which somehow is exactly the opposite of my beliefs and what I have been doing for so many years.
Some of his thoughts on achieving goals include thinking of the present and not the past neither the future and argues – It’s very difficult to achieve a goal that’s based on an inaccurate model of reality — such a goal will surely be an uphill struggle.

I completely understand this school of thought as the uphill struggle is what I have endured for the last 20 years (and I’m only 27, my mother taught me how to set goals years ahead and aim for it no matter how much pain you have to go through) but in the end I saw myself flaming ahead everyone else from my batch mates, schoolmates, colleagues, peers, etc.
Achieving your goals is just a question of time. Time is the essential piece to become successful and to achieve your goals in life. I always believed in taking steps backward to gain more steps forward in the foreseeable future and never detach yourself from both the past and the future.
You got to look at the past and analyze the pitfalls, reflect on lessons learned, your status and capability at present and finally your gut feel of the future. It is definitely an uphill climb whenever you think of all these three scenarios because it shall bring you frustration, depression, tiredness, etc. to reach your elusive goal as a lot of things could go wrong along the way.
I could remember Phil Jackson saying that Michael Jordan is better than <a href="Shaq“>Shaq because Michael has to carry the ball from the backcourt all the way to the basket and a lot of things happen from one-point to the other. Phil made it clear that holding the ball 20 seconds more is a very long time that could break or make your team.
Now you can imagine what does it take to achieve something in one, five or even ten years? Sacrifice and suffering will always be a given but the exercise is to be able to teach yourself how to maneuver through these harsh occurrences in life, how to stand up during failure and how to assess situations to take a back seat for you to recharge and charge ahead once again.
Goal setting is not a single man’s effort but what goes into it include the people around you — family, friends, colleagues, the world, etc. Whether directly of indirectly learn to operate in the concept of teamwork because often times, the success of people around you and world occurrences will affect your own personal goals.
Have I set monumental goals and successfully achieved it in the past?
Yes. This would be my childhood goal of working in the most advanced, coolest and hardest business projects and seeing my hero Bill Gates in person by the time I reach 27 years old — accomplished.
I started the dream at the age of 13 (1993) and fast forward to 2001, my decision to transition to the .NET framework was vital in positioning myself to where I am right now.
It was just a year after graduation when Microsoft quietly launched their Beta 1.0 version of their .NET technology and immediately I felt I needed to get away from old technologies if I have a chance to get to a career boost. For the next two years I spent considerable amount of time outside of work to study and hone my skills in .NET. It was pretty tiring given my day job but I knew somehow the technology would be a high market value in the future that I decided to remain with my commitment, make do with its’ buggy first release and believe it’s going to be a big hitter in the future. Two years after, my teammate/friend and I while still working in our previous company decided it was time for a change in environment and as such we were already submitting our resume to different companies, and found ourselves being handed a job offer in a number of same companies.
The decision for me was difficult as I had to decide whether to join a super power multinational company that offered three times our current salary with guaranteed travel opportunities in different parts of the world; but the problem was that they were using Visual Basic 6.0 and after some inquiries I knew it’s going to take years before they consider and start converting their applications using .NET despite their optimistic “very soon” promise and vision. On the other hand one of my job offers came from a crappy local fashion company which gave out the leanest benefits, smallest salary, and not so good environment but wanted to use .NET immediately even when their crappy company did not need to.
I had to take a number of steps back and had to endure working with the most baloney management people I have ever seen, most demanding/unreasonable users I worked with, a non-branded organization, and pathetic reputation and so the list goes on and on. My friend on the other hand who accepted to work in the multi-national company could not ask for more and was very pleased with what he had.
Did I ever think of quitting?
Never. I knew my time will come and whatever sacrifice I was going through including my daily non-enjoyment would soon be replaced with more than I can asked for. Payback time came after two more years, .NET technology especially C#.NET became a hot technology and job hunters hunted you relentlessly coming from different directions. I got my dream job of working in the biggest company in the world and also I was given the only spot among thousands of highly talented people from Manila that enabled me to see Bill Gates in person. It happened this year of May four months after I turned 27.
One of my goals is to be one of the top technology leaders in the world and I find it important to be able to learn how to set goals and achieve goals even if they are years ahead because only then can I plan well enough to make my goals a reality. At the same time I would have the capacity to teach people around me how acquire the skill which is expected whenever you belong in a group or team which has a direct impact to your own personal goals.
What are the things I learned during the process of achieving my goals?
1. Get out of that Zone – I have seen too many people doing the same things over and over again which are getting you a step further from reaching your goals. Always get out of the comfort zone and challenge yourself to do difficult tasks and if need be, ask and grab challenger/complex assignments as long as it doesn’t break you.
Be reasonable; don’t seek out an assignment of high jacking a plane and crashing it at the World Trade Center to hone your tactical and planning skills.

What are the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone?
Nothing Beats Experience and Interaction. Ages ago I did not believe the importance of this, but later on as I was exposed to various hands-on experiences, I came to realize there are just mind boggling, insane and unexplainable things that happen which forces you to adjust and solve using great amount of will power.
Mental Preparedness. By acknowledging your goals you begin to set your mood and tone that creates a mental preparation for the task at hand. It unconsciously reminds you of the existing challenging and the goals no matter how dark the tunnel seems.

2. Targeting the task outside your comfort zone – You just don’t get difficult task for the sake of getting out of your comfort zone, but rather keep in mind of the following:

Target tasks that will be beneficial in both your short and long-term goals.
Tasks could strengthen your core competency
Fill-in gaps in your skills

3. Network, network, network. – No man is an Island and if you need to improve yourself to reach your goals. Multiply the speed by which you develop by hanging out with people you can learn more about.
4. Developmental Feedback – Don’t be too arrogant and confident. I have seen so many people who thought they were doing extremely well but people’s judgment and experience from you is exactly the opposite. Don’t be afraid to seek out feedback from people around you.
5. Checkpoints – Establish checkpoints where you can regularly assess your situation and progress. Knowing whether you’re ahead or behind could help in your cause.
6. Reward Yourself – If situated in a difficult environment keep yourself afloat by rewarding yourself in any way you can. It could be a simple one work day off, buying yourself of something you like or even just assuring yourself that you are in a better situation than most people.
I always tell myself how fortunate and blessed I am by not going through what soldiers who are experiencing in IRAQ.
7. Go the Extra Mile – A lot movies show scenes how a super-hero go the extra mile and one of them is the movie Electra when as a child she was compelled to take that extra second under the water. By frequently pushing yourself for that extra mile you continuously raise the bar and by raising the bar, you get to reach your goal no matter how high it seems.

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