STEP 1: IDENTIFY WHAT YOU WANT. Most people are not clear about what they want. They have not pondered what they want their life to be like or amassed the courage to achieve it. I meet people all the time between ages forty and sixty who say, “TJ, I do not know what my passion is or what I want.” These people live their lives as a "leaf in the windstorm."
STEP 2: KNOW WHY YOU WANT IT. When I worked with Tony Robbins, he would always say, “Reasons come first; answers come second.” The reasons are the fuel that will drive you and keep you going during all the ups and downs that you will experience on your path toward achieving your goals.
STEP 3: CREATE A VIVID PICTURE IN YOUR MIND OF WHAT IT IS YOU WANT. Stephen Covey taught to “begin with the end in mind.” Can you clearly see in your mind’s eye what your future looks like? What type of presenter are you? What type of service provider are you? You must be able to see it. Everything is created on two levels: first on the inside, then on the outside.
STEP 4: YOU MUST WRITE IT DOWN. Write down your goals. Do not rely on memory. Have you ever had the experience of writing down your goals, then losing the piece of paper only to find it five or ten years later and realize that you had accomplished 80 percent of those goals? All you did was write them down. Neuromuscular imprinting occurs when you write something down, [according to Stephen Covey]. The words embed themselves in your brain via your nerves and muscles.
STEP 5: REVIEW THE PICTURE IN YOUR MIND’S EYE. Imbue your goals with energy and conviction, believing that you can achieve them. Every day, you need to sell yourself on why your dreams are important to you. You must make sure you are focused on why they can happen versus why they cannot happen. You might feel like you have had nothing but failures and disappointments, but you cannot dwell on that. You must say, “This is my dream. This is what I want to accomplish.” Claim what you want and then review it in your mind’s eye. Say, “My world looks like this.” I am writing two books right now—one with my daughter (Swiss Family Robinson children's historical/fantasy), and one regarding "The Power to Shape Your Life," and I envision every day what that book needs to look like. Who does it need to reach? From whom do I need to get endorsements? Along with this vision, these are my accompanying thoughts.
STEP 6: DEVELOP A GAME PLAN. If you do not know where you are going, how will you ever know when you have arrived? What will be your milestones? What will be your successes along the way that you can check off? How will you know if you are making progress? These steps are keys toward your self-fulfilling prophecy. What will your process be to achieve the results you want? Breaking goals down into bite-size action steps will facilitate your path to success.
STEP 7: TAKE ACTION. This is the toughest part. Most people do not take action consistently, and fear is often involved. Success requires faith. Trust the unknown. Believe in possibilities. Trust that, if you step into that place, take action toward the attainment of your goals, make that phone call, confront that person, forgive that individual, or apologize to that person, you will realize it was not as bad as you thought it would be.
STEP 8: REVIEW THE RESULTS. Look at your results and ask, “Is this taking me where I ultimately want to go?” Reflect on your current station in life or business. How are you doing?
STEP 9: IF NEEDED, ADJUST AND TAKE MORE ACTION. When Harland Stonecipher, founder of LegalShield, called me and said, “In two months I want you to speak at our national convention in Oklahoma City,” I was suddenly thrust outside my comfort zone. All I had was a rough manuscript of If You Think You Can! My family and I were living in my parents’ basement. We had lost everything financially. And within a month, I had to figure out how I was going to get this manuscript published, who was going to edit it, how I was going to get it shipped, and, most importantly, where I was going to get the money to print 15,000 copies. But where there is necessity, you will figure out a way. If something is not working, change direction.
STEP 10: CELEBRATE YOUR WINS. When you get a result you are hoping for, it is okay to jump up and down! Get excited. Say, “I did it! That feels good!”
Celebrate your wins, even little ones. You are going to achieve a little win and think, “No one is even going to notice this, but this is making me feel really good right now.” Be good with that. Embrace it, feel it, and then tell yourself that you are on course, that your dreams are possible. Say to yourself, “I can create more of these opportunities. I am unstoppable. I make things happen. Things always work out for me.” That is better than saying, “I am such an idiot.” Right?
In conclusion, you have got to make sure the word tracks you are using on a regular basis are taking you where you ultimately want to go. When you have a negative thought, do not speak it. Power is in the tongue. Do not speak it if it is demeaning. Keep asking yourself where you want to go. Trust that you can get there by putting one foot in front of the other. “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life’s hard.”
About TJ Hoisington:
TJ Hoisington is the bestselling author of If You Think You Can!, The Secret of the Slight Edge, and Return to Robinson Island. He has authored several high-performance training programs focused on personal development, leadership, customer service, sales, and creating thriving cultures. TJ's insights and workshops have been shared with many organizations around the world. (client list) Whether he speaks to audiences of 10 or 15,000 people, his mission is the same: to provide inspiration and tools that help people and organizations unleash their greatness within.