Once you are clear about what is important to you and about what you want the outcome to be, it is important that you prioritize. The number one reason why people do not follow through on achieving their goals is because the task seems too daunting or too difficult or they get overwhelmed. When that happens many people give up. To minimize the chances of that happening to you, it is important that you focus.
We always have limited resources. However, if we have the right mindset the limits of those resources do not have to prevent us from achieving what we want. As you decide what you will tackle first, remember the Pareto principle or 80/20 rule. This principle holds that for everything we have to do, there is a vital few, approximately 20% of all the possible activities we could be doing. This vital few activities if completed will net us 80% of the outcome we want to achieve. This is particularly important when faced with limited resources as this helps you to be able to get the biggest return on your investment.
Therefore as you prioritise it is important that you know what are the vital few versus the useful many. What are the actions that you could take that would net you the biggest return? What can you do now with what you know and what you can figure out or learn right away? Also you can ask yourself the paradigm shifting question as identified by the futurist Joel Barker. What is impossible for you to do right now but if you could, it would fundamentally change the way you do business or live your life? The answer to this question can be useful in identifying where to start.
As you attempt to make change, focus on your process. What you will need to do today and every day. Once you have taken the time to investigate and understand what you need to do, then focus on the doing and stop worrying about the result. Worrying about the outcome whether it is fear of failure or fear of success can distract you from ensuring that the next step you take is done to the best of your ability. To quote Will Smith in one of his many motivational messages with the insights he has developed from his own success journey, if you start thinking about the fact that you have to build a wall that can feel daunting. However, if you just focus on laying the next brick and doing it the best that you can, then that next step seems more attainable.
There is a reason why most successful people often tell you that the dream they achieved is bigger than what they initially envisioned. That’s often because once they started moving they put their head down, focused on the process and kept moving forward. That eventually creates momentum and leads to greater success. You cannot control how many customers you have in your business but you can control how well you serve them and you can encourage them to tell others about the experience and you can offer them the best prices and the best product in an easily accessible location and comfortable surroundings. It is however equally true that you can do all that and also fail. Successful people always recognize that sometimes failing is also a part of the process.
Yes, there is a lot to be done to get you where you want to be. Yes, it very well may be the biggest thing you have ever contemplated and it may have the potential to change your life forever. However that kind of thinking can be distracting and non-productive. You cannot do everything at once, so stop thinking about everything at once. You are going to have to make some definitive decisions about how you want to utilize the limited resources available to you, i.e. your time and your energy. Focusing on what is in your control and what will give you the biggest impact and taking action every day to move forward will get you there in the end.
Marjorie Wharton is a trainer, facilitator and coach based at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados.