You’ll never reach your goals the way you’re acting right now. Not because you’re doing it the wrong way, but because the world keeps on evolving.
The bird doesn’t leave the ground and glide its way to where it lands. The wind, the rain, the objects in the way all impact its trajectory. And so it flaps its wings once in a while to readjust its direction. Its destination might even evolve based on the above.
What you’re doing may be working for you right now. But if you keep at it in the exact same way, ignoring the hazards of the world, you’re bound to reach a dead-end.
Goals are but an indication. They represent the house on the other side of an open field. You could go straight to it. But along the way, a tempest could force you to go out into the woods to find refuge. A bunch of wolves may force you to run and walk into a deep hole. You may have to dig through the hole to get out somewhere else.
Every new company gets founded with a specific goal. And yet, the founders need to tweak the process and the tools they are using because their vision cannot encompass all the variables of the world.
As you get thrown around in the sea of variables, you may discover a new, more fulfilling goal. Or you may find a renewed motivation to reach it. In either case, you’ll need to adapt.
So how do you adjust when there are some many things attacking your well-set plan? It’s simple. Change one thing at a time. Follow the Kaizen method of improving 1% every day.
You shouldn’t make drastic changes whenever the tornado disrupts your process. You should adapt to the small breeze grazing your cheek.
You need to tweak your actions daily, one at a time, thinking of why it is important and how this will improve your results.
You could look up how other people have done it. You can try and fail 10,000 times to find the way that works. But if you keep on trying things without putting thoughts in it, there won’t be much satisfaction coming out of it.
To adjust your trajectory, you’ll need to do 3 things. All of them simple and well-known, yet too often pushed to the side in the middle of the tempest that is life.
1. Set a strong “Why”
It’s written and told everywhere for a reason. If you don’t have a strong reason to work on a goal, you’ll give up at one point. Motivation will fade away. People will get in the way.
A strong “why” will change you from a piece of paper flying around in the middle of the street to the pillar withstanding the storm. But that’s not it!
It’ll also make you more willing to adjust the path to reach the goal. If it is important to you and you notice it’s impossible to reach it in the current process, you’ll have the willpower to accept some changes.
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. “ — Confucius
2. Be Aware
As you set on your journey, you need to be well-aware of what your strengths and weaknesses are. You need to understand what’s available to you and what’s not. You need to understand the variables into play.
As you progress on your path, you cannot hope to adjust well if you don’t hold all the cards. And if the cards are laid face down, you’ll be shooting in the dark.
Finding self-awareness is the first step but research about what concerns your goals is unavoidable too. Sure, that’ll take time and effort. But the satisfaction you gain from this awareness will provide you with more confidence and tools to tweak your way to your goals.
“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” — Eckhart Tolle
3. Consciously Try
You can try, and try, and try again, and maybe get lucky and reach your goal. I wouldn’t count on it if I were you, though. It’s a risky process full of disappointment. But failure in itself is also where you learn. You discover what doesn’t work.
We’ve all heard the well-known quote from Thomas Edison.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”— Thomas Edison
This quote misses one important factor in how he invented the light bulb. He was always consciously trying while looking for what wouldn’t work. The ultimate goal was fixed, but he was analyzing his errors. He wasn’t simply “giving it a go”.
There’s no point in trying 10,000 times if you’re not conscious about the process itself. You need to reflect and repeat the process, adjusting one part of it.
Maybe you found that your coaching business didn’t work because your approach to finding the client was only through word of mouth. Does that mean you should give it up altogether? No, it means you need to be more proactive. Are you finding more clients through Networking events than LinkedIn now? That’s not a reason to stop LinkedIn. Maybe you just need to spend 1 hour less on LinkedIn and 1 more on networking events.
Each path will vary. Each action will shape the next. Each lesson learned will bring you closer to your goal. Each time you flap your wings, you discover a new path toward your goal. Each 1% improvement transforms you and the process.
Try things. Be bold and flexible. Open your wings and fly far away. And finally, remember:
“There’s no good idea that can’t be improved on.” — Michael Eisner
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Mathias Barra is a French polyglot living in Japan, who has learned 6 languages and dabbled in many others. Being a curious child full of wonders is how he keeps on learning and can’t stop sharing every tiny idea or discovery.