Success! But Not Like I Planned It

“How many times have you, our very kind listener and reader, ended up with some amazing success around something that you had planned and worked so hard for only to realize that the success was not the result of any of that hard work and it isn’t even quite what you had wanted, but even better? In fact, it would seem that this success occurred in spite of your intended best efforts to derail it (said somewhat tongue in cheek). Well, at the risk of causing widespread disappointment among our podcast listeners and Blog readers, this happens to me with regularity, and I assume it happens to all of you too.

Why does this happen? What’s the point of planning? Is success the result of some random serendipity? This is what I want to talk about, largely, because it gnaws at me all the time.  I generally think of myself as above average in intelligence and ingenuity.  I think I’m pretty darn good at setting goals, oftentimes stretch goals, and then designing tactics and plans to achieve those goals.  I bet many of you feel the same way.  I’ve got a goal, a timeline for achievement, and a plan for execution. Then…all hell breaks loose.  Sound familiar? And it doesn’t have to be a black swan. It could be a pink swan, a blue swan,…even an orange swan.  So what’s the point of all those well laid plans? Two words: Energy and Focus.  Success happens when we have Energy and Focus around a specific goal.

Energy and Focus are the results of the power of Intention. Intention manifests as a result of an idea or desire. Much is made about the law of attraction, and while this is not a Blog post about that per se, what I just laid out for you is the Law of Attraction in powerful real-world practice.  Success happens in spite of hiccups, speed bumps, and black swans when the power of our intention consumes and energizes us and those around us, whereby success is a foregone conclusion. The point of the goal is to set a powerful intention towards a destination.  It’s not to game out all of the possible routes to get there, but rather focus us (and with a really good goal, focus us in the extreme).

As I look back over the last 5 years while at Tridiuum, including prior to becoming CEO, I have used goal setting and stretch goal setting to do two things: set the focus as well as the pace.  After that, I’ve started to embrace the idea of “the plans are in the sand.” With the benefit of a little time now and a quick retrospective, I’ve noticed a couple of really interesting things about success, goals and planning that I’d like to share:

1) Success only happens when you choose specifically and wisely.  If you don’t know what you want, you really can never get there.  Success isn’t a feeling – it’s getting something that you want (or even better than you want if you’re lucky).

2) Goal Setting matters a lot. Writing down goals allows you to attribute emotion to a target. It’s impossible to set a goal without trying on what it feels like when you achieve that goal, when you reach that success target. I cannot stress this enough.  My goals have been realized faster when I could feel what success would be like – how I would behave, how the organization would function, the impact that we would have, etc.  The sooner you can inhabit the state of success, the sooner it will rush to meet you.

3) Headwinds are a gift. That’s right. I’ll say it again for emphasis. Headwinds in getting to your goals are a gift. They force us to improvise, alter tactics, innovate, and imagine. Imagination unlocks possibilities, including the possibility that your original goals weren’t big enough or sharp enough. They cause us to reform #1 and #2 a bit and voila, miracles appear and line the way to the best possible version of that original goal or goals.

Being able to do this podcast is a gift. The original idea was for another podcast and a very different purpose, but, in the end, we launched the podcast and it’s even better than my original idea with folks that I love to work with on something that matters.

If you’re still reading this, getting all of this out was energizing.  And, I’m so excited that I’ll get to come back and read this myself whenever the speed bumps get a little rough and need something to lean on.  I hope that it can do the same for you. Until next time, thanks for reading.”