Overcoming herculean odds and creating ultimate success does not have to be reserved for historical greats and titans of industry. You have the potential to achieve you're highest goals -- we're going to figure out how.
I will digress a bit before I dig in. I am currently in a phase of life where I am realizing how important it is for me to be building strong habits.
As some of you may know, I have a little baby boy (Dax), he's 17 months old and just starting to turn the corner from baby to little boy. It's unbelievable how quickly he can learn new things just by watching it being done around him.
Tiff has been making smoothies for him and so his new thing is going in to our cupboard, pulling out the vitamix base and canister, crawling over to the fridge, opening it up and grabbing an apple. He'll put that apple into the vitamix canister and pretend to play with the buttons to turn on the vitamix. It's adorable. It's also so scary.
This kid picks up everything he sees and hears. He is a little sponge, just like every little baby, and I'm realizing that if I want him to grow up to be a better version of me, then I have to be a better version of me.
In his room we painted a wall with chalkboard paint and I've got his name up on it in big white block letters. Around It I've started writing down the character traits that I want him to grow up to embody -- "Self-Assured", "Humble", "Strong", "Patient", "Kind", "Dilligent"...
That might sound like a lot of pressure to put on a 17 month old, but what you have to realize is that this is not a task list for Dax -- things to live up to, it's a daily reminder for me. I have to embody these traits if I want Dax to have any chance of learning them himself.
So, how am I going to do this?
I am going to teach Dax how to be successful by being successful myself. I am going to reverse engineer my own success.
As everyone's favourite highly effective person, Stephen Covey, would say
Begin with the end in mind
My goal could be considered the trait list I've got written up on Dax's wall, but a more measurable goal I've currently set for myself is completing the reno's on our new home. We bought a new house in July and I took on the challenge of renovating our kitchen with my Dad. It was an incredibly fun, challenging and rewarding experience, but along the way I managed to pick up 5 or 6 other good sized projects that are currently in various states of completion. That laundry list of reno's is one of my current goals.
Once you've got a goal, you need to have a timeline associated. "A goal without a timeline is just a dream" -- so we're going to set a timeline.
My timeline has been set for me by beautiful wife and God almighty -- Tiff and I are expecting another baby in March of the New Year. Today I counted down the rows in my calendar and I now know that I have 14 weekends left until our due date. Though not set in stone, I know that a have a finite amount of time to get these projects done before we enter baby mode again.
The next step in reverse engineering success is breaking down that goal into smaller achievable tasks. If you've ever faced a big project or an intimidatingly large challenge, you probably know that feeling of recognizing your need to get a lot of work done, and yet not knowing where to start. Breaking down a big problem into smaller steps is the key to overcoming this hurdle.
Today on the flight home from a 2 day work meeting in Manitoba, I wrote down all of the projects that I need to complete on a sheet of paper. Under each project heading I broke that project down further into individual tasks. Under each task I noted the things I'm going to need in order to complete those tasks. By breaking my projects down in to achievable steps I am helping myself overcome that problem of having so much to do that I do nothing.
Next, you start assigning those tasks to your timeline. If you find you have too many tasks to realistically fit in to your timeline, then you either adjust your schedule or you adjust your scope.
I've got 14 weekends, I've got 4 major projects and over 30 tasks. That means I'm going to have to be diligent, and I'm going to have to start knocking tasks off immediately. I have to admit, I have recently been in that position of exasperation we talked about previously -- too much to do, not sure where to start. This is how I will overcome that challenge.
The most important part of engineering your own success is now starting to DO. I've been known to be bad at this last one. Tiff is excellent at this last step. She's a doer, I'm a thinker, that's why we're married. We compliment each other, but I would do well to learn from her ability to tackle challenges by just throwing herself into them.
This method can be used for any type of goal, it doesn't have to be my reno projects, it can be your weight loss. Maybe you're the person that wants to lose 20 lbs in six months. You've got a goal, you've got a timeline. Now you break it down in to steps.
20lbs of fat loss is the equivalent reducing your diet by a total of 70,000 kcal (3500 cal/lb x 20lbs)
Six months is 183 days
In order to lose 20lbs in 6 months or 183 days you need to reduce your total calorie intake by 382 kcal each day. That's the equivalent of removing a Tim Horton's coffee and a muffin from your diet every day.
Reduce your consumption each day by this small amount and in 6 months you'll be 20 lbs lighter.
It's simple, small steps executed consistently that create measurable results. It doesn't have to be crazy, in fact it's much easier if the steps you take are not crazy; you are so much more likely to stick with it and reach that eventual success if you're steps are small and attainable.
I've just outlined for you the method that I am going to take to start becoming the father, husband and professional that I want my son to be able to look up to. This starts with my reno project (which you all know about now, so I am publicly responsible for my own success!) but I plan to continue to use this method in all areas of my life.
What challenge have you been putting off because it feels too big? Break it down, plan it out and then start chipping away. If you keep your head down and work diligently, before you know it you're going to walk right in to that success that you've been searching for.
Live your best life!