Here we are at the beginning of August in the home stretch of 2010. I’m sure you started out the year with some goals. Are you on track to achieve them? Perhaps you’re more than 7/12’s of the way to your goals. If so, congratulations. Maybe you’ve surpassed your goals. You’re having a great year.

But what if you’re not on track? What are you going to do about it? Now is a good time to stop, reevaluate and do something different. We create our futures. If we sit back and let circumstances have their way, then we are really saying we are victims of the world around us and not co-creators of the world with control and influence. You can turn around the rest of 2010 so the last 5 months is better than the first 7 months. Here’s how. Give yourself a couple of hours. Get out your computer or paper and pen and get to work, and if you want to work comfortably getting the right chair to work is essential and you can find it at sites like

  1. Take the bull by the horns and commit to it. Don’t just say ‘I’ll try’. Actually say ‘I will’. This is a mindset game. When you commit to it, you will. Ask yourself, ‘if not now, when?’ Next year, the year after? Why not now? Why would you want to tread water for another year? It’s amazing how things start to happen when you demonstrate your commitment by taking action.
  2. Decide what goal you will achieve by 12/31/2010. Is it a revenue or profitability goal? A number of new clients? A specific task? A statement to the marketplace like a book? Is it the same goal(s) that you had for the first 7 months? Maybe the goal isn’t working and you need a new goal.
  3. List all the rewards you would obtain if you were to achieve your selected goal. Yes, you’ll have more income, for instance. But what will that additional income mean to you? What will you do with it? What will it mean to others like your family? Maybe it’s not income, maybe its recognition or health or love. Drill down. Keep asking yourself, ‘and so?’ until you’ve gotten to the point that it really motivates you. Make yourself see the rewards as so powerful that you’d be stupid not to go for it. If it’s not that important, maybe you need to change the goal or change the business. How can you be committed to achieving a goal with all your heart, mind and strength if you don’t want it badly enough?
  4. List all the consequences that would happen if you don’t achieve the goal. What are the bad things that would happen if you fail? What will happen to your family? Keep asking ‘and so?’ until you have motivated yourself to realize the ‘do or die’ importance of achieving this goal. Most people are more moved to avoid pain rather than to realize rewards.
  5. Start journaling. Write an extensive story about yourself and your business next January. Envision the details of what a day in your life will be like. How will ordinary things happen after this goal is achieved? Write pages and pages of who said what when, how things in your environment looked, smelled, sounded like, felt when you touched them. Put it in the terms of your five senses so it’s real to your brain.  Describe how you feel when business flows, when there’s plenty of clients and cash. Or whatever the rewards are that you detailed in #3 above. If you write these things down, whether or not they actually come true, you are setting up a comfort zone in your neo-cortex, an expectation that this is normal. Before you can move there, you have to feel you belong there and deserve to be there and it’s easy for you to function there. The more you write, the more you’re convincing your brain that this is normal and comfortable. Imagine all kinds of scenarios of success. Aim higher but not unrealistically high. Of course, that depends on how big your comfort zone is already. I can’t stress enough how important a step this is. And you might catch yourself letting bits of your expanded detailed vision slip into your conversations with peers, or family members or employees. This is the best sign that you’re accepting, feeling comfortable at a new level, internalizing the inevitability of success. It truly is a mind game. Don’t let your journaling end. Keep adding to it and expanding your comfort zone. It will be amazing after a year to go back and see that you’ve accomplished the very things you led yourself to expect.
  6. After you’ve given yourself at least five pages of visioning, then it’s time to start brainstorming. How are you going to get that goal done and move into that level of success? Think of as many solutions as possible, silly methods, outlandish methods, far fetched methods, concrete methods, ways that require resources that you don’t see yourself having. This gets your mind thinking creatively and sets the bar higher for a set of solutions created from a new mindset. Write down at least 20 different ways to accomplish that goal, the sillier the better.
  7. Take a break from brainstorming to analyze your obstacles. Come up with 4-10 obstacles that you perceive get in you and your business’s way of achieving your goal. If it was easy, you would have accomplished it already, so take a minute to list and describe the relevant obstacles. Make sure you include your own limited thinking and blind spots.
  8. Go back to brainstorming. But now make your brainstorming focused on each obstacle. Let yourself get super creative. Not everything has to be practical. Thinking silly stuff can lead to other things which might be very doable, but never dawned on you before. Get some other people involved in doing this brainstorming. You egg each other on to be more and more creative and focused. You bring different skills and awareness of various solutions.
  9. Now look over all the written brainstorming ideas you came up with. Hopefully there’s 40-100 there. Choose the ones that will be the best to implement. Create an action plan to get each step done along a time line with individual people taking responsibility for each step. Then hold your employees or yourself accountable. It will be easy to slip backwards into old habits. That’s why you need to continually reread your extensive list of rewards and consequences. That’s why you’ll need to constantly add to the fabulous future you envision and describe in your journal.

If you and others in your company really engage in this process, you can lead yourself and your business out of the mediocre and into expanded capability and success. If you start now, the last 5 months of 2010 can have real possibilities of turning around and exceeding your goals. If you wait too long, you’ll have less and less chance to make 2010 the year that you want it to be. Your choice, do the 9 steps above or tread water.

Will you give it a try?

Share your story of a mindset expanding experience that’s been helpful to you.

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Jeri Quinn

Jeri Quinn from Driving Improved Results is an executive coach, management consultant, speaker and author who focuses on communication in her work with executives and companies. She is the author of The Customer Loyalty Playbook, 12 Game Strategies to Drive Improved Results in Your Business. With more than 40 years as a serial entrepreneur.

Quinn has worked with executives and teams in over 40 industries, spoken at major business expos including New York City’s Javits Center, facilitated business development and extraordinary customer service at institutions such as MoMA and AIG, and has partnered with New York City, The Kauffman Foundation, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, HSBC, and Signature Bank to educate their clients.


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