Sometimes we get in our own way when we’re trying to achieve our goals. We lose sight of what’s important, or concentrate on the wrong things and wonder why we’re spinning our wheels. The truth is, in order to achieve anything in this life, you have to plan it out, work on putting your mind where it should be along the path, develop systems for getting things done and maintain a steady course.

Just as every business organization must analyze what to spend their resources on for the best amount of return for their efforts, we as individuals need to do the same thing in order to prosper. The human mind is an amazing thing. Our ability to produce thought, and then act on that thought to bring about what we want is incredible. It’s channeling our thoughts to produce the results we truly want that can be difficult.

When we’re in school as children, we occupy our minds with learning (well, most of the time), which gives us accumulated knowledge and experience. Those of us who kept the bigger picture in mind and put that knowledge and experience to work reaped the rewards of education (being prepared to get out there and earn a living). Those that didn’t—well, you get the picture.

Success isn’t something that just happens to lucky people. Or rich people. Achieving your goals has more to do with mindset than circumstances. It takes attention. It takes focus. And you must lay the groundwork first.

Prepare for What You Want to Achieve

The farmer who wants to harvest a crop of corn must first prepare the ground to accept that particular seed and grow it. He’s not thinking about wheat—he’s not thinking about beans—he’s thinking about corn. What are the specific needs of a corn seed versus all the other seeds out there? What’s his patch of earth lacking in terms of nutrients, moisture and sunlight that a corn plant needs in order to produce the most fruit?

We can relate that story to business—either B2B or B2C. If I’m a clothing retailer, for example, what do my customers most want and need, and how can I provide that to them so they’ll buy what I have to offer? First, I should be thinking about getting to know them. If I don’t, and occupy my thoughts with something else instead, there’s a good likelihood that my efforts will fail. If I don’t spend considerable thought and time understanding my customer, I won’t be producing what I know they’re looking for, but what I’m guessing they might be looking for—and miss the mark entirely.

Another way to prepare for what you want is by immersing yourself in the possibility of achievement. I’m sure you’ve heard the adage that thoughts produce actions and actions produce results? Here’s a real-life example.

A friend of mine was between jobs a few years back when the job market was really tough. Her experience was computer programming, and the market was so bad that many of her out-of-work colleagues were giving up and taking menial jobs. However, she decided to prepare the soil by filling her mind with getting the right position. Instead of sitting around in her pajamas, scouring LinkedIn and job listings, every day she got up early, got dressed as if she was headed to the office and set about cultivating leads. She studied the companies she thought would have the right position, set up a spreadsheet for job contacts and worked her social channels, email and yes… the phone, tweaked her resume, worked the phone some more, and followed up by sending out more resumes. After lunch, she spent time improving and updating her skills. Before 5:00 she reviewed her spreadsheet again, spent more time with outreach, and set up her schedule for the following day. A month later she landed the perfect position. Looking for the right job occupied her mind (and hence her activities) every day for eight hours a day, which ultimately resulted in success.

Value is Relative, but Achieving It Takes Time

Achieving goals doesn’t always have to do with monetary or business success. Whatever goal you’re looking to achieve has value to you, and is directly related to the thought and effort you put towards it. Having better relationships with your children or spouse, being healthier, learning a new language—the bigger the investment in thought and time, the more fulfilling the return.

Remember to Stay Positive

Life often throws us curve balls, and the path to success is often a very jagged line, but it’s important not to succumb to negativity because that comes back to us as well. We do reap what we sow, so it’s important to understand that the more positive your thought flow, the more directed your thoughts, the more you stay focused, the better your results will be. Surrounding yourself with positive people, and consciously shifting your thoughts in a positive direction when you feel the inevitable downturns happening—that takes effort—but it’s well worth it. I firmly believe that no one has to be a victim of circumstance. We have the power to rise above circumstances and achieve whatever we desire if we concentrate on it and never give up on what is important to us. As Zig Ziglar once said, “You are who you are and what you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change who you are and what you are by changing what goes into your mind.” #NoLetUp!

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