“If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there”
– Lewis Carroll
I’ve heard many people say that the opposite of success is failure. That’s not true. In fact, failure is a necessary part of success. Every time you fail at something, you’re finding out another way that doesn’t work, which will ultimately bring you a step closer to finding success.
The opposite of success is not failure. It’s mediocrity. It’s not performing at your full potential and instead, settling on being average. It’s being robbed of your dreams, and following someone else’s instead.
To be successful and feel gratified, you will need to know what your dreams are and then taking action to make it a reality. This is not what other people want (e.g. popular career choices), or what you feel should be what you want (e.g. safe life choices). Find out what is it that really gets you excited — that’s your dream.
When I started my first business, I had a burning vision of what I needed to do. I’d attribute it to two things that caused this clarity of thought.
The first was that I was very into computers, and I was already designing websites on a freelance basis. Hosting was a necessary part of any website, so I knew first-hand what the problems of the hosting industry were. When I created my hosting business, I specifically targeted these pain points to solve.
Second, I was a broke student whose only choice was USD5/hour part-time jobs. It wasn’t very attractive to me, and I was constantly looking at ways to increase the income that I could have. Running a service-based business was logical, because the risks were low to me, and having projects immediately gave me a huge boost to the income I would otherwise have gotten with a part-time job.
The combination of these two things led me to really want to succeed at providing good web hosting services. The vision was 110% absolutely logical to me. So much so that there was no way I could be doing anything else.
Over the years, my company’s vision didn’t fade. It did evolve though, to become even stronger and well fleshed-out than what it started off as. It had slowly turned into a masterplan. And I attribute most of the success that my company got due to the clarity that a masterplan provided. This is something that you can use in your personal life as well. To create a masterplan for yourself, you’ll need just 3 things.
1.Know what you want
First of all, you need to know what is it that you’re working towards. A clear goal will provide you with the vision to get there. It has to be specific and actionable. An example of a bad goal is: “I want to be a successful entrepreneur”. This goal is not specific at all and too vague. An example of a better goal is: “I want to be able to fit into size 32 pants by July next year”, or “I want to have a salary of $10,000 a month in 5 years’ time”.
An example of a goal when I was running my company was: “To be the top Singapore registrar in terms of the number of domain name registrations by 2016”.
2. Make a plan to take action
Now that you know what you want in very clearly defined terms, it’s time to take action. Just mindfully forcing yourself to take action every day is very difficult to sustain, and will most likely burn you out.
The first part of a plan is to block out specific times in your calendar for tasks that you need to do. You will block out time to meet up with friends, or for appointments with your doctor or dentist. Why not block out time for yourself? Do this for anything that you need to do. It could be a 2-hour block on Tuesday 8:30pm after you get back from work, so that you can work on your website. Or it could be waking up an hour earlier every day, so that you can work out.
The second part of a plan is to come up with a daily to-do list of items. If you’re running a business and have a goal to hit more than $120,000 in revenue a year, you have got to be able to hit $10,000 in revenue a month first. In order to hit $10,000 a month, you’ll need to figure out the things that you’ll need to be doing on a daily basis to get you there. This to-do list could include things like testing out various marketing channels, or improving your sales pitch, or cold-calling more clients a day, or developing your product.
Similarly, if you’re looking at losing 10kg in a year, then you will need a plan to lose a certain weight every month, and in order to do that, you’ll need a plan to control your calories in a day. This plan could involve not eating more than 2000 calories in a day, or skipping breakfast, or not eating past 8pm, and so on.
3. Measure and review your progress
If you don’t know how well you’re doing, then you’re not going to be making the progress that you need. Have a system to measure your progress, and review it regularly – do it in terms of days, weeks, months, and years.
Creating a masterplan for yourself and constantly reviewing it will allow you to see some of the most significant results in your life. I highly recommend this tool to anyone interested in growth in their lives.