The Art of Getting to Done: How failure is transformed into your greatest success.
What does this have to do with the Art of Getting to Done? Because we are all looking to accomplish a big project. If you keep a list of your 50,000′ foot goals in life – it’s right below having a healthy family and being a good partner or spouse or parent. We all have a goal that we’d like to get done, but we’re afraid to take the big step toward getting it done.
But sitting down and writing a mind map, or putting together a list of next actions in Evernote, is only part of the process. We actually have to be confident enough in our skills, sincere in our convictions, and stubborn in our passion to make it a reality. Failing is one step in the right direction toward succeeding.
How is that possible? I’ll share a story with you. My 5 year old and I agreed it was time for her to learn how to ride her bicycle without training wheels. This is an incredibly scary initiative for both of us. She was afraid of even getting on the bicycle and trying because of her fear of failing. She was afraid to fall down. Afraid to get hurt. Afraid she wouldn’t have balance. And afraid or her own disappointment and her misplaced thoughts of me being disappointed in her. I reminded her in a way that a 5-year old could understand that the only way for her to succeed is to fall down a couple of times amd know that it’s not the end of the world. Rather, by getting back on the bicycle seat, it will only give her more confidence that she can do it … and she did.
I’m reminded of this story every time I look at my own list. I’ll then ask myself: what is behind my fear? What is really stopping me? Conan O’Brien was right in that it is only through true disappointment that you can gain clarity … and with clarity there comes conviction and true originality. At the end of his speech he said, “Work hard. Be kind. And amazing things will happen.” And he’s right.
Your Next Action: Find some time to think about what your big project is that you’d like to accomplish? What do you really want to do? What’s stopping you? Maybe you are already there! If so, we would all love to hear your stories below.
Screencast: How to Integrate FollowUpThen with your Evernote & GTD setup for productivity bliss!
I’m really excited about showing off my first screencast to all of you! I’ll admit, this was a bit challenging at first! I received about 100 recommendations on different services, and some not so good. But, between PowerPoint, SnagIt, and YouTube editor – I got it done! So, your feedback will be quite helpful!
In this screencast, I highlight a very small and yet very powerful add-on to my Evernote & GTD setup I talk about in my eBook. It’ll cover two things: first, showing off how I use Evernote’s copy note linking to really ramp up your productivity; and second, leveraging the power of FollowUpThen.com to help you remind yourself on a given day and/or time about a note you have in Evernote. It’s super easy and the best part – there’s no interface to “hack”. Take a look and let me know what you think!
What My Wife’s Triathlon Taught Me about Goal Setting
About six month ago, my wife said to me she wanted to participate in a sprint triathlon. To give you perspective, the last time my wife was that physically active was over 10 years ago in law school when we took kickboxing and ballroom dancing together. Don’t get me wrong at all – my wife is no sloth! She is already in great shape and with 3 kids, she’s always on the run!
However, I will readily admit, as I did to her, I was quite skeptical. However, suddenly I realized this was a real goal for her.
There is a terrific outfit called TriItForLife that focuses in on sprint triathlons just for women. They help women achieve this goal through organized group swimming, biking, and running sessions.
My wife started attending the swimming sessions and she found that she really enjoyed it! She started out saying she’d never be able to swim 250 yards, but soon, she was up to 1,250 yards!! I was so impressed with how happy she was in hitting the first of 3 milestones!
I was amazed as I’d never seen her swim outside of the pool with the kids on vacation. She was slowly enjoying how fast she was going and how many laps she could do!
Next, we ended up buying her a bicycle. She bemoaned the bicycling. She said she’d never be able to bike 9 miles on race day. But, just like the swimming, she set little benchmarks for success for herself. She was slowly enjoying how much faster she was getting and how many miles she was going.
Finally, when it came time to do the running, she bemoaned this as well and said she had no idea how she’d be able to run and/or walk 2 miles. But, sure enough, just like the swimming and biking, she found that she could set measurable goals for herself and enjoy the running, too!
I could not be more proud of my wife on race day. She truly inspires me. Not only because she endured something physically and mentally challenging and exhausting, but because she proved to me the power of goal setting. She literally went from zero to hero.
It is with this story that I was able to distill out of this that goal setting really comes down to 3 things: 1) Establish your goal; 2) Develop obtainable milestones; and 3) Create benchmarks for success along the way.
1. Establish your goal
Goal setting is like my wife’s sprint triathlon – it’s a marathon. What is it you want to accomplish? Do you want to run a triathlon? Open a restaurant? Lose 10 pounds (something I’d like to do!!)? Play guitar? Whatever your goal is – believe in that goal. Believe in yourself. Believe that you can do it. Believe that this goal – however much it might be stepping outside your comfort zone – is something that you can do. Believe that you can achieve this goal. Because it is important. Because your belief in this goal is worth paying attention to and therefore worth doing!
2. Develop obtainable milestones
Running a triathlon is just like goal setting. There are three parts to a triathlon. You need to be able to look at the trees and not the forest. If you only look at the trees you’ll likely scare yourself! Whatever your goal may be, break it down into 3 major milestones with specific measurable objectives. Even plays and musicals have three acts. Steve Jobs, may he rest in peace, was infamous for presenting on only 3 things. Three is the magic number here. What few things must absolutely go right in order for you to accomplish your goal? What plans, processes, or resources are needed? What potentially might go wrong and how could you course correct if it does? What next actions are required for you to achieve each milestone? Make a list of everything. Get it all down. From there, look to creating benchmarks for success along the way.
3. Create benchmarks for success
Once you have established milestones, begin laying benchmarks for success that shows you that you can accomplish these milestones. In my wife’s case, it was about hitting 250 yards in the swimming. After that, it was about endurance. Could she do 500 yards? Could she do 750? Could she hit 1,250 yards? Could she do 250 yards in less than 6 minutes? Could she bike 4 miles? How about 6? How about 9? Again, it was about endurance. Could she do more and still do well? This went on in the same fashion for running. Each of these questions were all benchmarks for each milestone she made.
Crossing the finish line
When you have hit these benchmarks, and succeeded at each of your milestones, nothing can stop you. I can tell you from the look on my wife’s face that establishing a goal, developing obtainable milestones, and benchmarks for success along the way paid off when she ran through the finish line on race day. I will always be inspired by my wife. This was an amazing feat and it truly showed me the power of goal setting.
Your turn: what goals have you set for yourself and were able to accomplish through a similar process? Let us know in the comments below!
On writing my first eBook …
I am extremely excited and proud to let you all know that I’ll be publishing my very first eBook in the near future entitled, “Evernote: The unofficial guide to capturing everything and getting things done.”
The cool thing is that this eBook is about you. All of you that subscribe to this blog, follow me on Twitter, and “circled” me on Google+. It’s your input and feedback that has given me inspiration to write this eBook.
Even if you’ll never use Evernote, there’s a plethora of ideas in here on how you can make this applicable to all aspects of your life and leveraging the GTD methodology. So because you all are incredible, I’m wondering how many of you would be even interested in paying a mere $5 for reading my eBook? If you could become more productive and efficient, would this be worthwhile? What are some of the things you’d hope for in an eBook such as this? Let me know and I’ll be sure to include! Oh, and I’ll be running several giveaway promotions on its launch date. Something tells me that people who subscribe to the blog will probably be happy! 🙂
So, for now, a tease … the Prologue.
The purpose of this eBook is to help your mind relax, allow you to breathe easier, and allow you to become more productive by being able to make better decisions in the overly saturated productivity apps space. I will objectively overview the most well known and maybe some obscure apps that all claim to make you more productive, give you back control, and adhere to the wildly popular Getting Things DoneⓇ (“GTD”) methodology. The benefit to taking the time reading this eBook is that you will not only be able to make better decisions about how to organize your life in the electronic world, but but this will also be a “living eBook”. In other words, every quarter, you will receive an email notification, letting you know that I’ve added sections, and will let you know exactly what I’ve added. In essence, this is the eBook that keeps on giving! Cheers!