Once you begin to clarify your influencing goal, your mind may start to play tricks on you.
One bright day you felt positive and inspired to reach for the stars. On these days, you feel totally empowered ― anything seems possible, nothing can get in your way, you are invincible. Feeling inspired, you lay down your goals with positive expectations.
Next day, things look a little darker. Doubts have started to creep in. The old well-worn dialogue gets to work inside your head. What on earth were you thinking? How can you possibly achieve the goal you laid out only yesterday? If you are not careful, these seeds of doubt will quickly sprout and before you know it, you’ll need a machete to cut your way through them.
Two things you need to remember…
- This is pretty normal ― it happens to all of us.
- It is your decision how you respond to them.
Your decisions on these days will either make or break your influencing goal.
“If you think you can, or you can’t, you’re probably right.”
If you liken this to project management, you can identify this as a risk (that doubts will creep in) and assess the likelihood (usually inevitable) and the impact (which varies depending on your experience, foresight and capability).
To minimise the cost to you, do a risk assessment, plan action you can take now to lessen the likelihood and/or impact and then prepare a plan of action ready for when doubts take hold. Do this assessment at the same time as you are finalising your influencing goal, because the time delay between rampant optimism and doom and gloom may only be a bad night’s sleep.
For example, actions you can take straight away may include…
- Make a list of all the reasons why you must achieve your goal.
- Share your goal with friends who are good at supporting and encouraging you.
- Don’t share your goal with people who tend to have a negative slant on life (unless you absolutely have to).
- Find case studies where you (or others) have succeeded with similar goals.
- Raise your motivation to fever pitch by writing vision statements and benefit lists.
- Make a public commitment to your goal — right now.
- Inspire and motivate others to believe in your goal.
Similarly, an action plan to deploy if doubts hit you may involve…
- Re-reading your notes on reasons and benefits for achieving your goal.
- Go for a walk with a friend whom you can rely on to help you recover your positive frame of mind.
- Brainstorm ideas with your team to find ways to make it happen even faster.
- Distract yourself with other work for a few hours so you don’t have time to dwell on your doubts.
- Do something fun that will put you in a positive mood.
The important point to make about this contingency plan is to write it down before you need it. If you don’t, the actual writing of the plan will be almost impossible when the doubts hit you because you will be in a negative state of mind. You may be able to find it within you to take the actions you have already laid out, but it is unlikely that you’ll be able to dream up a clever plan at that point.
What this is all about is doing everything you can to maintain your motivation and commitment until you have achieved your goal, or at least, goal realisation is inevitable. Your positive expectation and frame of mind will make a significant contribution to your success and it is worth doing everything you can to protect it.