3 Simple Steps to Achieving Your Goals (with advice from Shonda Rhimes and Warren Buffet) (E20)

Warren Buffett, Shonda Rhimes, and Your Success


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May 3, 2016

In this week’s episode of The Art of Personal Growth Podcast, I discuss goals: setting, attempting, and accomplishing them! So many of us set goals and fail to meet them, I was curious to learn more about how to not only successfully achieve your goals, but how to set your goals so that you make that success more likely. I also test a few goal-related tips and techniques in this week’s Self-Help Crash Test Dummy Experiment. Here’s what I learned in the process.

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Focus on the Right Things

In this week’s New & Noteworthy section, I was inspired by a post by the late Scott Dinsmore on his blog Live Your Legend entitled “Warren Buffett’s 5-Step Process for Prioritizing True Success (and Why Most People Never Do It).” Within the post, Scott tells the story of a friend who knew Warren Buffett, and who learned a ‘simple’ five-step process to help set and prioritize goals so that you can actually achieve them. I say ‘simple’ in quotes, because while the steps seem easy, they require you to really commit to understanding yourself and what you want out of life. Here are the steps:

  1. Know what you want (List your top 25). An important part of accomplishing goals is knowing what you want to accomplish, right? Start by creating a list of the 25 things you most want – right now, in the next month, or in your life. You pick the scale, you pick the items. This is your chance to dream big!
  2. Pick your top 5.Now that you have a good list, circle or highlight your top five items. These are the things you want to accomplish more than all the others. This may be tough, but it’s an important step. If you can’t pick five, try stepping away from your list for a few hours or a day, then come back with a fresh (and a little bit ruthless) mind to choose what really matters most.
  3. Make your top 5 plan.Come up with a plan for each of your top five items. What approach will you take to achieve each item? Who will you need to help you? When will you want to accomplish them by? Try and nail down a few of the logistical details in this step, as they’re the foundation of your success.
  4. “Marry your priorities.”Now that you have a top five list, look back at the remaining 20 items. These are, as Warren says, your ‘Avoid At All Cost‘ items. No matter what, these 20 items get no attention from you – no planning, no logistics, nada – until you accomplish your top five items.
  5. Know your ‘Avoid at all Cost List‘ and stick to it.It may be tempting, now that you’ve written an entire list of 25 items, to try and go after many of them, or make a haphazard attack on seven, ten, or even all 25 of the items at once. This is a surefire way to not succeed. Instead, avoid distraction, especially those in the form of the 20 items you didn’t circle.

Be sure to check out the whole post from Scott to hear many more gems of wisdom from Warren Buffett in the process. If you’ve done all the steps, you now not only know what you most want, but have a foundation of how you might achieve those goals.

Be Brave Enough to Face Fears & Shortcomings

The next phase of goal accomplishment and success comes from facing the hurdles that stand in your way. I’ve recently been reading Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, and realized through reading her stories of triumph and setbacks that despite her massive success (you mean you haven’t seen any of her shows, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practiceor Scandal, on TV?) that we aren’t actually that different. As Shonda says, “One woman cannot do it all.” And that’s okay.

Whether you find the space to confront your fears and shortcomings through Year of Yes as I did, or in another place you feel safe, this is an important part of accomplishing your goals. You have to know what’s standing in your way, and face it head on, to be able to see the kind of success I know you’re dreaming of (and that I’m cheering you on).

Put It Into Practice With Support & Accountability

There are two parts to this final phase of taking your goals from “idea” to “reality.” First, you have to make sure your goals are well-defined. Take a look at Warren’s Step 3 above – do you have a strong plan to accomplish each goal you chose? Are your goals well-defined, time-limited, and reasonable in size? Don’t worry so much about whether something is totally reasonable in size – having big goals isn’t a bad thing, as long as you’ve defined them well.

Second, it really helps to have a system of accountability. You can try to accomplish your goals alone, and maybe you will succeed (most people don’t), but wouldn’t it be more fun to increase your chances of accomplishing them and have a team to cheer you on along the way?

This is where I started my Self-Help Crash Test Dummy Experiment: I set myself a goal, defined it, and then found a community of other women each working on her own goal, and we all agreed to help keep each other accountable. We’re going to meet weekly, update one another on progress, and cheer each other on even if we encounter setbacks or difficulties. It makes the whole process seem much less scary and much more do-able. Don’t have a group? Try an online tool like StickK to keep yourself accountable through a financial wager.

I defined my goal as a nine-week long process, so I can’t report back on my success yet. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your goals. Start with Step 1, and tell me in the comments (or on Facebook) how I can help you succeed in your goals.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks for joining me this week. I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave an honest review for The Art of Personal Growth podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are super helpful to tailoring the content of the show and I read them all! They also matter in the rankings of the show.

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It's Time for a Better Career Change!

Don't Put Your Happiness on Hold!

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