This article is one in the multi-part series entitled The Entrepreneurial Mindset.
I’ve always admired people who know exactly what they want in their professional life. Like the little boy who knows he wants to be a fireman when he grows up and actually becomes one. Or the little girl who has a dream of becoming a doctor and taking care of sick kids, so she does.
Not me. I didn’t decide that I wanted to become a psychologist until I went to college and took some classes that interested me. Even then, I ended up changing my mind two years in and decided to take the law enforcement route, which I did happily for 15 years. Now, after yet another change of interests and goals, I am a self-employed freelance writer.
Admittedly, writing is something I had always kind of thought about, but never pursued with the same type of passion as someone who knows what they want. I didn’t eat, sleep, and breathe writing the same way other writers do. I still don’t. But I have taken one big step and that is that I have finally taken the time to figure out exactly what I want out of life and, as it turns out, I have developed a very good business because of it. Why is knowing what you want so important to success?
The Importance of Knowing What You Want
As Anthony Robbins says in his Change Your Life Now blog, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” In other words, wherever you direct your attention, that is the area of your life that will progress, advance, and grow bigger. Therefore, knowing exactly what you want gets your energy focused intensely on it like sunlight directed through a magnifying glass.
It isn’t enough to have general ideas and vague intentions. In fact, the clearer your vision, the more detailed it is, the more likely it is you will achieve it. Why? Because you will have directed your mind toward it, which means that it will almost subconsciously recognize opportunities to help you reach it.
It is the same type of premise behind developing a mission or vision statement for your company. By creating a few lines or a paragraph that explain what it is you intend to accomplish with your business, you then have a foundation to use as you consider potential business opportunities and ventures. You make decisions based on whether they will align you with your mission and vision, thus bringing you closer to them and helping you achieve your purpose in the business world. Doing this with your personal career goals offers the same type of advantages, which is why figuring out exactly what you want can help you excel and create a better business.
What Do You Want?
To help you discover exactly what you want, think of yourself retired. You’re finally at the end of your career and taking time to enjoy your family, friends, and hobbies without worrying about your business. Looking back on your professional life, what is it that you have accomplished? Think about your company and what it looked like when you finally left it. Consider the products and services it offered, the charities it supported, the lives it changed. What exactly do you see?
Think also about what others have to say about the company you built and retired from. What types of things do they bring up? Do they talk about how well you treated your employees? The quality of your products or services? The way you reached out and help the community when it needed it? What exactly do they say?
Why Do You Want It?
Now, here is the tough part. Ask yourself why that particular image is so important to you. In other words, why do you want them to say the things that you imagine them saying about the company that you have built? Is it because you want to be known for your giving spirit? Your ability to foresee people’s needs and develop products or services that meet them? What is it exactly? This is why you want that goal and a true driving force that will help you overcome hurdles and defy odds.
Be as specific with your answers as possible. Include as much detail as you can envision and keep asking yourself “why” until you get down to the most basic answer that lies in the depths of your heart and soul. Then you will know, with all of the conviction of the little boy who dreamed of being a fireman and the little girl who wanted desperately to doctor sick children, exactly what you want, giving you the focus and clarity you need to go out there and get it.
After going through this exercise myself, I have discovered that what I want is to help other people change their lives for the better, both personally and in business because the two are very interconnected. And I want to do it with my writings, my one-on-one mentoring, and by speaking as well. By offering several avenues of encouragement and self-empowerment I can reach a larger number of people and help them achieve their goals—whatever their goals may be.
So, what is it that you want?