successful goals

Goals Success

Goals Success

Goals Setting Success

The following story is an extreme example of goal setting in practice, but also serves to demonstrate that, if it can work in a life-or-death situation, it can be applied just as effectively in normal life.

smJoeClimb-150x150In 1985 Joe Simpson was 19,000 ft. up at the top of Siula Grande mountain in the Peruvian Andes on the 4500 ft. West Face.

He fell, severely breaking his leg. Storms were coming; he and his partner, Simon Yates, were out of heating fuel; and Simon and Joe were climbing Alpine style, which means that they had no camps along the climb, no extra supplies, no help.

They were all alone. Their story is brutal & yet heroic. Simon lowered Joe with a rope 300 feet at a time down the mountain. He lowered Joe over and over until he accidentally lowered Joe off a cliff. Joe hung on the rope looking at a 100 foot drop below him, unable to move up the rope or get down to the bottom.

At the same time, Simon hung onto Joe for hours, not knowing what had happened, and not knowing why Joe did not release the rope so he could climb down the mountain and meet him. Simon hung on during a storm until he, too, began slipping down the mountain. Simon had to make a terrible decision. He cut the rope and let Joe fall.

mountain 150Joe fell into a crevasse and landed on a ledge. After realizing that Simon would not find him, he lowered himself 150 feet to the crevasse floor, and climbed up 130 feet through a side passage out of the crevasse.

He crawled, slid, hobbled and fell for miles and miles, across glacier and rock bed to get back to the base camp. He did this all with no water, no food, frostbitten fingers, and a leg that was completely shattered.

How did he do it?

“And then it occurred to me that I should set definite targets”- Joe Simpson from the movie “Touching the Void.” * Joe’s story is a gut-wrenching example of SMART goal setting. And while it may seem incongruous to compare how Joe survived his life and death ordeal to setting goals in our every day lives, I believe that Joe’s story is a testament to how powerful this technique is.

Over and over, Joe set small, doable goals to get his life back. He clung to these little tasks and had laser focus in their completion. He got his life back 20 minutes at a time.“I started to look at things and think, ‘If I can get to that crevasse over there in 20 minutes, that’s what I’m going to do.’ … And it became obsessive. I don’t know why I did it. I think I knew the big picture of what was happening to me, and what I had to do was so big, I couldn’t deal with it.”

Never have I heard such dramatic and poignant use of SMART goals. Crawl for 20 minutes to the next rock. Then crawl for 20 minutes more. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely. Over and over. Joe focused his mind on the small goals he could manage instead of being overwhelmed at the enormity of his situation.

“I’d look at a rock and go, ‘Right, I’ll get there in 20 minutes.’ Once I’d decided I was going to get that distance in 20 minutes, I bloody well was gonna do it. And it would help me because I’d get halfway through the distance and I would be in such pain, I just couldn’t bear the thought of getting up and falling again. But I’d look at the time and think, ‘I’ve got to get there.’ ”

His focus was complete. His goals were his only attention. One of the best ways to face a stressful situation is to break it into smaller tasks, and have each task very attainable and with measurable results.

As we looked at in the previous chapter, Joe used SMART goals to get himself to safety and save himself in 1985. Joe crawled off a mountain, with a leg that was so badly broken that his lower leg was pushed up through his knee, splitting the bone above. He crawled for miles until he finally reached safety.

For Joe, his SMART goals literally saved his life. Unlike most of us, Joe’s stress was not a function of modern life – stress which has perceived negative consequences but not actual life-threatening risk. Despite the difference between Joe’s circumstances and ours, Joe’s story offers great help to us all.

Extreme stories like Joe’s are beacons to what is important in less extreme circumstances. Whenever I feel a task is too big or against all odds, I remember Joe crawling 20 minutes to the next boulder. Completing one simple job within a big project, making it through one difficult day during an emotional crisis, reacting one time with patience and humor instead of anger, one step at a time, we can all make our bigger goals.

In the next article, “Marc’s Big 4 0 Plan” I show you how goal setting transformed and gave clarity to my life. For many years prior to this I had simply reacted to events rather than controlled my destiny. This became one of the best, most productive times of my life. I wish I had learned this skill earlier.

*Joe Simpson’s story is told in his book “Touching the Void”, published by Harper Paperbacks in the revised edition in 2004. It was also made into a stunning move, “Touching the Void” directed by Kevin Macdonald and produced in 2003.

Author: Marc Walton

My Big 4-0 Goals

My Big 4-0 Goals

In recent articles I have explained the importance of goal setting and planning. Of crucial importance is you WRITE DOWN the goals as explained in the article: Why Goals are VITAL To Your Success

It took me 20 years to actually get round to doing this but the results were incredible, in terms of what I was able to achieve in a relatively short period of time. The other major benefit was that I actually felt that I was in control of my life rather than simply reacting to events. The clarity that gave me was worth the time creating my plan, the extra money and success were an added bonus.

Not long after my 40th birthday a good friend of mine, Bob, who was only a couple of years older than me, dropped dead from a heart attack. This caused me to look extremely closely at my own life. I was working 70 hours a week and stressed up to the eyeballs. I was permanently tired and often in a bad mood with the few hours I spent with my young kids.

I hated the English weather and the politics. I was earning a serious amount of money and had the big house and the cars, but other parts of my life stank. So, following Richard Bransons mantra from an earlier post “Screw it, lets do it” – I really disliked the business so much that despite the great income I sold it.

My wife and I decided to go for the dream we had of living in the Canary Islands. That was our big, overall goal. The next step was to create a plan and milestones along the way. Working backwards from the goal…..

  • I needed to sell the Company. This needed a mini plan in itself.
  • Make sure that it was as lean and profitable as possible.
  • Make sure the buildings, of which there were many, were all in good, well maintained order.
  • New uniforms for employees especially those working on the shop floor.
  • Appoint a business sales agent
  • Etc etc

My wife & I had always made money via property and the sale of our main home which we had built ourselves was to be a part of that. We needed to decorate and tidy up, then appoint a sales agent. At the same time we needed to create a substantial income to fund our semi-retirement with 4 young kids.

We then bought 10 houses to rent out. Thanks to Martin, my property mentor, this only cost around $150.000. Martin showed us how to study the market. Where to buy and which areas to avoid. The type of properties for maximum profit. How to negotiate the purchases. How to fund them.

We used tradesmen for the skilled jobs and Sharon and I did all the painting and manual work. This gave us approximately $5000 a month income and a promise from me that I will never, ever, lift another paintbrush for the rest of my life :) .

We also developed (now sold and invested in gold and silver) a shares portfolio for additional income.

“Goals are dreams with snap, crackle & pop” – Keith Ellis

couple in deckchairs on beachI used to sing and play guitar in my student days and my dream was to do it in music bars and hotels in the Canaries.

Most of my friends were convinced I had really lost the plot by this stage!

So the next part of the plan was to take singing and guitar lessons AND practise at least an hour per day.

Finally we all needed to learn the language for our new home. We employed a local Spanish lady who came to our house every week and over the next 18 months we learned enough to make a start in our new Country.

Most of this was ongoing over a 2 year period. We couldn’t do anything until the business was sold and that took 12 months for everything to go through which was the longest year of my life, but at least we were getting on with other parts of the plan.

The next step was we needed to buy a house in our new country. If you are thinking of emigrating my best advice is rent first or do as we did, buy something cheap to start with.

We chose the latter as it meant that we had made a commitment to carry the plan through. This took 3 or 4 visits and even more later on for the nonsensical Spanish legal system. Just over 2 years after the initial decision was made we were on a plane to our new home (the goal) with 1 suitcase each!

We reached the goal by following the plan. Along the way was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding times of my life.

  • I was in control of my own destiny.
  • I knew where I was going and how I was going to get there.
  • I had lots of small victories along the way and was learning new skills.
  • I learned how to become a successful property investor and some of the houses we bought were such good deals we could have spun them the next day and made a big profit.

Our goal was reached by following the plan.

  • We had sold the business, house and cars.
  • We retained a parcel of land that will get planning permission for houses or commercial use.
  • We had created an income stream from the houses
  • The shares portfolio had created an income.
  • For additional income I retained an interest in the business.
  • I was now singing and playing guitar like an old pro! (I got bored after a few years BUT hey I lived my dream).
  • We had bought our new home.
  • We had completed all the paperwork to become Spanish residents.
  • We formed a Spanish Company.
  • We could all speak enough Spanish to get started
  • We had the kids placed in school

Lesson Learned? Live The Dream, but make sure that you plan it first.

Author: Marc Walton

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