In the following article, we are going examine some of the most important skills you must develop to become a goal achiever.
Achiever is the key word here. We are not going to be discuss the process of “goal setting” here. With the following points/steps, we are assuming that you already have set specific, measurable goals for yourself.
As you work towards fulfilling your goals, you will need to be aware of the following skills and personal characteristics that must be in place in order for you to succeed…
MOTIVATION AND WILLPOWER
Motivation is one of the most important ingredients in any project. Doesn’t it make more sense that your project will be more successful if you really want to do it?
Willpower takes you a long way as a project goes on, especially when you’re trying to make changes in your behavior. Many people want to accomplish a certain thing, but can’t get started or lose steam as the project goes on.
Motivation and willpower can work together for successful completion of a project. For example, Frank has admired his coworker, Sue, for a long time but has been too shy to talk to her. The Christmas party is in one month. Frank thinks he could find the confidence to talk to Sue if he could lose some weight. He decides to lose 10 pounds by the Christmas party. He eats right, works out, and loses 10 pounds…and talks to Sue. Home run! Sue might have liked Frank anyway, but he would never have known if he didn’t build up the confidence to talk to her.
TALKING BACK TO YOUR NEGATIVE VOICE
Negative self-talk is common; everyone does it to some extent. How successfully we talk back to it determines how successful we are in life. It’s a little sneaky, though, because it comes in different forms:
- Catastrophising: “If I don’t know all the answers they want, they won’t be impressed, and I won’t get the loan.”
- Magnifying: “This is so hard, I can’t do it.”
- Self-punishment: “That was the most stupid thing I did — I’m a fool.”
- Negative self-labeling: “I’m old, useless, and ugly.”
- Self-pressuring: “I should,” “I must,” “I have to.”
The first step in countering this negativity is to be aware of it. Then you can challenge it by asking yourself if it’s true or justified. Finally, replace it with positive, supportive self-talk. This will give you a positive self-image and the confidence to go on with your project.
You’ve already made a list of your good qualities and accomplishments. Recall these and add to them when negative self-talk rears its nasty head in your mind.
Even if we are self-employed, we constantly work with others in the form of customers, colleagues, employees, and outsourcers. We can react in one of four ways: being passive, being aggressive, being manipulative, and being assertive.
Being passive often means waiting for others to take action before we move on a project. This leaves the fate of your project in the hands of others. The passive person has such low self-esteem that he either automatically agrees with others or even runs away.
Being aggressive usually means that we move without considering others’ feelings or ideas, which can cause resentment. Aggressive behavior is competitive; the goal is to win over others.
Being manipulative means getting what we want through devious means and making others feel guilty. It is indirect aggression. Manipulative people fear exposure if they are direct and feel it’s safer to control and manipulate rather than confronting and being rejected.
Being assertive involves having respect for the people we work with. It is rooted in high self-esteem and is most likely to give us the results we desire. We don’t wait for others to act for us, we don’t act without consideration for others when necessary, and we don’t try to indirectly control and manipulate others. Instead, assertive people negotiate to reach win-win results.
It might surprise you to know that we all use all four patterns at times. These behaviors are established in us from an early age, and we may not be aware when we’re using them. But with some awareness and determination, we can change these behaviors if we want to.
Identifying the best behavior to use in various situations can contribute substantially to the success of projects.
The way to encourage assertive behavior in yourself is to
- Be very clear about what you want
- Feel positive about your project
- Take initiative
Thinking through what you want and planning the steps might seem time consuming, but the rewards are great.
The way to successfully behave assertively with others involves
- Knowing clearly what you want and feel and being prepared to state that directly and simply.
- Maintaining your position steadily without giving in to manipulation or the negative behavior of others.
- Acknowledge that you hear manipulators’ statements and continue with your point of view or request without becoming defensive or aggressive.
- Negotiating to achieve a win-win when there is conflict. Compromising to get the best realistic position is the right thing to do for the success of the project.
Sometimes situations arise where agreement hasn’t been reached on legitimate differences of opinion through means other than confrontation. Continued disagreement is a saboteur of efficiency, so the issues need to be aired, but this tactic should be used with care. To skillfully approach confrontation you should
- Acknowledge the other person’s point of view as legitimate
- Clearly state both positions
- Make sure that the other person agrees that both of your positions have been stated correctly
- Accept that there may be negative feelings involved on both sides and accept responsibility for your own feelings
- Ask the other person for his preferred solution.
At this point, you both may be able to start working toward a compromise.
MANAGING YOUR ANGER AND FRUSTRATION
In most undertakings, there are times where things don’t work out as we expected or where obstacles arise. If we don’t deal with our anger and frustration, those negative feelings can slow us down or even derail the project. Luckily, effective strategies allow us to manage and channel our negative feelings.
1. Be aware of your feelings. This is not always easy. We’ve learned to deny our feelings in many cases to be socially appropriate. But feelings denied can go underground and sabotage you. Know what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling the way you do.
2. Then decide what to do with the feeling. It’s better not to express your anger until you have control of it. First recognize it, then control it, then decide how to handle it.
3. Convert your anger to energy that powers your projects and inspires changes.
4. Express your anger (energy) in a safe form such as exercise.
5. After you are in control of it, voice your anger directly and fairly.
6. Confront the situation that caused your anger in the most constructive way you can think of.
7. After you’ve dealt with your anger, release it.