Posts

How to Set Goals like John Kennedy

moon_footprint"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." ~ Neil Armstrong

Today we’re celebrating one of the biggest successes of all time. Forty years ago today, on July 20, 1969, three men – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins – landed a spacecraft on the moon for the first time.

___

___

They had launched their mission 4 days earlier, flying 203,000 miles to get there.

About six-and-a-half hours after they landed, with one-sixth of the people in the world tuned in to watch, Neil Armstrong descended down the ladder of the lunar space module. As he became the first person to walk on the surface of the moon, he uttered those famous words:

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” 

We never get tired of hearing those words. It gives us goose bumps. They are so inspiring.

But we have to remember that it didn’t just happen. It began as a bigg goal over eight years before.

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy said:

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” 
 

How to set goals like President Kennedy

President Kennedy’s goal was very well-stated. It was a SMART goal. SMART is an acronym for:

Specific
Measurable
Action-Oriented
Realistic
Time- and Resource-Constrained

Let’s look at each of these five components of a well-stated goal using President Kennedy’s goal as an example.

Specific
President Kennedy said that we were going to do two things:

  • land a man on the moon
  • return him safely to earth

You can’t get much more specific than that. In this case, it may be easier to think about what wouldn’t be specific. He could have said, “We’re going to land a man somewhere in space.” That’s not specific. He clearly articulated the destination.

Measurable
President Kennedy’s goal was clearly measurable. We would certainly know if a man had landed on the moon. We could certainly tell if he returned safely to earth.

Note, though, that landing on the moon and then not being able to get back safely would have meant the goal was not reached.

Let’s bring this point on being measurable safely back to earth. Here’s an example of a goal that is not measurable:

“I’m going to increase my income next year.”

What does that mean? If you increase it by $1, did you really accomplish what you set out to do? A well-stated goal would be:

“I’m going to increase my income by 5% next year.
“I’m going to increase my income by $2,000 next year.”

Now you’ll know if you accomplish what you set out to do.

Action-oriented
When President Kennedy called for this mission to send man to the moon [PDF], he made clear that it would take a tremendous commitment by the entire nation to reach this goal.

He called for innovation. He called for new money. He said it would take a concentrated effort for an extended period of time. But it would get done.

And get done it did. In a similar vein – with our personal goals or the goals we set for our businesses – we must commit to taking the necessary steps to achieve the goal.

Realistic

President Kennedy said, “I believe we have all the resources and talent necessary.” 

Your goals can and should be bigg goals. They should stretch you beyond anything you’ve ever accomplished before. But they have to be realistic.

Otherwise, they don’t lead to bigg success. They only lead to discouragement.

Time- and Resource-constrained

This one’s easy. President Kennedy said we would accomplish this goal by the end of the decade. It was 1961. The goal was reached July 20, 1969.

He made it clear that resources would have to be diverted from other good causes if this goal was to be reached.

When you set your goals, be sure to give yourself a due date. When will you accomplish this goal? What resources will be required to do it? Do you have them?

Goal-setting is not goal-getting

John F. Kennedy was able to reduce all of this into a simple goal statement of 31 powerful words that set this course of events into action.

Because he wasn’t just a bigg goal-setter, he was a bigg goal-getter.

Setting goals is just the first step in that process. We have a great tool – the Bigg Goal-Getter’s Workbook – which takes you through the entire six step process to put goal-setting and goal-getting to work for you. It’s free when you subscribe to our free newsletter, The Bigg Success Weekly

Just one final point:

Good goals have a reason behind them. They serve a bigger purpose. Every goal should lead you closer to the bigg success of which you dream. So we’ll close with John F. Kennedy himself explaining why sending a man to the moon was so important:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
 

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00441-072009.mp3

Related posts

The Power of Imagination

The Single Biggest Barrier To Your Success

Regrets…Had A Few?

(Image and quotes in today's post from NASA)

Is It Better to be Lucky or Smart?

 

shamrocks

  

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We have a friend who buy and sells businesses. He’s been very successful over the last thirteen years. He started out by buying a bunch of businesses for a small amount of money. A few years later, he sold those businesses for a large amount of money.

Then he did it all over again. He’s timed his activities so he buys when the market is low, and sells when it’s high.

So is he lucky or smart?

He says, “It’s better to be lucky than smart.”

3 lessons about luck and intelligence

#1 – You have to be smart in order to do well.
When you first look into a subject, it often appears rather simple. Then as you dig deeper, you start to see all the complexity. As you wade through it, you begin reducing it to its essence and you start to see it as simple again.

You go from simple with no complexity to simple with a full understanding of the complexity. That’s how you know you’ve mastered something. Our friend has mastered the craft of buying and selling businesses.

#2 – You have to remain humble.

You have to recognize that you’re not in control of everything. Luck enters the picture to some degree. The opposite of that is arrogance. Some people don’t realize, or won’t admit, that luck is involved.

They get cocky. They think the rules don’t apply to them. Things come easy for them so they think they will always come easy. They don’t have to “waste” time doing menial activities – the things that made them successful in the first place. The next thing you know, they face an unlucky turn of events!

#3 – Don’t push your luck.
Our friend says that “he leaves a lot of money on the table.” He often says, “I sold it too early.”  But that’s why he’s been so “lucky” – he’s not greedy.

We have another friend who says,

“It’s okay to be stupid, if you’re not greedy.
And it’s okay to be greedy if you’re not stupid.
But if you’re stupid and greedy, look out!”

So is it better to be lucky or smart? We think you’re lucky to be smart – smart enough to know that luck plays into it, too!

Jake’s Take – Top 5 signs that you’re unlucky!
by Jake Novak

#5 – You've been asked to lead the marching band in your local St. Patrick's Day parade, but you play the cello!

#4 – Some people reach into their pant’s pockets and find loose change. You try to reach into your pockets and realize you're not wearing pants!

#3 – Like everyone else this year, you get a lot of those automated campaign calls during dinner, but these recorded calls urge you NOT to vote for their candidate!

#2 – You've always been the first on the block to buy the coolest new electronic equipment, like 8-track tapes, the BetaMax, and HD-DVD!

#1 – When you go to the doctor, they ask you for your insurance card – your LIFE insurance card!

Instead of our usual bigg quote, we’ll do an Irish toast instead:

May you have all the happiness
and luck that life can hold—
And at the end of all your rainbows
may you find a pot of gold.

And hopefully, it’s not fool’s good!

Check out our Bigg Fun page for more St. Patrick’s Day humor!

In our next blog, we’ll discuss nine presentation tips to make you a star! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Related posts 

Does It Pay To Be Smart?

Do You Know Too Much? 

(Image by cobalt123, CC 2.0)

Abandon Ship!

Yesterday, we said that persistence is the single most important ingredient for your success. If you persist long enough, you’re sure to succeed! However, you have to be smart about it. With that in mind, here are four signs that it’s time to abandon ship!

Internal signs
#1 – It’s affecting your health.
Your health is more important than any career. You may be having anxiety attacks, experiencing constant stress, feeling burned out or fatigued. These are indications that it may be time for a change.

To succeed bigg, you’ll feel stressed from time-to-time. You need to push on, unless it’s affecting your health long-term. NOTHING is worth that. If your long-term health is being affected by what you’re doing, it’s time to abandon ship!

#2 – You’re bored beyond belief.
You’ve been there, done that. Every day feels like a week. It’s harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. You don’t look forward to work. You feel like you’re stagnating.

The first sign covers your physical health. Here we’re talking about your mental health. When you’re bored to tears, it’s time to abandon ship!

External signs
#3 – There’s no room for growth.
This is related to the second sign. However, in this case, it’s beyond your control. It may be that you’ve been promoted as far as you can go. Perhaps you can’t expect any significant increase in your income. Maybe your company is reaching maturity.

You’ve taken it as far as the circumstances will allow. If there’s little or no opportunity on the horizon, it’s time to abandon ship!

#4 – The trends are bad.
Change happens. It affects your industry – for good or bad. If it’s creating damage, ask yourself 

Is it a trend or is it a fad?

Fads are short term – they will come and go. Trends are long-term things that you can’t change. Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, said, “When management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.”

We don’t doubt that you’re good. But even you can’t buck the trends. If it’s a fad, push on! If it’s a trend that’s devastating your industry, abandon ship!

Have you felt the need to abandon ship? Or maybe you’re considering it now?
Share your experience with us … leave a comment below!

But don’t just jump ship … prepare your life boat first.

Store up provisions.
Find ways to save some money – skip that latte or pack a lunch until you get settled. Set it aside to provide for you and your family.

Don’t forget your life jacket.
This is your support network. Talk to people who will encourage you, weigh in with ideas, and perhaps refer you to good opportunities.

Remember your compass.
Obviously, you need to know that you’re headed in the right direction. Check out these great resources for guidance:

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part I)    

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part II)   

Coping With Life Change    

Your Potential Power    

Are You Going Through A Mid-Life (Career) Crisis  

Is It Time For You To Rock And Roll (Change Careers)    

10 Signs That You’re Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business    

Stretch Yourself Anew    

What Makes You Tick    

Finding The “Good” In Good-Bye    

How Do You Define Success      

Visualizing The Life You Want (Part II)    

Climbing The Stairway To Success    

Take your oars.
You don’t want to just float, so grab your oars. These are things you can do to steer you in the right direction – like take a class or get a part-time job in a field you think might be interesting.

Bring your flare gun.
Prepare to market yourself – spruce up your resume and cover letter. Think creatively so you get the attention of the right people.

Our Bigg Quote today comes from George William Curtis.

“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.”

You are the captain of your own ship. Usually you will persist and stay with the course. But occasionally, the best thing you can do is to find a new ship and start your journey anew. Bon voyage!

Next time, we’ll answer a question for one of our newsletter subscribers. He wants some tips on wooing potential investors over dinner. We’ll talk about how to be dashing while dining!

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Does It Pay To Be Smart?

We ran across an interesting study about what your IQ says about how rich you’ll be. The study was conducted by Jay Zagorsky, an economist at Ohio State University, and published in the journal, Intelligence.

Zagorsky measured the income and wealth of people who were 40 to 47 years old. He sorted the data by IQ level.

Does it pay to be smart? Yes … and no.

Yes, it pays to be smart.
Zagorsky’s study confirmed what previous studies had shown. People with higher IQs tend to have higher incomes. We wonder if it’s a function of IQ or if educational attainment plays in – since it’s also been proven that higher levels of education tend to result in higher incomes.

Regardless, people with above-average IQs tend to earn more.

No, it doesn’t pay to be smart.
Zagorsky found that people with lower IQs are just as wealthy, perhaps even more so, than people with high IQs! Zagorsky defines wealth as assets minus liabilities. How much you own compared to how much you owe.

Few people with below-average IQs had high income. However, a relatively large number of them had a high net worth.

It turns out that people with higher IQs were MORE likely to have trouble paying bills, have maxed out credit cards, and have declared bankruptcy, than people with lower IQs.

Why aren’t smart people rich?
Zagorsky offers several theories for why being smart doesn’t necessarily lead to being rich. It’s possible that smart people are more confident in their ability to earn more money, so they spend more money. Perhaps they feel they can take more risk, because they can make more money if they need it.

We wonder if it’s not because of the age group. People with IQs below the norm probably started working earlier, on average, than people with high IQs, who were earning advanced degrees. So people with lower IQs have had more years in the workforce. Will people with high IQs catch up with them over time?

Smart or not, we’re only human!
What this study really confirms is a timeless principle – the real secret to accumulating more wealth is to spend less than what you make. How profound!

We’re all human – some smarter than others. However, we’re all subject to that human trait that makes us spend as much as we make. Make more … spend more.

Do you remember the secret to begin accumulating wealth, as told in The Richest Man in Babylon?

A part of all you earn should be yours to keep.

If you don’t spend it, you’ll always have it. And more – because your money will make money for you if you invest it right.

For whatever reason, people with below-average IQs seem to do a better job of that than people with above-average IQs. At least according to this study.

What do you think? Why do people with lower IQs have more wealth? What tips do you have for managing money? Let us know.

Our bigg quote today is by Benjamin Franklin.

“A penny saved is a penny earned.”

It’s smart to save money, because being smart with your money is money in the bank.

Next time, we’re going to talk about your own personal SWOT analysis – analyzing strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. It’s a follow up to Visualize The Life You Want and Live Your Dream Life With Purpose.

If your goal is to save more money, learn how to achieve that goal with our Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook. It’s free when you subscribe to our free weekly newsletter. We bet you’re smart enough to recognize that for the deal it is!

Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!