Write it Down Then Live it Out

“No, I don’t like where I am in life. I want to be doing better.”

The young woman had come to my office looking for help. I told her that knowing she was not where she wanted to be was good. It is a step to acknowledge that and know you want to do better.

I asked her what she was doing to move forward. “Nothing really.”

Stealing a line from Dr. Phil I asked, “How’s that working for you?”

“Not very well. That’s why I came to you!”

We talked for a while about her situation. Mainly with me asking questions. What she needed most was clarity on what she wanted to accomplish in life. Even more she needed to know who she wanted to be in life.

I asked her if she had ever written down goals for her life. She said that she had not. So I asked her if she was willing to do so. Without so much as blinking an eyelash I told her that “studies” show that people who write down their goals have a much better chance of fulfilling them.

I was really glad she didn’t challenge me on the studies. I would not have been able to give her a citation. She left saying she would work on the written goals and I quickly did a search for said studies. What I found might interest you and be of help.

In 1979 the Harvard MBA program conducted a study where they asked students this question: “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” You might want to answer that question for yourself before you read further.

Here’s what they found out: only 3% had written down their goals and plans. Only 3% in Harvard’s MBA program! 13% said they had goals but they were not in writing. And a staggering 84% had no goals at all.

Ten years later the students were revisited and you will be amazed at what was discovered. The 13% who had goals but had never written them down were earning two times the salary of the 84% who had no goals. But get this—the 3% who had goals and wrote them down were earning an average of ten times as much as “the other 97% of the class combined!”

Life is made up of much more than what salary you take home. But I believe the principle we can take away from this study has to do with more than your salary or mine. Having a direction for your life and writing it down is a key to fulfilling your life’s calling.

I am not one who believes you can just “name it and claim it.” I do, however, believe that there is a power in knowing where you want to go in life and who you want to be. Here’s why: once you are clear on those two things you can say “yes” to the things that will help you get there and be the person you want to be and “no” to the things that will move you off course.

Why not give it a try? Take some time this week to write down…yes, with a pen and paper…3-5 goals for your work and 3-5 statements about who you want to be.

You may not like where you are in life now. But it can be better once you are clear about where you are going.

Question: What do you most want to accomplish in the next year?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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