Mastery over mediocrity in 3 steps…

Sticking with it and staying at the top of your game is one of the most difficult skills we ever have to master.

Yet, it is the one thing that will determine if you succeed in life – or not.

How many times have you been close to reaching a goal or dream – gotten tired of the struggle – quit – and then realized a month or year later just how close you really were to your dream coming true?

It happens all the time – yet it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are ways you can keep yourself going – despite the setbacks – and despite your natural instinct to stop and try something else.

People are funny that way – the first sign of resistance (which many of us create ourselves anyhow) and we run with our tails between our legs. Meanwhile – it is a simple test to see how much we truly want our dreams to happen.

If you keep going – you pass the test and your dreams are much closer.Bail out – fail the test and start over again – dreams further than ever.

How do you stick with it – despite all the naysayers in your life telling you otherwise or that little internal voice that is telling you to run, run, run?

First – what is your big deal? You must have an over-riding dream to follow and something you are working towards. Maybe it is a new home, new car – or that month long beach vacation you have always dreamed of.

For others it is an early retirement, or to live on a tropical island for the rest of your life – far away from the awful cold winters and snow, heavy traffic and…. (sorry. getting carried away there).

You must have something to drive you.

If you don’t have it yet – find it! There is something out there calling your name – you know it is meant for you – now you need to chase after it.

Find your big deal – put it up in front of you where you can see it on a daily basis. Cut out photos to remind yourself. Carry a card in your pocket with your dream on it.

Keep it front and center.

Second – are you tracking your dream achievement?

While this may not be a fun thing to do – it WILL keep you motivated. If you are trying to achieve something or obtain something – you have to give something in return (time, money, effort, sweat equity etc). And what you give has a fixed price tag.

Maybe you know it means 4 hours a week of your time. Or 300 hours a year. Whatever it is – it has some form of tracking means to it. Make up a spreadsheet (I use MS Excel) with 100 squares on it – all fitting on one page.

If you are really serious you need to make 1,000 squares and have it fit on one sheet (according to a Harvard study – it takes 1,000 hours to become highly proficient at a new skill).

Every time you knock off a to-do, or an hour of time invested, into your big dream or deal – mark an X through one of the squares.

Post this in a place where you see it daily. preferably your desk or refrigerator. It takes time to fill up that sheet – but the results are incredibly noticeable – and pay off very handsomely in the end.

Personally, I have a sheet with 1,000 squares on it – every hour I spend on writing copy or writing in general I mark off an X. In the past 12 months I am veeeeery close to completing that sheet! That’s 50 weeks at 20 hours per week – just on writing (which I am determined to get damn good at :o)

Can’t wait until those 1,000 hours are marked off – that sheet will be going in a frame above my desk, and above the next sheet with 1,000 blank squares.

[NOTE AND UPDATE: After you work through your first 1,000 square sheet – the second 1,000 square sheet will fill itself much quicker as you now have a benchmark to beat.

My first one took me 12 months – the second one took 10 months the third one filled in 8 months]

Third and last – give yourself a little credit! Every day for the next month I want you to write out 10 daily successes. These can be minor things like ‘Made that phone call I have been dreading’ or ‘took out the garbage’ or ‘had a great meeting with Joe who I usually don’t get along with’ or ‘wrote my list of 10 successes’.

This takes some thought, and some motivation to get done. But the rewards are quick – and you will see things happen rapidly in your life when you stick to your 10 daily successes.

There you have a 3 step plan to achieving your dreams.

You must make the first step though – write out your big deal (picture it in your mind as if it is already accomplished), track your efforts and act on your dreams.