“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Perhaps you remember the 2006 best seller, The Secret. The self-help book, authored by Rhonda Byrne, spoke to the Law of Attraction – the idea that we create our own realities by being open to possibility and attracting to ourselves the things we most want. The Secret describes gratitude and visualization as being two of the most potent forces in our quest for manifesting our desires.
It may seem a bit suspect to be calling on a book written in 2006 and as controversial as The Secret for a topic. But as this year begins to wind down, I actually think it a good place to pause. Because what the vast majority of us endeavor to do each and every day is take small steps toward the realization of our dreams. I think it worthwhile to consider the extent to which positive thinking memes like The Secret or Napoleon Hill’s famous Think and Grow Rich can influence our efforts to achieve what we most want in life.
I do believe we are surrounded by possibility and opportunity. We are indeed responsible for creating and surrounding ourselves with an environment geared for success. Without the ability to visualize what we want, we cannot articulate our desires. If we cannot articulate our desires, we don’t understand them very well. I wrote about the necessity for understanding your desires in the past if you want to re-visit the topic.
But notice what Thoreau commends to the process and what Rhonda Bryne put into practice. Once her goals were visualized, she did not simply wait for good things to happen. She wrote a book. Therein lies the real Secret – “if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Clarity of intent and action – one is not only useless, but even dangerous, without the other. But the combination of the two can result in success unexpected in common hours.
So here’s the secret to The Secret: it’s a partial truth. So many people wish for success however defined, but settle for far less because they fail to act appropriately. The quote from Henry David Thoreau above is far closer to the reality of the magic necessary to manifest your dreams. Success, whatever your goals, has more to do with intelligence, effort, and practice than whistling while you work. Positive thinking is one step of several – important, but incomplete.
So here is a five step plan to getting what you want. It’s not really a secret – in fact, it has been proven time and again.
- Visualize what you want and write it down – This is tougher than it sounds because we often don’t have a good grasp of what we really want. We say we want more free time when we mean we want to write a novel. I ask you now, What do you want? Do you want more money? More free time? More clients? Fewer clients? I cannot stress enough the importance of a written plan. The better you articulate your desires, the better your entire being, conscious and unconscious, can line up with all the energy you can muster.
- Believe in yourself – Here’s the positive thinking part of the equation. You have to believe in your ability to deliver value in what you do. Importantly, however, you have to understand what value means! Do you understand your value to the consumer? If you think you sell travel for a living, I respectfully suggest you do not understand your value and you will never believe in yourself. You will instead live from transaction to transaction in fear of being underpriced and out-marketed.
- Set goals for yourself – Without goals, you have no way to monitor your progress. Remember the acronym of SMART Goals.
- Monitor Your Progress – Plans and goals are organic, not static, and they move and change with circumstance and time. Throughout the year monitor your progress and adjust your effort and goals. Learn from mistakes, repeat successes. It is far more important to work smart than to work hard.
- Enlist help – Reach out to those who can help you by helping others. Want to have client loyalty? Be loyal to your clients. Want to learn from the best in the business? Friend a business coach on social media and use their services. Want to have better relationships with top quality suppliers? Talk to them about your plans and ask how you can help them to achieve their goals through your business. We are social creatures and travel consulting is a business built on relationships.
The writer Paulo Coelho said “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” Very true – but it’s a conspiracy and you are a co-conspirator.
Now, get to work.