Even a small star shines in the darkness.
-- Finnish proverb

 

   

The MONTHLY Motivator - December 2003

Being effective

Accomplishment requires effectiveness. It takes a lot more than just trying if you’re going to get anything accomplished. Not only do you need to take action. That action needs to yield results. Yes, it’s great to give it your best shot. Doing something is infinitely better than doing nothing. What’s even better than just doing something, though, is getting the results you’re after.

Being effective is more than just being busy. Being effective is not just a matter of working toward a goal. Being effective is a matter of working smart and achieving that goal.

To be effective you must first know clearly, precisely and specifically what you’re planning to achieve. How can you possibly get what you want if you don’t even have a clear idea of what it is? That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it. Yet every single day there are people working their hearts out who don’t really even know why they’re doing it. Yes, they have some vague idea of “accomplishing something great” or “being somebody” or “going somewhere nice.” But they haven’t taken the time to clearly define those goals and as a result they can never possibly reach them.

For your efforts to be effective they must have a clear and specific objective. So get clear on precisely what you intend to achieve. Decide on it and decide on all the details. Just the act of defining and clarifying your goals will give your effectiveness a big leap forward.

To be effective, to get results, you’ve got to care about what you’re doing. You know how terribly frustrating it is to work with someone who doesn’t care about their job. If somebody doesn’t care about what they’re doing, they are simply not going to be very effective at all. The way to care about your work is to understand why you’re doing it. The way to care about your goals is to know why you’ve set them. When you can connect yourself to your efforts and objectives in a personally meaningful way, that’s going to make your effectiveness skyrocket because it will engage you fully in what you’re doing. So understand why you’re doing it and you’ll find a way to connect yourself.

Raising your expectations can raise your effectiveness. How do you raise your expectations? All through the day you talk to yourself. Most of the thousands of thoughts you think each day are things you’re saying to yourself. Each one of those thoughts is your opportunity to raise your expectations, to talk positively to yourself, to encourage yourself, to challenge yourself. Rather than filling your mind with “I could never do that” fill it with thoughts such as “I will do whatever is needed” and “I can learn” and “I am able.”

The fact is, you will be precisely as effective as you expect to be. So get in the habit of expecting the best. Be your own best cheerleader. Take advantage of the thousands of opportunities you have each day to give yourself positive encouragement. While you’re waiting for an appointment, while you’re driving your car, while you’re in the shower -- you can be building yourself up and making yourself more effective just by saying positive and encouraging things to yourself.

Did you ever wish you could predict the future? Just imagine how much more effective you could be if you knew what was going to happen an hour from now, or tomorrow, or next week. Well, the fact is that you can predict much of your own future with a simple technique known as planning ahead.

Every minute you spend planning will typically save you five minutes in execution. That’s an incredible return on the investment of your time. And it’s a huge boost to your effectiveness.

It’s great to know precisely where you’re going. It’s even better to know precisely how you will get there. Planning prevents you from always having to wonder “what do I do next?” Planning allows you to keep the momentum going when you’re already taking action, so you can continue to benefit from the power of that momentum. Planning helps keep your actions all going together in the direction of your goals. The more you plan what your efforts will be, the more effective they become.


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—Ralph Marston