“Would you regret for the rest of your life if you don’t do it now?”
This caught Ivan completely off guard. It came out of the blue but it also changed him forever.
We will explain why you should always have this in mind if you are to find the crossing from a dream to its representation in the real world, i.e. a goal.
It was about a project Ivan undertook a few years back. We are sure that you’ve been in a similar situation. It might have been personal or professional one but we’ll be pleased if you can reflect on it while we tell you today’s story. We hope you’ll have a different understanding of your own past experience by the end of this article.
How it all started
Once, on a Sunday walk, Ivan was talking to a friend about the company, aula.bg, he had been running.
He and his team were setting up online computer courses and the company was positioned well in the local market.
Then he expressed his intent to move up onto the English-speaking market and join the “big game”. A move like that is quite a challenge which comes with not only the feelings of excitement but also some downers like doubt and skepticism. That’s what he said to his friend.
Ivan had been juggling all the pros and cons in his head for more than a year without getting any closer to a decision.
The “ping-pong” in your head
On one hand, aula.bg was easy to use and very popular. It was creating enormous value to a wide audience across the country.
On the other hand, he felt way too intimidated by the competition in the US market.
But again, on the “one hand” – the platform had at the time a quarter of a million subscribers nationally. People liked it, they enrolled and kept coming back to use it repeatedly.
And then another “con” would pop up – how a small Bulgarian startup can compete with giants such as Lynda.com and Udemy.com which had millions of users as well as huge financial resources.
The “pro” voice in his head was encouraging him, “Come on, you can do it! This will be a blast for you and the team!”
But the “con” was hitting on the brakes right away, “What are you doing! Things are good the way they are. A bird in the hand is better than… That’s real.”
This exchange back and forth tormented him for so long that he gave up any hope for a definitive resolution.
But then something unexpected happened on that same Sunday afternoon.
“Will you regret for the rest of your life if you don’t do it now?”, asked his friend.
This was seemingly straightforward and yet not so obvious question, an eye-opening one.
Ivan had no doubt that he would always be sorry if he had the chance but he didn’t jump on it.
From this moment on, he promised himself to never waste much time weighing the pros and cons. He set out to bring aula.bg to the global marketplace. It became a goal which he “loaded” in our system.
The genie was let out of the bottle
As soon as he has written down his decision he got this awesome feeling of relief.
He was also able to verbalize the answer he always had inside himself without the question being ever posed to him:
“It doesn’t actually matter to me if the idea materializes in order to be glad and happy. These are what I care about while on my quest to achieve the goal.”
And that was that because there is nothing for him to lose.
You either make it or failure teaches you.
What makes “GoalBuddy” such a successful system is that it operates within the paradigm that there are no failures, but only lessons to be learned.
You either win or if don’t then you know how to do better next time around.
So, nothing can beat this – setting up a goal and working on it.
You might be wondering that if that’s the best thing to do, what would be the worst one then?
The trap of just talking about it
There are situations when there is a non-stop floating of ideas about what you can or would do. That’s not a bad thing per se. However, when it’s only a talk and you do nothing to substantiate your words with actions then one should remember the popular “Talk is cheap”. Or is it?
Choosing your objective and the corresponding 90-day action goals is a natural way to start realizing all your plans and to put them out there for a test in the real world.
Be wise when it comes to your energy
You have to admit that if you don’t have a clear direction and you constantly reflect on an idea without ever making the slightest effort to start implementing it, you waste a great deal of your time and other resources.
This is a form of self-inflicted torture which will hurt not only you but it will adversely affect your work as well as those around you.
And when you are goal oriented you know exactly where you are going and what you need to do to get there. You are at your best when focused and with a purpose.
What’s next for you is the actual work. Well, no. There is one more thing before that.
Draw up well the course towards your objective
The big dream you have, the vision, plays the role of a guiding light.
But it can fulfill its part only if you have a definitive answer to the utmost question “Why?” When you are sure your desire is for real then all of the effort and resources will be justified. That means confidence and determination instead of the doubt and insecurities.
Let’s come back now to our story.
His long-term one for aula.bg was “to help more people save time by using a computer much more efficiently”. But this couldn’t stay so for too long and he admitted at some point that it wasn’t viable to keep running the service in its current form for longer than a few more years.
As we said it before, no vision is set in stone. Change is inevitable. It is part of life – you have to react and respond to an ever-changing environment and thus you evolve too. Therefore, you have to review and re-orient your own long-term vision.
Ivan’s had to secure a future for aula.bg by including this game-changing condition to expand into new markets. And he did that by adding only one word at the end of the above statement – “worldwide”.
Develop a strategy
Great, you already have a vision. From now on, for each of your goals, you have a plan which could be one unlimited source for energy and confidence.
There is no need to go too deep into the details. Start by defining only one 90-day action goal. Do not worry about the next one because we guarantee you that it will inevitably undergo some metamorphosis. By the end of the quarter, it will be something naturally linked to the next one.
Just remember that with no specific goal the process of thinking about your dream is one painful exercise in futility. But once you have the objective up and crystal clear then things start not just moving, but rolling.
Think, consider but then act
Let’s say you now define a 90-day action goal.
There is a cornerstone principle here – you work only on the objective and nothing else. You can’t reconsider and start changing the strategy before the end of the period. Your only responsibility is to work on it every single week.
That kind of focus will give you the opportunity not only to register some progress but also to learn a lot along the way. The same applies to the weekly steps.
Give yourself enough time
There is so much potential to boost your performance if you understand the following:
What counts is the time spent working on a goal – sooner or later you will get there!
You shouldn’t worry that your intermediate targets in a big project aren’t as grand. The secret is in the accumulative effect of small but consistent and regular actions.
In the case of Ivan, the first few 90-day goals were mostly organizational. For example, an expansion team was formed. Next was the development of the UX platform for different languages. Speaking of which…
Formulate your goals carefully
The one indispensable characteristic of your objective is that it must be entirely defined by your own actions.
Even if some of the work is in the hands of someone else, you still have to take responsibility for your share and that must be your only priority.
In other words, instead of “Peter has to come up with the system design,” it should be “I have to set up a meeting with Peter regarding the system design”. The end result shouldn’t depend on you alone. It is you who has to kick-start it all by meeting and managing the people who will ultimately do the work.
Advance step by step but consistently and with growing confidence
The 90-day goal should be broken into several consecutive parts, the weekly steps. Do those well and you will be minimizing your stress levels. When you are focused on the work you won’t be bothered to look way ahead into how much more is left to be done.
Such a complex project like Ivan’s, where the goal is to enter the very competitive US market, has to be organized around separate transitional ones. These can be tackled with smaller and simpler but consistent actions. The intent is to cross the finish line by pacing yourself through each mile of the “marathon”.
This shows how by employing the principle of “divide and rule” you can start dismantling brick by brick this big wall in front of you.
Of course, you will have one major advantage, aka your Buddy. They will be the moral support and the helping hand that you will need when difficulties arise.
The lesson for Ivan so far: “It is the road that matters most!”
The project is still mid-way, but it’s doing better than expected. One reason is that the human capital of the company expanded in terms of experience as well in numbers. There was a learning curve that allowed to greatly improve aula.bg’s standing in the national market.
In the worst case scenario, all that you invested will be like a dress rehearsal for any other future projects. Plus, if a business is complacent for too long then there will be a moment when change comes knocking on the door. In this sense, getting on the road at the time of your own choosing is as important as anything else.
I got back my belief that organizing the goals in a system can save the day for me. The overload and the sense of lost purpose go away once you start registering some, even the tiniest of progress.
It may take a couple of years before the completion of the project and we don’t know how all will end up but we are sure that Ivan will be enjoying every step on the way.
It’s good to know what you must do, but it’s equally important to know what you shouldn’t do
Our message to you is that it is better to jump in head first rather than never try and thus miss on what might have made you happy.
There is one other aspect to consider. Find out for yourself as many of those things that you should never try. You do that and you will know yourself better. It’s never too late to figure out what is simply not your thing. There is much worth in that.
Being aware of this will allow you to choose wisely when new endeavors offer themselves to you. When you already know then you never give it another thought and just move on. That’s how you can stay clear from taking on objectives which you already know are not your thing.
Without any regrets whatsoever…
Today we discussed how everyone has periods of uncertainty and indecision in their lives. The fact that we created a goal setting system and it’s an indispensable part of our days doesn’t mean that we are immune to having problems.
The one thing our experience taught us is that inaction is our biggest enemy. Most of the time, we all suffer the consequences of missed opportunities. Don’t feel bad about it! Give it a go instead!
Fight off the moments of inertia, low self-esteem, and fear but also don’t pay attention to those skeptics who are dismissive of any potential success. That’s the way, in our opinion, towards achieving significant and meaningful things that can only make you better and happier.
You should always have goals because they get you on the open road and it will, sooner or later, take you places.