Goal Setting



By: J. Sergio Fortes


I have borrowed the title above from a speech by businessman Dr. John Haggai. Speaking with a strong voice and the energy of a “young man of 90 years old,” Dr. Haggai challenged business and professional people from many nations to consider the risks of “unfinishing works” in every area of their lives.

More recently, I watched the painful live images on local TV channels showing the tragedy of a commercial airplane crashing in my city with nearly 200 people on board. It had passed over a building where I often went on business – and where I had friends from whom I was anxiously hoping for news. As I watched, I heard the echo of Dr. Haggai resonant voice: “Be careful with unfinished works.” 

The media have reported that work to correct the airport runway where the airplane tried unsuccessfully to land will continue for months. As I think of this unfinished work – and the works of those who perished aboard the jet – I also thought of countless unfinished things in my own life. The price I had to pay to finish some of them was high. For others, I am still struggling to arrive at a conclusion.

Unfinished works! How can we avoid being destroyed by them, or suffering a heavy penalty for delaying their completion? Philip Chesterfield was very precise in his conclusion: “Everything worthy of being done deserves and requires to be done well.” Unfortunately, due to negligence, inefficiency, laziness, fear, not wanting to suffer or cause others to suffer, the paths of our lives seem littered by unfinished works.

Reflecting on the earthly work He had been commissioned to do,Jesus Christ stated emphatically: “I have finished the work You have given Me to do” (John 17:4). And before giving up His spirit on the cross, He said: “It is finished” (John 19:30). Here are some ideas to help us avoid unfinished works:

Be accountable to someone else. A friend, mentor, parents or spouse are among those who can hold us accountable for unfinished business. However, to be effective, such accountability should occur in a regular basis. Opening our private life and exposing weaknesses we would prefer to keep hidden requires emotional maturity. Knowing the hard task he faced in rebuilding the temple, Solomon sought out this advice from his father: “…Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God – my God – will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 28.20).

Maintain diligence and focus.  Numerous day-by-day activities place a high demand on our time: the multi-tasking effect! Knowing how to set priorities and deal with each with diligence and focus requires wisdom. Solomon definitively learned this lesson: “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys” (Proverbs 18.9).

Pursue the end with determination.  Two months after I began to write a letter to a friend I had not seen in more than 30 years, I heard from another friend that he had cancer. Two weeks my friend died. My letter to him remained unfinished, un-mailed. When I read it I cried, thinking of my lost chance to offer encouragement to one in his last days. Unfinished work often exacts a high price and a heavy penalty. To delay, wait for more inspiration or a better time – are only excuses. God provided our perfect example in the beginning: “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done”(Genesis 2.2). Do not rest while unfinished work remains to be completed!

J. Sergio Fortes is an attorney-at-law and consultant in transportation living in São Paulo, Brazil, where he is a member of CBMC.

Attitude Goal Setting Motivation Uncategorized

5 Reasons People Fail (and What to Do Instead)

5 Reasons People Fail (and What to Do Instead)

by Geoffrey James

These barriers to success are easy to overcome, but only when you know they’re there. Why do some people achieve their goals while others fail? I believe it’s because successful people manage to overcome five barriers that, in many cases, guarantee failure. Here are those barriers and how to overcome them:

1. Uninspiring Goals

When most people set goals, they envision a “thing,” such as a particular amount of money, an object (like a new car), or a specific achievement (like writing a book). Unfortunately, these “things I’m gonna get or do” goals don’t appeal to the core of what motivates you, because they miss the point that what you’re actually seeking in life and work is the POSITIVE EMOTIONS that you believe those things will produce.

Fix: Rather than envisioning a “thing” as your goal, envision–with all the strength in your imagination–how you will feel when you achieve the goal. That way, you’ll be inspired to do whatever it takes (within legal and ethical bounds) to achieve that goal.

2. Fear of Failure

If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t take the necessary risks required to achieve your goal. For example, you won’t make that important phone call, because you’re afraid that you’ll be rebuffed. Or you won’t quit your dead-end job and start your own business because you’re afraid that you might end up without any money.

Fix: Decide–right now!–that failure, for you, is a strictly temporary condition. If things don’t go the way you’d like, it’s only a setback that, at most, delays your eventual success. In other words, accept the fact that you’ll sometimes fail, but treat that failure as an unavoidable (yet vital) component in your quest.

3. Fear of Success

In many ways, this fear is even more debilitating than the fear of failure. Suppose you achieved something spectacular, like enormous wealth. What if it didn’t make you happy? What then? What if you ended up losing all of it? What then? Would your friends start acting weird? Would your family be envious? Such thoughts (and they’re common) can cause even a highly motivated person to self-sabotage.

Fix: Decide that you’re going to be happy and grateful today and happy and grateful in the future, no matter what happens. Rather than focus on possible problems, envision how wonderful it would be to be able to help your friends and family achieve THEIR goals. (Hint: Watch the last season of the TV series Entourage!)

4. An Unrealistic Timetable

Most people vastly overestimate what they can do in a week and vastly underestimate what they can do in a year. Because of this, most people try to cram too many action items into the short term rather than spacing out activities over the long term. The inability to get all the short-term steps accomplished creates discouragement and the impression that the final goal is slipping away.

Fix: As you list the activities and steps required to achieve a goal, schedule only the 20% of the activities that will produce 80% of your results. (I explain more about this in the post The Secret of Time Management.) Beyond that, set ambitious long-term timetables, but always leave some “wiggle room” when you plan short term.

5. Worrying About “Dry Spots”

It’s easy to get discouraged when you reach a point at which nothing you do seems to advance you toward your goal. For example, suppose you’re trying to master a certain skill. You make swift progress at first but then, after a while, it seems as if you’re not doing any better, or maybe a little worse. Some people use these “plateaus” or “dry spots” as an excuse to give up and therefore fail.

Fix: Whenever you reach a plateau or dry spot, it’s time to celebrate rather than give up. A plateau is almost always a sign that you’re on the brink of a major breakthrough, if you just have the patience to stick with it and trust that you’ll eventually achieve your goal.

Geoffrey James writes the Sales Source column on, the world’s most visited sales-oriented blog. His newly published book is Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies From the World’s Top Sales Experts.