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Author: Clinton Ages

Experience is the Best Teacher Reflect on Your Actions Taken

Welcome to the last episode of the Coach Clinton 7-Steps to Accomplishment Methodology –finally!

Those of you who have been with me throughout this journey deserve my heartiest congratulations because now you are equipped with the knowledge to achieve anything you want in life. The only limit is your ambitions otherwise nothing is beyond your reach – provided that you follow the entire process just like I described.

Before we fit in the last piece of the achievement jigsaw puzzle, let us list down the first 6 steps:

Step 1 – Appraise your performance
Step 2 – Ascertain your goals and priorities
Step 3 – Approach your goal achievement plan
Step 4 – Avert negativity with your motivation affirmation
Step 5 – Actualize your goals by getting into action
Step 6 – Attain your goals and reward yourself

Now we start with the last step…

Step 7 – Analyze Results

This last step is one of the most important step of the 7-step methodology. After going through great pains and achieving your goals, you need to sit down and analyze the entire process. If you don’t do that, you will have to reinvent the wheel every time you start working on the next goal.

This step helps you learn from your mistakes and helps you identify your strong points so that you can avoid the mistakes and focus on the strengths. Result? Swifter achievement of your goals with lesser mistakes – thus achieving Elevation Exceleration!

This step, as known as Analyze Results, is all about extracting the value of learning from the actions that you have taken while striving toward your goals. It is of utmost importance to learn from past actions. Have you heard the phrase ‘hindsight is 20/20’? It makes perfect sense because once an event has occurred, it becomes very easy to analyze it and see what went wrong with it whereas it is almost impossible to predict something that may happen in the future. Even the best project managers struggle to predict and manage risk. So, it seems a wise thing to use your 20/20 hindsight and assess your actions. This simple action can significantly increase your chances of success in the future.

Whether your venture has been a complete success, a moderate success, a disappointing failure, or anything in between, you must sit down and analyze all your actions using your hindsight. Whether you succeed or not, this analysis will give you valuable insights and help you win next time. If you think you have been successful, evaluating the entire effort will help you see which of your actions were right that led you to this success. In future, you can replicate your success by using the same strategies and actions.

The significance of analyzing your mistakes can be understood by a John Powell’s quote: “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” Although he is a film composer, I find his take on mistakes quite extraordinary. According to John’s definition, a mistake is only the one which we fail to analyze and pick up our lesson from. In essence, mistakes are great learning opportunities, in disguise.

I seriously hope that now you realize that analyzing your mistakes is a mandatory step of the self-improvement process. To do this effectively, I’m giving you a few practical tips from my years of experience coaching others:

Analyze every time

Like I said earlier, whether it is a breakthrough success or an utter failure, there is no exemption from the hindsight analysis part. There is no room for any excuse that can allow you to skip this extremely important step.

Record your mistakes in detail

Make it a point to go through all the events in greater detail and see which actions were correct and which ones need to be marked for review. Pay attention to the actions and decisions that could have been altered to get better results. The key here is to go in sufficient detail and not to let any detail slip through the cracks.

Accept mistakes

Since this activity is for your own improvement, you should not be afraid of openly accepting your mistakes. Providing yourself with false comfort at this stage will definitely lead you to pay much higher cost of making further mistakes in the future. The best thing is to accept your mistakes with an open mind.

Reasons vs excuses

As a human being, we unconsciously fix the blame of our mistakes on external factors and save ourselves from guilt. It is important to be a little more objective with yourself and not to confuse between genuinely justified reasons for a failure and baseless excuses just to let yourself loose. A better option is to blame yourself for every mistake and then try to take off the blame by using factual justifications only.

Seek help

It is time to acknowledge the fact that nobody is a master of everything. We have made mistakes but there is no shame in seeking the help of someone who is better at doing something – someone who is a specialist of that particular area. Do your due diligence to find the best source of help and ask for help without feeling the unnecessary guilt of not knowing something.

Ask yourself the right questions

Asking yourself the right questions is a great way to get educational value from your mistakes. These questions should be able to capture the exact mistakes and turn them into valuable lessons for the future. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Did this turn out the way I visualized?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • What mistake(s) did I make?
  • What was the outcome of my mistake?
  • What type of additional planning do I think could have helped me?
  • What exactly can I learn from this?
  • What can I do in the future to avoid this type of result again?
  • Which skills or resources will I need to handle this type of situations more effectively?
  • What changes can I make in my approach to improve future results?

By following these points, I’m sure you can convert your mistakes into great opportunities. After following this methodology for a few times to achieve different goals, you will see yourself getting better at this and you will even look forward to embarking on your next endeavor.

To conclude this series of discussions, I would urge you again to stop procrastinating and start chasing your dreams and ambitions using the Coach Clinton 7-Steps to Accomplishment Methodology. As the results will start to pour in, I’m sure you will thank yourself for taking this initiative.

Best of luck!

Attain Your Goals and Reap Your Rewards

On our journey towards an amazing life, full of achievement and satisfaction, we are covering the last leg of the Coach Clinton 7-Steps to Accomplishment Methodology.

Before we talk about this step, let’s summarize the previous steps, very quickly:

Step 1 – Appraise: An analysis of your current actions and habits, followed by elimination of the unproductive ones.
Step 2 – Ascertain: An in-depth thought process to develop your goals and set their priority.
Step 3 – Approach: Development of a comprehensive execution plan to achieve the previously set goals.
Step 4 – Avert: Formulation of a unique Motivation Affirmation to set your brain up for success.
Step 5 – Actualize: Doing the actual work to realize your goals. Know the important difference between ‘Self-Leadership’ and ‘Self-Management’ where the former is all about setting and prioritizing your goals the latter guides towards the discipline of executing those goals.

Step 6 – Attain

Once you are through these five steps, you are almost done – free to bask in the glory of your own achievements. This step is all about appreciating, rewarding, and even a little pampering yourself for your strenuous efforts which contributed to your reaching the summit.

No matter how towering or how small your goals were, achieving them is a big win. There’s no greater feeling than that of being able to utter the words “I did it!” This simple declaration births tons of positive emotions running through our psyche: satisfaction, pride, self-importance, thankfulness, and joyfulness. In fact, your accomplishment doesn’t even have to be spectacular. It can be as mundane as finally getting the laundry done, or the garage cleaned out, or assembling that piece of furniture you purchased from Ikea!

We all love the feelings of achieving our goals, the feelings of winning, of the feelings of mastering something. These feelings add to your sense of competence and self-worth. They let you know that you are capable of doing what we set out to do. That you have persisted in the face of countless difficulties while you could have easily fooled yourself with lame excuses – like the majority of people around you. This single feat deserves a befitting celebration. In addition to celebrating your success, it is imperative that you reward yourself with something that you value. The reward can range from a small gift like your favorite chocolate bar, or a vacation to your favorite destination! Yes, why not? This is your debut achievement after all. Now you know that you are developing the habit of chasing your dreams, day in and day out. After getting your first goal, you should be able to imagine the heaps of achievements you will collect in this lifetime!

Why reward yourself?

It is very important to reward yourself after an achievement. Rewarding should never be treated as an accessory or a luxury, because this simple act helps you not only recharge your depleted energy but also to prepare you for the next challenge. Gretchen Rubin, a best-selling author, highlights the importance of rewards succinctly with these words: “If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself”.

Here are a few positive ideas that can help you decide your reward for yourself. Feel free to be creative with these ideas make up your own but make sure that it is something that is really meaningful to you, otherwise the basic purpose would not be served.

How to reward yourself?

  • Take a little time off – It’s a good idea to take a breather right after you completely attain a major goal. A little rest is always recommended but with the caution that it should not be too long or else your engines will cool down – making it more difficult to get back on track again.
  • Give yourself a gift voucher – This one is a little bit slippery because there are chances of going too far in spending once you start shopping. One solution is to give yourself a certain amount or a shopping voucher of a limited value. Another better way to spend for satisfaction is to give that amount to someone who really needs it. Charity is a guaranteed way to give you instant gratification.
  • Buy yourself a useful gift – You can also buy something for yourself but again, you need to set a limit for that. A great tip is to give yourself something very useful. For example, if you are an entrepreneur, you can invest in a workshop or a coaching program that can add value to your entrepreneurial processes.
  • Celebrate with your loved ones – Even if it is nothing fancy or expensive, sharing your success with family and friends is always a very satisfying experience. Arrange a small get-together with people you care for and thank them for their support and love.
  • Treat yourself to a delicacy – This is something that we normally don’t do. Treat your taste buds with something very special and enjoy the flavor in your own company.

Like I said, these are just a few ideas. Think of something that you value and is meaningful to you and you’ve got your plan for rewarding yourself.

Think you’ve failed?

For those of you who followed all the five steps religiously and didn’t reach your target, please stay assured that it is still a success. Why? You are a success because you broke the spell of lethargy and procrastination. While billions of people are wasting their time running after small, worthless pleasures, you are carving a life of fulfillment and achievement for yourself and even for others around you. Does this sound anything like failure? Not to me.

Remember that one day, you will thank yourself for this failure as this is the opening which will lead you into a lifelong series of achievements. I like Henry Ford’s quote about failure where he says that, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” So I urge you to be more patient with yourself and not to start the stream of self-belittling thoughts. Start again, avoid repeating the same mistakes and I’m sure there is no chance of failure – provided that you try enough times.

To sum this up, I feel like sharing the last stanza from the famous poem “Don’t Quit” by Edgar A. Guest – I always find great encouragement in these words:

“Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”

After this step, we are only one small step away from completing this magical journey. Although we are almost done here, don’t forget to read the last article of this series, which discusses a very strategic aspect of this process.

Stay tuned!

Consistency is the Key to Accomplishment

I hope you are with us in this amazing journey towards achieving the super you, with Coach Clinton 7-Steps to Accomplishment Methodology.

This series of insightful articles intends to let you in on this proven methodology to realize all your dreams and reach even beyond them.

Let’s have a cursory look at what we have covered so far:

Step 1 – Appraise: Analyzing your actions/habits, eliminating the unproductive ones and picking up the value-adding activities only.

Step 2 – Ascertain: Formulating, categorizing, and prioritizing your success goals.

Step 3 – Approach: Developing a comprehensive, actionable plan to cover all your goals.

Step 4 – Avert: Formulating your unique Motivation Affirmation to set your brain up for success.

The next step that you will be learning here marks the end of the ‘Plan and Execute’ phase, but stay alert because I consider this step to be the actual core of this entire methodology.

Step 5 – Actualize:

Actualize is the step that commands the real action in this process. Here, you will take the important information chalked in the previous steps and use that to start taking action. This guided action will definitely bring you closer to your goals.

Now that you have reached this far, you have reached the point where all the planning has been done and the analysis phase is up ahead. This is the perfect window providing you with the opportunity to take action, execute and start checking items off your list. The simple act of cutting out to-do items has a special energy hidden inside it. So when you start acting on your plans, you get the chance to ‘kill’ tasks that have been bothering you and making you feel guilty for years. Doing this simply means that you are unloading the heaps of burden from your shoulders and congratulating yourself for getting on the track of achievement.

Remember the motivation affirmation? The fulfillment that you will start feeling by getting things done will supplement the positive impact of your affirmation. These two elements, when combined, will improve your confidence and enhance your self-beliefs. Result – added energy and increased rate of goal attainment.

Now, it’s time to share a few essential ingredients that you need to add in during your action phase. This will significantly increase your chances of success throughout this step.

  • Perseverance – This single word has a whole world of potential in it. A great mind like Albert Einstein credited his successes to perseverance with these words: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” This clearly means that you need to keep moving forward, even in the face of crippling obstacles and all types of resistance. No matter how hard the task at hand may be, you can overcome it by just maintaining your momentum. So, while executing your plans, stay focused on the deliverables and persist in all situations.
  • Self-Leadership and Self-Management – In his world-renowned book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey puts forth these two, golden concepts – ‘Self-Leadership’ and ‘Self-Management.’ Stephen introduces both ideas in his third habit which is “Put First Things First”. Self-leadership involves the strategic prioritizing of your goals and setting your goals and principles. Self-management is the discipline of executing those goals in the order of priority which you have decided earlier. This step, actualize, relates to self-management and involves taking practical steps to realize your goals in the right order. So, during your action phase, being mindful of these two concepts can guarantee greater chances of success.
  • Organization – When it comes to meeting your goals and achieving your dreams, we must be mindful of the obvious reality that we only have a very limited time on our hands. If you are genuinely interested in achieving your goals, you just cannot afford to waste this most precious resource. The best piece of advice that I want to give you on saving time is to organize. Organization is the key to realizing your ambitions and making it possible in the smallest amount of time. By organizing, I mean that you break down your large goals into smaller, and more manageable, objectives. This simple act will work wonders for you. First of all, you will stop being overwhelmed by the sheer size of your ambitions. For example, if you have an ambitious monthly income goal, you will keep being intimidated by its magnitude until you set a progressive goal that bumps up a little, every month. This way, you will achieve your dream figure instead of sitting down very day to procrastinate and brood over your unfulfilled goal. Another plus of chunking your goals is that you keep getting motivated with every small achievement. This gratification adds fuel to your commitment to reaching the summit.

It is also very important to assign a measurable result and a definitive deadline to each sub-task to make yourself answerable in an objective manner.

So here you are with the most important information about this process in your hands. I am labeling this as ‘most important’ because this is where most of us stumble and never get up. Taking action comes as the most difficult thing to a vast majority. People who do take the initiative and start taking action, lose momentum along the way, for reason or another.

By knowing the exact problem points – where people usually fail -, you should consider yourself to be lucky. So beware of falling back into the arms of lassitude. Keep yourself motivated by hitting milestones and strive for the next one and the one after. There is no point in wasting time in preparing your plans and chalking out action strategies if you don’t intend to spring into action when it’s needed. I’d recommend to put in your 100% commitment to action from the very start and leave no space for excuses.

I had been thinking of finding the best way to sum up this very important discussion. And thankfully, I was reminded of these priceless words by the one and only, Pablo Picasso:

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

I’ll be with you soon to take you further up the road with the next step

You’ve Set the Goal – Now What’s Your Plan?

We are continuing to walk on our proven path that consists of the magical seven steps towards success and achievement in life and – known as the Coach Clinton 7-Steps to Accomplishment Methodology.

We have discussed the first two steps at length which are appraise and ascertain , and now we are on the third stage which is called the ‘Approach’ step. By reaching here, we are past the mind mapping phase and things are going to get more action-oriented and practical from here onwards. So this is the time to strengthen your commitments and actually take some practical steps to start the realization of your dreams because without targeted action, all that remains is mere talk and nothing practical.

Here is a recap for you in order to help you connect the third step with the first two and understand the process more clearly.

  • In the first step, appraise, we talked about doing a comprehensive self-evaluation so that you can separate the positive patterns from the ones which are hindering your performance.
  • In the second step, ascertain, we had a detailed look at everything related to devising your goals so that these goals are based on some solid foundations instead of personal whims.

If you have worked on these two steps, you must have in your hand:

  1. A detailed picture of your strengths and weaknesses along with a plan to further improve yourself by leveraging the pluses and eliminating the shortcomings
  2. A full-fledged document containing your short, medium and long term goals stacked in separate categories for further action

With this information handy, you have all the prerequisites that you need to start the first step –one that will guide your actions leading to achievement of your long term goals. During this process, the information from your self-assessment and your list of goals will be used as input for directing your activities.

Developing Your Action Plan

You cannot accomplish even the smallest of goals without making its action plan and listing down the real actions that you will have to undertake. Now that you have all your goals in front of you, it’s time to take each goal and support that goal by attaching an action plan with each one.

Here are the time-tested recommendations that will help you develop your action plan in order to direct your efforts towards completion and continuous success:

  • Categorization – First of all, you need to take each goal and study it thoroughly before labeling it in one of the categories that you have already listed down. The categories may include personal goals, professional goals and the like.
  • Prioritization – Within each category, you will now make a priority list by ranking your goals according to their importance. The ranking will be done based on the importance whereas the level of importance will be the outcome of your personal desire to do something and your intended achievement from fulfilling that desire. After ranking the long term goals, you will move to rank the short term goals under each major goal in order of level of contribution in fulfillment of the parent goal.
    It is of great importance to set the deadline for every one of your goals according to their rank – otherwise these goals will be very less likely to see light of the day.
  • Monthly Planning – When you are clear about your goals and their priority, it becomes easy to map them on a given timeframe and then pursue them according to the time limits. On the same lines, you need to create a monthly planner and chalk out your goals on that planner. Doing this will help you stay on track by giving you a visual of your to-do list so that you stay reminded of the pressing tasks that need to be completed before its deadline.
  • Task Division – Now take your top most important goal and make a list of all the individual activities that will have to complete in order to achieve this goal. While doing this, think the goal through and make sure that you list down all the activities without missing anything. These measurable activities – instead of a large goal – will be the ones that will bring you closer to your goal.
  • Weekly Planning – Once you have listed all the subsequent tasks that will help you materialize a goal, the next logical thing to do is to arrange them in their natural order of completion. By doing this, you will have a sequential to-do list which simply requires you to complete each task in this order without having to waste your energy cutting through a clutter. Just like you made a monthly plan, these sub-tasks will be planned on a weekly timeframe and at the end of every week, you should ideally be able to tick off all the week’s assigned tasks.
  • Weekly Review – While working on a weekly schedule, it is always helpful to identify milestones for each task and stop during the week to gauge your progress. Pat yourself on the back if you are on the right track but in case you are not, re-plan your remaining week wisely and take quick action to make sure that this week’s targets are met positively. To make more room for these tasks, audit your plans for the running week and push down anything that is not serving your goal achievement.
  • Resource Planning – After all your planning related to the tasks, their importance and their right order is done, the next step is to analyze your plan with a resource perspective. I recommend you to sit down and list all the resources that you will need to materialize your goals. The resources can fall into broad categories like People, Technical, Knowledge, and Information resources. Once you have a list of what you need, now plan the acquisition of that resources in terms of the possible source(s) to get hold of a particular resource as well as the time required to obtain it. This important step will ensure that you don’t waste time in the middle of the journey in arranging for resources.
  • Action! – Now that you have planned each and every detail of your mission, it’s time to get running and start completing your weekly tasks so that your monthly targets are met. This way, you will see yourself start to check off your short term goals from the goals’ list leading to achievement of your bigger goals.

So today, we dived into the details of planning your goals in the most effective manner and if you have followed this discussion, you can already see your life’s ambitions being materialized – one after the other.

While it’s good to take some well-deserved rest after a big breakthrough, I cannot overemphasize the importance of building and maintaining your momentum because if you relax during this process, it will take you much more energy to get this momentum back – significantly increasing your chances of failure.

So now that you are starting your action plan, here are a few motivating words from one of the most accomplished personalities:

“Action is the foundational key to all success”
– Pablo Picasso

Stay tuned for the upcoming discussions that are geared to help you keep pushing forward on this track of success and achievement.

Harnessing the Immense Power of Your Thoughts

Welcome to the next post about the wonderful journey towards greatness with Coach Clinton 7-Steps to Accomplishment Methodology.

This series of 8 articles is all about developing and expanding your horizons and realizing all of your life’s dreams. We have discussed the first three steps in this seven-step journey and today I will reveal the fourth magical step for you. To keep the conversation flowing, here’s a quick recap of what we have already discussed:

Step 1 – Appraise: Analyzing your actions/habits, eliminating the unproductive ones and picking up the value-adding activities only.

Step 2 – Ascertain: Formulating, categorizing, and prioritizing your success goals.

Step 3 – Approach: Developing a comprehensive, actionable plan to cover all your goals.

Now that we are back in the flow let’s head towards the fourth step – Avert.

Step 4 – Avert

This step is called ‘avert’ because here we will make sure that you steer clear of all sorts of negativities and self-limiting behaviors. How will that be done? By focusing only on the positive aspects of your life and creating a strong will to achieve your goals. Any self-doubts, if present, will be wiped out and your internal space will be cleared up to make way for confidence and commitment.

Have you heard the story of the “Little Engine That Could?” How did the Little Engine manage to achieve a feat that was scaring away the stronger engines? The secret behind that Little Engine’s success was that it believed in its abilities. It pushed aside all doubts simply by chanting the mantra “I think I can, I think I can”! Similarly, this step involves finding the mantra that is made exclusively for you, in order to get the best results. It is also known as the Motivation Affirmation and saying it over and over again makes a huge difference in the achievement of desired results.

What is an Affirmation?

It is appropriate to take a closer look at what actually is an affirmation and how can it help you achieve your goals. An affirmation is a thoughtfully developed phrase or sentence that you repeat regularly. It is basically the act of making a declaration to yourself – repeatedly. The basic premise is that anything can be materialized into existence by repeating the same group of words repetitively. For example, if I’m not in my perfect health and shape, I might develop a positive affirmation like “My health is improving every day”. Simply put, Motivation Affirmation is using words of encouragement to help increase your positive energy and give you the “I think I can” will power to overcome difficulties and accomplish your goals like the Little Engine That Could.

Do you have a hard time digesting the fact that a few simple words can achieve such great feats and are you also struggling with how affirmations are capable of such results? Don’t worry. Because affirmations have been scientifically proven to have the power of rewiring our brain’s functioning to make us believe whatever we are affirming. When you repeat your affirmation, your brain gets a message that this is something important. In other words, this message becomes a part of your belief system, and your body acts accordingly until that goal is achieved. There are a number of scientific studies that verify the positive impact of affirmations on one’s mind and the way our brains function. So, it’s time to put aside your doubts. It’s time to make your dreams come true by drawing energy from the positivity of words!

Why do we need affirmations?

Because we all have developed some sort of apprehension about our capabilities and we have installed a mental ceiling limiting whatever we are capable of achieving in this life. These self-limiting attitudes are a result of a number of factors, which we might or might not have consciously noticed throughout all these years. Every failure – whether big or small – leaves a small amount, a residue if you will, of self-doubt in our minds. This is especially true when we do not consciously perceive this failure as an opportunity to learn and improve. These small deposits pile up to put us in a permanent state of self-doubt, and we start believing that we are not good enough.

This step, in your journey towards success, is very important because using the motivation affirmations, you can easily get rid of these negative thoughts and avert your negative behavior. Motivation affirmations help you in two ways:

  1. By using professionally developed affirmations, you can get the negative thoughts and attitudes out of your way. This cleansing is very important because nothing good can happen if you are holding on to negative attitudes and habits.
  2. These affirmations are called ‘motivation affirmations’ because once the roadblocks are clear, you can use them to motivate and pump up yourself to the point where there is no option other than taking action to materialize your success.

Anatole France, the great poet, and novelist, once said that “To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream. Not only plan but also believe.” These words go a long way to reinforce the primary point of this discussion. Dreaming and believing in the realization of those dreams is as important as planning and taking suitable action.

Motivation affirmation is the tool that will help you dream. It will bring out your true desires and by repeating those desires in a positive manner, you will start believing in achieving those desires. Once you start believing, you start achieving. It’s as simple as that!

Since these words are now paving the way for your success, you cannot leave them to chance or luck. It is very important to have your affirmations developed by a professional. With my decades of experience in helping people reach their best, I will work with you to formulate your motivation affirmations. I will do that by analyzing your unique personality, your ambitions and a host of other elements that will provide me with the feedback to come up with the words which will serve as magic for your success. The result will be a bespoke motivation affirmation for you which will catalyze this process of performance enhancement by clearing up your thinking process and making you more confident of your abilities and unique talents.

There is no rocket science in motivation affirmations. It’s just the art of using words to manifest your dreams and desires.

Once you have your motivation affirmation in your hand, you’ll be on your way to chant your way to success.

I will see you soon in the next step of our magical journey. (Hint: It’s packed with action!)