Throughout my life I've been told I needed to set goals to achieve sucess, and when I've taken that advice my life has always been better for it. Even at yoga class, which we begin by setting an intention and dedicating our practice by sending love to somone special, improving areas within ourselves, or just sending some love to the Universe. I have found when I deeply set my intention during the practice I have greater clarity and focus and get better results with breathing and poses.
Going back 20 years I was a budding salesman I had lots of desire, little knowledge and no money. Much of the success that occured in the following years was the result of modeling the top salesperson, but another factor was listening and reading the works of Brian Tracy. In particular his book, Maximum Achievement, which I first read in 1996. In thumbing through my old copy today I was amazed at how many pages I dog eared, filled with sticky notes, or highlighted. And I was even more amazed at the notebook next to the book which was filled with my short, medium, and long term goals from back in those years.
In the beginning of the book Brian Tracy outlines his Seven Ingredients of Success, the fifth one being: Worthy Goals and Ideals.
The fifth ingredient of success is worthy goals and ideals. Perhaps your deepest subconscious drive, according to Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning, is the need for meaning and purpose in life. To be truly happy, you need a clear sense of direction. You need commitment to something bigger and more important than yourself. You need to feel that your life stands for something, that you are somehow making a valuable contribution to your world.
Happiness has been defined as "the progressive realization of a worthy ideal." You can only be happy when you are working step by step toward something that is really important to you.
What I find inspirational, aside from both Brian Tracy and I having a fondness for Frankl, is the neccessity to have a "worthy ideal", a driving force in the context of business that will provide personal happiness.
When I first read the book back in 1996 making money was the most important goal in my life, becoming financially secure is a worthy endeavor for any person, but as I have made and lost significant dollars in businesses over the years, financial security has lost its top billing, it's still in the top two, but I now feel more compelled toward taking action to help heal the ocean then I do in being financially secure.
In the blog post, What It's Like To Be The CEO: Revelations and Reflections Paul DeJoe talks about being the CEO of a Start-Up, really just being an entrepreneur in general. He says:
"You have to be willing to sleep in your car and laugh about it."..."You'll become addicted to finding the hardest challenges because there's a direct relationship between how difficult something is and the euphoria of a feeling when you do the impossible.
You realize that it's much more fun when you didn't have money and that money might be the worse thing you could have as a personal goal. If you're lucky enough to genuinely feel this way, it is a surreal feeling that is the closest thing to peace because you realize it's the challenges and the work that you love. Your currencies are freedom, autonomy, responsibility and recognition. Those happen to be the same currencies of the people you want around you.
And this seems to be how I feel. Sure I believe it's my responsibility to make money to feed my family (hence a day job), but I feel a greater responsibility to help heal the ocean, and despite the financial chaos that is my business and personal life today, I'm oddly at peace, it's as if this is exactly the way it should be.
Another influential book from 20 years ago is Stephen Covey's The 7 habits of Highly Effective People. What I remembered from his book was goal setting, and in looking at Habit 2, Begin with the End Goal in mind, I'm again reminded about goals and intentions. He says:
Habit 2 is based on imagination--the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don't make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default. It's about connecting again with your own uniqueness and then defining the personal, moral, and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill yourself. Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.
Up to this point, with the exception of the logo and the name of the business it's mostly been my imagination that has fueled the next step, but I now feel I have permission to make a statement, and to begin to work toward the physical manifestation of the business.
Another interesting part of Habit 2 is when he takes you through an exercise to close your eyes and envision yourself in a casket. You're to witness your own funeral. You have four speakers at the funeral, one close family member, a close friend, someone from your work or profession, and someone from your church or community organization. He then asks you to think deeply, and asks you several questions.
What would you like each of these speakers to say about you and your life?
What kind of husband, wife, father, or mother would you like their words to reflect?
What kind of son or daughter, or cousin?
What kind of friend? What kind of working associate?
What character would you like them to have seen in you?
What contributions, what achievements would you want them to remember?
Look carefully at the people at the funeral. What difference would you like to have made in their lives?
In first thinking about these questions many might not think about the connection to starting a business and setting goals, but for me these questions are precursor to the task of intentions and goal. After I thought about these questions today I had some very deep emotions and those emotions provided clarity in shaping my next steps in business. The fact is if I died today I wouldn't be satisfied with the way I've handled myself as a husband, father, or friend to several people. I've got alot to work on in becoming a better person, personally and in business.
As Brian Tracy says it's the Law of Sowing and Reaping, you will reap exactly what you sow, and there is no area in which this is more true than in your relationships. His advice is to do more to be agreeable, not argue, smile, appreciate, be grateful, and say thank you. So for everyone that has helped me up to this point in my life, THANK YOU, I greatly appreciate you, and for those that I hurt let me say I'M TRULY SORRY. And for those that have hurt me, whether intentional or unintentional, I FORGIVE YOU.
I found this to be a very powerful exercise, spiritually fulfilling and cleansing. It may not be for everyone, but as Covey says I need to Begin with the End In Mind, so along with making a lofty business goal I want to be at peace with all of those people around me.
I now feel prepared to take the next step in launching PuraKai. Today is the day I take a leap of faith and dream big, not knowing the "hows" of accomplishing this goal, but as Frankl said taking the next step toward "the progressive realization of a worthy ideal" and "making a commitment to something bigger and more important than myself".
Yes I'd like to make some money, but this idea is bigger than me, it's not about me really, it's about being part of the solution, because if we humans are not the solution, there is no answer, and with three children which I hope have long, full lives, not having an answer would be very sad not only for them, but for all of those that enjoy Mother Ocean and Mother Earth.
Today, July 25th, 2012, I set the goal for PuraKai to book $50 million in revenue, and to provide $1 million dollars in donations to foundations that support and protect and heal the Ocean during fiscal year 2022.