Are You Set to Succeed in 2017? Nine Questions to Improve Your Results

One of the greatest challenges of running the river in Grand Canyon is learning how to navigate the rapids. There is an average of one rapid every half mile from Lee’s Ferry, Arizona to Pierce Ferry on Lake Mead, Nevada, a distance of over 283 miles. In order to run these rapids successfully, I had to learn to read the direction and changes in the current at different water levels, recognize the rocks or obstacles that each rapid contained, and strategically maneuver the boat in the rapid for the best ride. 

When I started my river-running career, I invariably didn’t always do what I was supposed to do. Sometimes I couldn’t see the current, so we ended up where I really didn’t want to go. Sometimes I wouldn’t see an obvious rock, so I ended up “dinging” a prop or breaking a motor that had to be changed in the middle of a rapid. And sometimes, I miscalculated the current, and so we missed all the big waves to the disappointment of my passengers. However, what I enjoyed most about running the river was the fact that I knew that I would have the opportunity to run the same rapid the next week and correct my mistakes. Running these rapids for over 13 years, I learned how to navigate each of these whitewater challenges to perfection, and I gained the wisdom to pay particular attention to what I was doing, knowing that getting careless could cause things to go wrong.

As you begin a new year, you have the opportunity to assess your results from 2016 and make some corrections that will guarantee increased success in 2017. Here are some questions to help you reflect, evaluate, and make any needed course corrections that will insure your success.

1. What do you really want to accomplish? This question is intended to help you become clear and specific about what you want to achieve. If you are vague about what you want, your results will also likely be vague. Take the time to imagine and clearly see in your mind’s eye what you want to accomplish.

2. What do you love? I once had an individual tell me that he didn’t choose his job, but his job chose him. In other words, he was presented with an opportunity that he accepted because of the allure of power and money, but it really wasn’t what he wanted to do. In the end, he wished he had never made the choice because that choice kept him from reaching the fullness of his dreams. Be sure your choice is really your choice.

3. How do you know? This question is intended to challenge the depth of the feeling of your commitment to what you have selected to achieve. If you don’t know whether you are totally committed or if you are not at peace with your goal, then you need to admit that to yourself and be prepared to bolster your resolve if you find yourself wavering or change course when you don’t get the immediate results that you desire.

4. What do you want more of? Or less of? When things are going well, it is easy to identify what we would like more of. And when things are not going so well, it is easy to identify what we don’t want. The difficulty then becomes to identify what we want in place of what we don’t want. So, if you can identify what you definitely don’t want, remember to replace that with an exact picture of what you do want. Identifying what isn’t wanted is only part of the key to creating different results.

5. Can you imagine success? This question requires that you visualize exactly what you would like to create for yourself. The clearer your view, the greater the likelihood that you will create what you are envisioning. As you make the attempt to imagine your goal, try to use all of your senses in the creation of the outcome. You might ask yourself the following questions: “What will it look like? What do I need to make this goal a reality? What will it feel like to reach this goal? What would you find yourself saying about your accomplishment? What might you hear others saying about your achievement? What kind of thoughts would you be thinking about your creation?” Remember that you can achieve what you can conceive.

6. What’s next? Sometimes I believe that we have more of a short-term focus. Our goals tend to be more immediate in nature and not what we ultimately desire. For example, my teenage son has spent much of this holiday working in retail to save up money for a gaming device. When I asked him, “What’s next?” it forced him to think beyond the current goal. By so doing, he recognized that he could have been focused on something much greater than just the immediate goal.

7. How will you accomplish what you want to accomplish? You have to have a plan to make your vision a reality. Make your plan as specific as you can.  If you don’t know what to do, then you need to identify someone who might help you on your quest to success. There are many successful people who are more than willing to share their learning and insights with you. You can save time and resources by gaining the support of a knowledgeable mentor. Capitalize on the experience and expertise of others.

8. Do you listen with your eyes, ears, and heart? Sometimes we become so committed in our pursuits we avoid admitting to ourselves that we need to make some needed course corrections in what we are doing. It is important to pay attention to what you are seeing and hearing when you consider your results, and you also want to measure your feelings in the process. Having a balanced view in all three realms will help you make adjustments more quickly when things aren’t working.

9. How long are you willing to work at creating what you really want? It took me almost five years to write my first book because of the number of other commitments I had on my plate. At times I was overwhelmed, but I just kept going. When the first copies of my book arrived in our office, my wife and I sat on the floor, opened the boxes, and wept happy tears. In order to make your vision a reality, your commitment to success will determine your results. Effort in yields results out. What you are willing to put into your goals is what you will get out of them. 

What a wonderful opportunity we all have this coming year to reassess our efforts and make new plans to succeed. I hope that your review of these questions will help you reflect upon what you want to accomplish, make specific plans to succeed, and bolster your resolve and execution in the achievement of that which matters most. Happy New Year!

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