by Colleen Kettenhofen
“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more,
learn more, do more, and become more, then you are an excellent leader.”
Dolly Parton

    1. When you love what you do, it’s not work, it energizes you. Whether you want to start a business, or achieve overall greater business success, you must start with a burning desire. There will be roadblocks and detours along the way. Without the fuel of passion and feeling of purpose, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, lose focus and give up entirely. When I was in sales, I loved going to work and having that “customer connection.” The only reason I eventually left was I possessed an even greater passion for “connecting” through speaking, training and writing. There’s a strong sense of accomplishment for me at the end of a speaking engagement when people report that they “feel a newfound sense of control.” They say they can’t wait to implement the proven techniques to resolve issues such as dealing with a difficult person or employee, overcoming procrastination, or improving their public speaking skills. Often people are close to finding their dream, they simply need to “fine tune” it. Consider seeing a career counselor so you can channel your passion.
    2. Practice delayed gratification and greater discipline. It is said that many people starting a business or making a career change would do better to rent for a while and not have the added expense of a mortgage. A key trait of successful people is the ability to see things from a long term perspective. So get rid of extra “things” and frivolous expenses that are holding you back because it may be important for you to surround yourself with a team of experts such as a reliable accountant, attorney, motivation coach, financial planner, and possibly a graphic artist and web designer. Put simply, successful people often make themselves do things that others don’t want to do.
    3. Clarify your core values. Make sure your goals are consistent with what’s important to you. Otherwise, no matter how much you think you want something, you won’t work hard to achieve it. Write down every personal and professional goal you think you want to accomplish. Make sure they’re realistic. Ask yourself if each one is consistent with giving you greater peace of mind and happiness. For example, if freedom and staying home with your children is important to you, will this new job allow you to do that? If not, no matter how high paying it is, it won’t matter. You’ll find excuses for procrastinating and not doing it. So start clarifying your values.
    4. Face your fear by going through it.. Research shows we will do more to avoid pain than to get pleasure. There’s a strong correlation between fear and procrastination. Often we procrastinate something because deep down we associate that activity or goal with some type of pain. For example, I know of a colleague who procrastinated starting what is now a very successful business out of concern she’d “exceed” her husband financially. The business has proven so successful the husband now works for her. He says she is “easier to be around” because she’s fulfilling a creative need. Not to mention the added security of more family income. In order to be successful, sometimes you have to be willing to be terrified.
    5. Learn to overcome procrastination. Research shows it’s usually the “harder” tasks that we don’t want to do that are imperative in helping us achieve our goals. Break down each task or project into baby steps. To avoid overwhelm, avoid saying to yourself, “I’m going to sit down and work on this for the next four hours straight.” Instead, say, “I’ll work on this first thing tomorrow morning from just 8:30 a.m. until 9:15 a.m. Then, if I want to stop I will.” During this time, we often end up “on a roll” and want to keep going. The hardest part is getting started.

Once you are on a roll, whatever you do, don’t stop until your task is 100% complete. Research points to the fact that it’s much harder to start a task, stop, and then try to pick it up again. Keep in mind that everything you procrastinate today only compounds tomorrow’s pressure. To be motivated toward your goal requires you to have strong “motive” and get moving.

  1. Accept responsibility. Once you know what you want to achieve, recognize that you and you alone are responsible for making it happen. Wherever you are today is a result of the choices you’ve made in the past. You can’t control many external circumstances around you, such as other people or their opinion of you, but you can control your thoughts and your environment. Remember the saying, “what other people think of you is none of your business!”
  2. Take action, write down your goals, and commit them to someone supportive. Make them specific, measurable and realistic. Next to each goal, write down one action step you can take today to bring you closer to accomplishing it. Share them with someone supportive. Give them specific time frames (the date and the time) for when you are going to take these action steps. Have them “check up” on you for accountability. Keep a written copy of your goals in your wallet and look at them every day. Subconsciously your mind will start coming up with ideas for achieving them. When you get these ideas, write them down immediately. You’ll begin attracting into your life people and circumstances that can get you there.

Keep in mind that what’s going on outside you is a result of what’s going on inside you. What self-limiting belief do you have about your skills and abilities? Take stock and be honest with yourself. The average person has 50,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. When we talk to ourselves about “ourselves,” much of that self talk is negative. We are usually our harshest critic. As the saying goes, “How many times in a day do we ‘should’ all over ourselves with everything that we ‘should’ be doing?!” Always remember…strive for progress not perfection.

October 24th, 2005

You are free to reprint or repost this article for use in your newsletters, association publications, or intranet provided Colleen Kettenhofen’s contact information (name, website, and email) is included with the article. Colleen Kettenhofen is a Phoenix, Arizona motivational speaker, trainer, & co-author of “The Masters of Success ,” featured on NBC’s Today Show, along with Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield. For free articles, video clips, and e-newsletter, visit Colleen’s area of expertise are leadership, managing people, life balance, difficult people, presentation skills. Colleen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions and seminars.


She can be reached at contact information listed below:

Colleen Kettenhofen

(971) 212-0479


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