104 posts categorized "Goal setting"

What is Success?

Success is not measured by what you do compared to what others do. Success is measured by what you do compared to what you could have done with the ability God has given you. The whole objective of this blog is to recognize, develop and use your abilities to the maximum.

People measure success in many different ways and on many different levels.  When setting goals in life, it’s important that we identify what success means to us personally, so that when we succeed we will know it.
For example, most people measure business success according to their income, however this may not be an accurate assessment.  If your business efforts provide a substantial monetary reward but you don’t enjoy what you do can this really be called success?
If on the other hand, we were measuring financial success then income would be an accurate success indicator.   Knowing what you expect from your business in advance gives you a way of gauging your progress.
For you, success in business may include not only enjoying what you do but also creating value for others.  So in addition to being profitable and enjoyable, you also need a way to gauge whether or not you are actually creating value for other people.
When we set goals in any area of our life, we need to determine before hand what our intended result is and how we will recognize it when we get there.  Establishing ahead of time what success looks like and feels also gives us the opportunity to program our nervous system with the exact feelings that success will bring.  This creates anticipation that in turn helps us to take consistent action in the direction of our goals.
You are the one who decides exactly what it means to be successful in any area of your life.  The time to make that decision is during the goal setting process.  Doing so will allow you to identify and celebrate each personal success.

What is your Plan B?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"Most people go to their grave with their music still inside them"- George Bernard Shaw

Most recently I read a story about Antonio; an Italian boy who loved music, but whenever he tried to sing the music that was in his heart, it came out so badly that all his friends laughed at him. Next to singing, the boy loved to hear the violin. He had a pocketknife he always carried with him and we would whittle all sorts of things with it.

One day Antonio learned that the greatest violin maker in all Italy, the great Nicolo Amati, lived in his village. Antonio began to whittle a violin and worked many hours on it. When finished, the boy walked to the house of Amati, who just happened to answer the door. The boy handed the master the small violin he had carved and said, “Sir, I love music, but cannot sing. I wish with all my heart I could learn to make violins.”

The great Amati smiled, looked at the small gift and said, “Beautifully done. You want to make violins? And so you shall. In time your violins will make the most beautiful music ever heard!” And so, Antonio Stradivari became the pupil of Nicolo Amati and in time made violins that equaled his master’s.

Consider the successes of the likes of Henry Ford, R.H. Macy, Soichiro Honda, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. The common thread among all of them is that their eventual successes were only attained after many failures early on in the careers.

Resilient leaders are not deterred by the disappointment that comes when Plan A is no longer an option. Success comes when Plan B is embraced and that can make all the difference. In business and in leadership, plans do not always turn out as we hope. In these times of testing you have a choice.  Here are three things to remember when Plan A falls apart and Plan B falls in your lap and you are tempted to throw in the towel.

Plan B creates opportunity. Stradivari’s contribution to music was not to be found through his voice, but through his hands. He joined the passion of his heart with the skill of his hands and made his mark on the music world with it.  The challenge in leadership is not to lay down what is in your hand but to use it. It may not be Plan A, but Plan B turned out incredibly well for Stradivari and it can for you if you choose the right attitude and give it all you have.

Plan B redirects your skills. Upon the outcome of this Hollywood legends first screen test, the director of MGM noted, “Can’t dance. Can’t sing. Can dance a little.” Undeterred, Fred Astaire went on to become an incredibly successful actor, singer and dancer. He kept that note in his Beverly Hills home to remind him of where he came from. As a leader, you will face many challenges and you will at times hear the voices of those telling you that it can’t be done. But in the end all that matters is what you believe in your heart and having the courage to pursue it; even if it is Plan B.

Plan B prepares you for a rewarding life. In many respects Plan B is not just about opportunities, but overcoming adversity. While his name is synonymous with some of the biggest films in the modern era, this movie director was rejected three times from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television. Years later in 2002, Steven Spielberg returned to school and completed his BA.

The blessing of Plan B is not always easy to see in the beginning. The blessing of Plan B is realized when we embrace it and begin the journey it takes you on. Wise leaders are flexible enough to know that when one door closes it is not the end; it’s just the beginning of living out your dream in a manner you didn’t expect.

What is your Plan B?

Tips for improving productivity

-Karthik Gurumurthy

1. Carry a notebook everywhere because you need to capture important ideas. Fight boredom with creative writing, vision casting and planning.

2. Get clear on the results you want to create before you think about strategies and tactics.

3. Know what you do best and what only you can do. Those are the things that should get first priority on your schedule.

4. Be willing to do what is necessary but don’t do what you’re not best at unless it is absolutely necessary. Delegate what you can.

5. Don’t try to outsource your creativity. As for input and ideas, but take responsibility for your own creative output.

6. Think again. And again. Spending money without forethought is expensive.

7. Know yourself. Schedule according to your style and preferences.

8. Don’t do what is easy, do what is important.

9. Have a few priorities but a long to do list.

10. Write it down as soon as you think it.

11. Don’t do things out of obligation. If it doesn’t represent an opportunity, why are you doing it?

12. Question for the beginning of the day: what are the most important things I want to accomplish today? Question for the end of the day: what did I accomplish today?

What motivates you?

by Karthik Gurumurthy

You know what it’s like to feel unmotivated. You sit and stare at your to-do list, and nothing on it inspires you at all. It’s just a string of tasks that you wish you didn’t have to do. Simply getting started seems to take an unfathomable amount of effort.

Yet, you don’t always feel that way. You know what motivation feels like, too. You have times when you can’t wait to get started on something – a much-anticipated trip, a big project that you’ve been looking forward to sinking your teeth into, a new course that you’re taking, or a job which is going to be so satisfying when it’s done.

So how can you make sure that you are motivated, whatever the task at hand?


Psychologists distinguish between two forms of motivation, internal and external. The effects of each might feel the same – excitement, being keen to “get on with it” – but the two types of motivation arise from different places.

Internal Motivation
Internal motivation comes from within. It’s the sort of motivation that you get when you’re doing something you enjoy; when the task itself is its own reward. Think of something you love – perhaps computer games, playing the guitar, cooking, painting … any activity you enjoy. You never procrastinate over it, do you? It seems almost silly to ask that – of course you don’t, if anything, you put off other tasks in order to do the ones you enjoy!

One way to make your to-do list easier is to put as many tasks on it as possible which are things you love. Sometimes they might be hard, or you might feel a little resistance to getting started – but once you’re doing them, you find them fun.

In some cases, that might mean rethinking your career choice or your lifestyle. If your life is made up of a whole string of unexciting or unpleasant tasks, how did you get into that situation? What can you do to change it?

When you’re engaged on something which makes you internally motivated, you’ll find that:

  • It’s fairly easy to maintain your concentration
  • You’re keen to do well because the task deserves your best effort
  • You’d do it whether or not you were paid or rewarded in any way

Intrinsic motivation can be a powerful force – but it can also be subject to your moods; when you’re feeling cheerful and upbeat, you’re more likely to enjoy what you’re working on than when you’re feeling low. And for some tasks, there’s simply no way you’re going to enjoy them. That’s where extrinsic motivation comes in.

External Motivation

External motivation comes from outside. This is the motivation which gets you to plough on with something you don’t like all that much … because you know there will be a reward at the end. Think of a time in your life when you stuck with something in order to reach a particular goal: maybe you studied hard in college not because you loved studying, but because you wanted to get your degree. Or perhaps you worked in a job that bored you because you needed the paycheck. On a day to day level, you probably clean your house because you want it to be a pleasant place to live – not because you really love cleaning.

Sometimes, people think that extrinsic motivation is shallow or false – but it can be a very powerful force. Most difficult things become more bearable when you’ve got something to look forward to at the end.

With external motivation, you’ll find that:

  • It might be hard to concentrate – you may be tempted to procrastinate
  • You want to do the task to a high enough standard to get the reward or achieve the goal at the end, but you don’t care much about it being perfect or excellent.
  • You’d be much more reluctant to do it if there was no reward.

External motivation is easier to manufacture than intrinsic motivation. If you have a string of tasks which need to be done, but which don’t interest or excite you in any way, can you find extrinsic motivation? That might mean:

  • Promising yourself a reward at the end (e.g. a cookie, a new DVD, some “me time” to indulge)
  • Focusing on the goal rather than on the process – the finished result
  • Finding a way for the completed task to give you public acknowledgment or acclaim (easier said than done – taking a qualification would be one way, or joining an organization focused on that particular area)

What works for you? Are most of your activities intrinsically or extrinsically motivated – or is it a bit of both?