It’s hard for me to realize we’ve reached the end of the Seven Magnificent Secrets series. You’ll note I’m combining the last two as to my mind they are opposite sides of the same energy at the root of successful goal achievement. Even though you might not understand initially, I have confidence you will as you continue reading.

# 6 Secret: Measure your progress regularly. Goals are action activities. They need to be attached to “by when’s” or “specifics” for them to have any chance of success. They never work without action!

Determine your desired outcome and then begin working backward. Identify what activity took place right before walking into all your dreams. You do this by envisioning living in the results. Immerse yourself in the experience of your visualized future, ask: What took place just before celebrating reaching my desire?

I know that may sound a little confusing. Let’s pretend your dream is to find a job that taps into all your strengths and one where you are smiling every day. Rewind in your mind’s eye. What act occurred just before being offered this fantastic job? In all probability, it is an interview. Correct?

Now, inquire: What do I imagine took place right before the interview? Perhaps, it would be working with a recruiter. What action did you take before meeting the recruiter? That might be talking to respected friends to identify the best recruiter in your field of expertise.

But before all of that, wouldn’t you want to have designed the best resume ever? Do you notice how I’m guiding your thinking? The attitude is always: What do I need to do before I achieve this?

Begin recording each of the incremental points of reference for your success. These points move you one more rung closer to your intended future. Measure every one of these points of reference regularly, or you don’t have goals. Instead, what you’ve created are wishes.

Commitment to self comes into play at this stage. It requires actively progressing while trusting the outcome. Here is how I see the melding of Part 6 and Part 7 taking place.

#7 Secret: Relax and release it. As much as I’ve asked you to measure your incremental improvements doing it with tightly, clutched fists is counter-productive. Such advice may sound odd, yet I promise you this is where so many people go awry. Trust and be patient with the process, confident the best for you is already occurring.

It’s not as easy as it sounds, as successful executives have the hard-charging, going-after it at all costs mentality down pat. It’s ingrained in their DNA to produce results faster—not so with goal setting. The process is often not a speedy one. I don’t mind being a bit more relaxed, perhaps having it take longer to live an extraordinary life, do you?

I know what I’m about to say is contrary to goal setting advice you’ve heard in the past. But I remember discovering this breakthrough philosophy for myself. And am I glad I did!

I’m from the generation where envisioning and goal setting theories erupted. You can guess I went after this concept tenaciously—not with great results. It made me feel “less than” rather than drawing my glorious future to me. “That theory sucks!” So, I stopped thinking about envisioning goal setting with prejudice.

One weekend I was on a retreat with a leader I greatly admired. He introduced an exercise that required writing down our goals in detail.

“No, I don’t want to,” said the hurt little girl inside of me. However, out of respect, I grudgingly started writing. After the retreat, I closed the workbook throwing it in a drawer.

A year later, I on opening it, was amazed. Every single one of my goals had been met and/or exceeded. Wow!

I realized that the clutching and grasping of goals held them back from becoming a reality. Through the years, I’ve discovered a successful goal-setting strategy is a healthy marriage of planning, action, and measuring, and, as relevant, trusting. You might want to take a leaf out of my life lesson by measuring for results while releasing your emotions and identity to them. This response allows unseen forces to fulfill all you desire with even more spectacular results than you could have done all on your own.

In closing, I love what Stephen Covey said: 

“Ineffective people live day after day with unused potential. They experience synergy only in small, peripheral ways in their lives. But creative experiences can be produced regularly, consistently, almost daily in people’s lives. It requires enormous personal security and openness and the spirit of adventure.”

What gigantic future intentions are you going to apply the Seven Magnificent Secrets to, right now? Remember, #1 Secret: Visualize yourself living in the outcome, #2 Secret: Remember to ask for everything you want, #3 Secret: Be persistent in pursuit of your goals, #4 Secret: Be flexible while looking for the silver lining, #5 Secret: Always set your eyes on what You’re Going Toward—Not Going Away From, #6 Secret: Measure your progress regularly, and #7 Secret: Relax and release it.   

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