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Secrets of Success


A 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride followed by a 26.2 mile marathon equals 140.6 miles and the title “Ironman.”

That’s my dream for 2006. On July 23, 2006, I’ll join 2,000 other competitors in the Lake Placid Ironman triathlon to see if I have what it takes to cover the 140 miles in less than seventeen hours.

What about you? What’s your dream for 2006? Do you want to lose weight, save money, spend more time with your family, heal a broken relationship, go back to school, advance your career, give back to the community?

Would you like some support this year?

OK, here’s the deal and my holiday present to each of my readers. Pick your goal for 2006 and I’ll be your support person. I’ll coach you to the “finish line.” Tell me your dream and you’re free to check in with me throughout the year for support and guidance. In the January article, I’ll list (with your permission of course) each of your dreams. If you like, I’ll also post your email so other readers can offer their support and encouragement.

A few words about dreams

A dream, I would suggest, is a goal with an attitude. And like all goals there are certain factors that can contribute to your success.

“So how,” you may ask, “do you know if it’s a good goal or dream?” Easy. A good dream both excites you and makes you sick at your stomach. The excitement part comes from the fact that you really want to achieve it. The sick at your stomach part happens because you are stretching out of your comfort zone. Stretching out of our comfort zones is important but even more important as we get older. Developmentally, people tend to become more risk averse as they age. They like more routine in their lives and less unknowns. The problem with that is that we are either growing or we are deteriorating. One of the deals in life is “No risk, no growth.”

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are launching a dream is asking the right questions in the wrong order.

After identifying what they want to do, the first question most people ask themselves is “How am I going to do that?” Good question but its out of sequence.

The first question you need to ask and answer is “why?” Why do I want to achieve this goal? The reason need not make sense to anyone else but it better make perfect sense to you. The “why,” you see, is the driver. It propels you forward when you’re stuck or discouraged. It keeps you from giving in and giving up. It needs to be a strong “why,” a “compelling why” if you will.

This is how it works: reasons come first; ways come second. Here’s a good example to which those with children can readily relate. Remember the day you brought your first baby home from the hospital? I bet most of you had no idea how you were going to take care of this little person. You were, however, crystal clear as to why you had to take care of them. Their very survival depended on you. With that compelling why you figured out how. Reasons came first. Ways came second.

When we ask ‘how” before “why” we often limit the goal based on what we think we really can achieve. We infect the process with what I call the “death words.” (So named because they kill dreams.) You know the words: practical, realistic, doable, possible.

We say we want to go to the moon but all we can figure out how to do is cross the street so we make that our goal. Little goals require little imagination and when achieved give little satisfaction.

Once you’ve got the “why” part down, the other questions (how, who, where, when) often seem to fall into place.

Having the information to those questions is incredibly important, but you need to make sure you’re really committed. One way to commit is to write the goal or dream down. Writing it down helps make it real. When you’ve done that, there are two other key ingredients to the mix.

One is the way you talk to yourself and the other is how you involve others.

When it comes to the way you talk to yourself, you have to be very careful. The brain, you see, takes our words literally. It turns words into “linguistic representations” and then turns those into commands. It processes “I want to” much differently than “I will.” “Should” is treated much differently than “Choose to.” And so on. Bottom line: when it comes to the brain, you better be careful what you say because you’re listening to every word.

Once you have the self-talk down, you have to decide how you want to involve other people and which ones you want to involve. Telling others is another way we make the dream real. Saying it makes it come to life. When it comes to dreams, we encounter four types of personalities. I have named them Dream Weavers, Dream Keepers, Dream Snipers, and Dream Killers.

Dream Weavers help us plan the strategies necessary to make our dreams come true. They have made many of their own dreams come true. They are the possibility thinkers of the world. They see potential when what others see is a thought or a whim. They give us the boost we need to get started.

The second group is the Dream Keepers . They are cousins to the Dream Weavers . They respect and take our dreams seriously. They are interested in the progress of our dreams. They love to dream, and they will be totally behind you encouraging you with every step you take.

Not all the players are friendly. There is a group called Dream Snipers. Dream Snipers are the antithesis of Dream Keepers. They ridicule and criticize our dreams. They are always ready with an “I told you so.” It is best not to talk to them about your dream. If they ask how you’re doing, tell them “Fine.”

And then there are the Dream Killers. These are the unhappy people. They are an endless source of negativity. “You’re going to do what?” “Why do you want to do THAT?” “That will never work.” Tell them NOTHING about your dream!

It’s important to know both your supporters and your detractors and keep this information in the front of your brain. That way you’ll be able to get the support you need from the people who will really provide it and avoid those who are unable or unwilling to give encouragement.

So here is your chance to really do something memorable in ’06.

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CTS Consulting, Inc

3126 Berkshire Road

Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

cell 443-286-2488