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Controlling Our Goals

At the beginning of each month, I organize a game plan for things that I want to accomplish. The game plan can focus on any number of undertakings ranging from creative services for clients, business developments for DNB, projects for Ben Fagan Media, and even personal endeavors.

I create this list and give myself due dates to accomplish what I have laid out. I have found that this strategy keeps me on track and helps me to continue to progress. Next to each project, I have blank lines that soon become occupied by proud checkmarks representing the accomplishment of that particular piece of my agenda.

A few of the projects I list I know I will not likely get to in the span of the next month, but doing this helps me stay motivated and makes me want to attack the tasks at hand. While each month, I strive to accomplish lofty goals, they still need to be tangible and, more importantly, within my control.

I talk about this idea of “controlling what you can control” a lot, and it is something I believe very strongly in. In regard to baseball and all sports, really, I get the concept thoroughly. For example, when I go to bat in baseball, I control which pitches I chose to swing at, but I cannot control whether the ball I hit gets caught or not. In the same way, a quarterback can control where he throws the ball, but he has no control over whether or not his receiver catches his passes.

As my baseball career progressed, I became better and better at deciphering what was within my control and what was not. I knew this was something I could use in my life outside of sports.

We may not always be able to control the outcome of a given situation, but we put ourselves in the best position to win by controlling what we can. When we do this, the results are more likely to be what we want them to be.

Learning what you can and can’t control and learning how to control what you can better is a topic I spend a great deal of time researching. I practice this idea in every aspect of my life, or at least I make an attempt to. As much as I try to utilize this philosophy, I am not, at all, above succumbing to the frustrations of not being able to control everything in my life, but still, I try to find comfort in what I can control and find peace in what I cannot.

Since it was recently the beginning of the month, I was sitting in front of my whiteboard, where I lay out my game plan for the next period, and I made what was, for me, a revolutionary connection.

Since working solely from home, I have found new areas in which I can help people with their creative needs. One of those areas is animating their business’ logo. In the past, I set out to create X amount of logo animations in that month. I remember, most recently, I set the goal of creating five new logo animations. Sure, it was lofty, it would be a little more than one per week, but I always want to push myself.

After several months of attacking this goal and missing it, I finally came to the realization that I was approaching it all wrong. I was asking myself to accomplish something that was not at all within my control.

I could do everything right. I could contact all of the businesses looking to get their logos animated, and I could give them the best pitch in the world, but the ultimate decision of whether they wanted to move forward or not was totally out of my control. I hadn’t made this connection until now.

Rather than setting out to create five new logo animations, I should set out to contact more people. I can follow up with past clients for new referrals; I can reach out to new businesses in different fields; I can promote the service on social media and to my family and friends. How many people I contact is directly within my control, so the more people I contact, the more likely I will be able to create five new logo animations by month’s end.

Does this approach guarantee my success? Absolutely not. But it most definitely puts me in the very best position to succeed.

As I said, I do my best to practice controlling what I can control, but I haven’t boiled it down to an exact science. I always try and lay out my game plan with tangible and controllable goals, but with every month, I learn something new. I look to make adjustments, and then I begin practicing what I have learned.

These ideas are great, but it’s important to remember that this is a continual practice. There is no finish line in this ongoing journey, and that is nothing short of exciting.

So I leave you with this, look at your game plan, see all of the things you want to accomplish, and ask yourself if you are controlling all that you can.

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