By: D. A. Slinkard

Seeing is believing. I had this conversation recently with an employee about how sometimes we have to see things before we will believe them. Nothing’s wrong with this approach because, honestly, we live in the world of outrageous claims leaving most people saying, “Yeah, right!” I am from the “Show Me State” of Missouri; so I understand a thing or two when it comes to not always believing something right away.

This got me to thinking and wondering how many times we go about with the improper thought process and say a half-hearted prayer to God about something we do not even mean, and furthermore, we do not expect God's blessing to happen. Our thinking needs to be that we expect the right things to happen. Our thinking needs to be in such a manner we expect the desired outcome. However, many times we do not properly believe the way we should because we do not think it will happen anyway.

I want you to think about a time in your life in which you knew something was going to happen. This occurrence is something that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt was going to come to fruition. I played collegiate baseball, and there were times I knew I was going to get a hit off a certain pitcher. Lo and behold I was right. There were other times I questioned whether I could get the barrel on the ball; even worse, I could not even get the bat off my shoulder. Why? I was expecting the wrong thing to happen and it did.

When we expect the wrong things to happen in our lives, we will never achieve the right things. When we focus on the negative, we are going to get negative results. I firmly believe that we, as a society, could do much better when it comes to our goals we have in life. We tend to be too broad, or at least I know I am. Yet, the times I am more specific about how I will achieve my goals, the better my chances increase of actually hitting my desired outcome.

If my goal is to increase my business sales, this sounds great; but what am I going after? What will I be targeting? This is why specifics are important. This may seem like an elementary thought for some people; but I assure you, we have an inadequate knowledge when it comes to goal setting. Do you not believe me? Next time you go into a book store, check out the goal-setting and self-improvement section, and then tell me I am wrong.

How does one become good at goal setting is a common question I am asked; and I believe in Stephen Covey's thought process of “beginning with the end in mind.” I correlate this to planning a family trip. I live in Athens, Alabama, and if I want to take the family to Orlando, Florida, I already know what my destination endpoint is going to be. If I end up anywhere other than Orlando, Florida, then I have missed the boat. Just like anyone who plans a trip knows, there are designated stops and routes along the way. Can you imagine trying to go to Orlando with no game plan in mind? This is a horrible idea; but this is how we go about our goals in our everyday life. We just take life as it comes at us; and we become reactive instead of proactive. Anytime I plan a trip I typically have two to three alternative routes ready to go in case an unforeseen event happens. Your goal planning should be no different.

So, what specifics are you missing in your life? If you quickly answer this question, you may say, “I don't know”; but if you take the time to map out your journey and begin with the end in mind, you will have better chances of having success. The easy thought process is to realize what you want to achieve and then work your way backwards, in reverse order. Take the time to map out each step of the way in achieving your goals; but take the time to fully see yourself hitting the mark. You would not plan a vacation without the proper game plan, and your life goals should be no different. It is time to get specific with your life; you need to decide what your outcome is going to be and work backwards to get there.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D. A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

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