I have been watching recently the increase in popularity of my post about the 5 steps to accomplish your goals with some interest. When I first wrote the article, I was hoping to articulate a simple framework for anyone to follow. Keeping it simple was important, because in our times of need, simple things can help to keep us motivated and get back on track.
In the months since writing that article, I have expanded on the 5 steps and have come up with a useful framework to apply to personal growth and development in general. Though it is slightly more ambitious in what it aims to cover, it is still easy to understand and follow. Note, the intent is to communicate a high-level framework — one that guides our thinking and actions. It won’t get you from zero to hero on its own, but if you follow it’s principles and philosophy, it may just guide you when you need it the most.
To help you remember it, the framework is simply called 10 R’s to Success.
There are essentially 10 elements to the framework. In the description to follow, I’ll use the word “problem” but you may substitute it with “goal”, “challenge” or “objective” . These are all interchangeable and equally applicable in this context.
Here is how it works:
If you’re anything like me and have read self-help books before, you’d find that sometimes when you finish one of these books, you’d feel like you can walk through fire and conquer the world. Whilst that’s not necessarily a bad thing, sometimes it can be a little dangerous. Unrealistic goals and expectations can lead to failure and disappointment.
This is why I’ve set being Realistic the most important element of the framework. It wraps the other elements and serves as a reminder that throughout the process, we have to be brutally honest with ourselves about what we are trying to do, whether it is attainable or not and what’s really involved.
The precursor to any change is Realising a change is required. For me, this is typically personified by the “Ah ha” moment. That is, the moment when something inside just clicks by magic and I realise there’s a problem and something needs to be done.
Based on my experience, this is really the first step in the whole process. If we don’t know whether a change is required or not, either nothing would change or something would change but not by choice or conscious effort. The net result of this is we’re left letting the Universe dictate our happiness.
The Recognise step comes immediately after Realise. It is about identifying what the problem is truly about and whether there are any parallels we can draw from based on our past experiences and circumstances. I find problems are seldom completely unique. If I were to break a problem down, there are always similarities with other things I’ve done before. Recognise is the step in which we try to figure out what the problem is about and whether we’ve solved similar things before.
Sometimes, our initial assessment of a problem can be incorrect. Often, I find this is because the problem is poorly defined. Reframing is the feedback step which allows us to restate the problem in a different way and in doing so perhaps Realise and Recognise the problem as something else entirely. This can sometimes cast a problem in a different light and present a solution which may otherwise not be obvious.
Although Respond is depicted as the next step which comes after Recognise, it doesn’t really occur until the problem is fully Realised, Recognised and Reframed (if necessary).
Respond is an action step. It is about taking the problem we have identified and working at the action items until the problem is resolved. I find using solutions I have applied to similar issues, keeping things positive and other great problem solving nuggets to be useful here.
Have we actually resolved the issue? That’s a question we should always ask, even though it may seem obvious for simple problems. Review is the time we do this and it’s important because without it, we may never learn from our mistakes or know if our solution has done the job or not. If we aren’t satisfied for whatever reason, we will need to Repeat a few things.
Repeat is the step which we follow if for whatever reason the solutions we have put in place does not meet all the requirements we have identified.
I find as I work on a problem, my initial assumptions can be incorrect. For these cases, I repeat the Recognise step to redefine and potentially reframe the problem. Sometimes also, I may need to re-execute and re-implement for no other reason than me making mistakes the first time through. For these cases, I simple Respond again.
Reflection is similar to Review in the sense that we are comparing what we’ve done against what we have set out to do. Whilst Review is focused mainly on the problem itself, Reflect is about matching what we’ve done against our overall mission statement and goals in life.
I’ve always believed that life is too short to be doing things that are not congruent to our life’s goals. Reflection is the step in which we pause for a second to ask if we’re doing the right thing. If we aren’t perhaps we need to reassess our position and change.
While this isn’t a step we need to do all the time, I find it pays to do it occasionally simply because sometimes we can work in auto-pilot, get bogged down with the realities of life and forget what’s really important to us.
I described this step in the original post about the 5 steps to accomplishing your goals and I’ll briefly reiterate it here. If you have met all the requirements of the problem and are measuring well against your overall goals, then reward yourself. This is an important step because it helps to keep us motivated. As with the other steps, ensure your Rewards are Realistic!
The final element in the framework is Renew. Renew is essentially using the results of the work you have just done and the things you have just achieved as a motivator for new and more ambitious goals. Use it as a launching platform to set your sights to new things which may not have seem possible or Realistic before.
Life is a continuous process of discovery and learning. We only stop doing either of these when we die. At this very moment, you are discovering new things, experiencing interesting events, learning and growing constantly. For any given problem, challenge or goal, pause for a moment and identify which step you’re at. The great thing is you don’t have to start at the beginning of the flow. Just start applying the 10 R’s to Success based on where you’re at right now, irrespective of the problem.
I hope what I’ve written makes sense. I don’t think I’ve fleshed it out as well as I could have in this article. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. If you can, please provide me with some input on what works and what doesn’t based on your own experiences, so I can incorporate your suggestions and improve the overall effectiveness of the framework for one and all.