Thursday, December 29, 2005

Little Secrets Behind Achieving Big Goals

The Tasmanian Devil
and his Blooming Flowers
by Keith K.O. Johnson

Happy 2006, and welcome to the inaugural issue of That Johnson Boy Said What? Blog. One of my short-term goals for 2006 was to start this Blog. In my next issue I'll provide the 5W's (who, what, when where and why). But today, I want to share with you a wonderful lesson I've learned about achieving big goals. Trust me, you'll want to read this one!
Like many of you, some of my 2006 goals are ambitious. These goals, born of desire and fueled by determination seemed so promising on January 1st. Why, then, are these same goals on life support by MLK Day and euthanized before the first day of Spring? Goals like:
  • complete and publish my first book entitled, "Before You Give Up On Him" (more on that later)
  • complete my Oprah-inspired "52 Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness" (more on that later too)
  • lest I forget, pay off more bills, bills, bills (No Beyonce, I can't pay your bills, can't pay your telephone bills..."

God must have heard my plea and sent me a blessing through the Tasmanian Devil and his blooming flowers!

Last year my inner-circle joined up for our annual "Fellas Retreat." Our host, affectionately and accurately nicknamed Taz (as in Tasmanian Devil) was the last to arrive, and did so in his usual hyperactive manner befitting his nickname. He quickly greeted everyone, then immediately kicked off his dress shoes, pulled on his mud-caked boots, grabbed a flashlight and headed to the garden. We gathered in the waning light to witness firsthand the Tasmanian ritual. With military-like precision, General Taz inspected each plant, grumbling inaudibly at some while praising others. Some of the new retreat attendees laughed and cut jokes at the spectacle. Yet the business-attired, muddy boot-wearin' Taz continued his inspection, only joining us when his job was completed.

The following day found the retreat in full swing with each participant having presented their personal goals and braced for the barrage of scrutiny that follows. The process can be uncomfortable to endure, but is vital to fine-tuning our plans. As the fray grew louder, Taz was noticeably and uncharacteristically quiet. When there was a break in the shouting, he stood up and said,

"I travel approximately 200,000 miles a year conducting business. In my line of work, the results of my labor may not produce fruit until 10-15 years after I conclude the deal. I may never see the actual results of my work. Most people, including myself, are not equipped to go for long periods without some tangible, gratifying results or accomplishments."

The room grew quiet. Someone asked the question "how can he successfully perform at such a high level with no obvious signs of accomplishments?"

Taz headed to the door, pausing long enough to motion us to join him outside. We ventured through neatly cut grass while keeping a watchful eye for the dreaded fire ant mounds that dot the Southwest. Our journey stopped before a row of newly planted seedlings, a few of which had delicate white blossoms.

"The secret to my success is right before you" he said.

Never let it be said that ol' Taz isn't dramatic! But, am I crazy or does this man have us standing in a fire ant-infested garden listening to him associate successful goal achievement with a single, white blossom? I can't speak for the others, but I definitely looked around the garden to see if Taz was also growing that special Jamaican weed known for its deep thought-producing, appetite-inducing qualities. Hmmmm...? Then he continued...

"The secret to achieving my goals is the reward I gain from every flower that blossoms. I can plant a new seedling on Saturday morning, depart Sunday for a 10-day business trip and upon my return, kiss the wife and kids then run to the garden. No matter the hour or the weather, I inspect the garden. More often than not, my latest addition will greet me with a brand new blossom. My labor is quickly rewarded with new growth -- the telltale sign that the plant has taken root and is flourishing. The rewards from my business trip may be years away, but my plants - they never fail to reward, inspire and give me hope."

Most of the crew nodded in appreciation and understanding, but I wasn't sure how the flowers figured into his long-range goals. What goal did they feed into existence? So I asked, and watched as he slowly surveyed the entire garden, then turned to me with a smile that proclaimed "Checkmate!"

My eyes scanned the grounds like a chessboard. What did I miss? Then it happened - I got it! I was completely surrounded by a beautifully landscaped oasis that was too lush and tropical for this region. My eyes took in the explosion of color -- orange, mango, purple, green and yellows, served on a palette of broad banana leaves, delicate blooming trumpets and thorny cacti. With every planting is the hope and possible reward of a goal-sustaining blossom. His littlest goal had produced this dense, tropical paradise where he and guests can recharge body, mind and soul. When you travel 200,000 miles a year on business, the ultimate goal is survival. Not job security survival but personal survival. Conversations tend to center on the latest victims of heart attack or zombie-producing burnout. So, you see, those blossoms are the perfect little goals that fed the larger goal of creating an oasis so intoxicatingly peaceful that to sit in its beauty is to hear your grandmother implore you to "Still Yourself!" When that voice speaks, even the Tazmanian Devil listens. As he listens, the body restores. Ahhh... the power of those little goals.

So, my friends, do you want to accomplish big goals in 2006? Then, take some time to determine and establish your little but powerful VICTORY-PRODUCING goals and incorporate them into your master plan. These overlooked delicacies are the ultimate appetizer ~ starving off doubt by feeding the Spirit with a sense of accomplishment ~ yet light enough to keep you hungry ~ while preparing your palate for the exquisite feast of Goal Accomplished!

"Practice yourself in the little things and
Thence proceed to greater."

Epictetus ~ 135 AD

In closing, thank you Taz for each of your life lessons! This one was so poignant that it earned a place in my inaugural blog. Amille, thank you so much for finding the perfect quote for my inaugural blog. How you sensed what I was writing is beyond me. Scary, eh? Nikki Woods, thank you for inspiring me to become more serious about my writing. "Easier Said Than Done" is the title of her exciting new novel and her title comes to my mind whenever I sit down to write. Check out her blog under my links section, but only after you join my mailing list. Feel free to share this entry with friends and family. Most of all, you can tell them "That Johnson Boy Said It!"

Again, Happy 2006 and may this year be an incredible blessing to you and all who come into your presence.

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