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When Enthusiasm Dies....

When Enthusiasm Dies....

Hello and good day!

Ideas are powerful and valuable. A great idea can launch a highly successful business or a massive social movement.

Ideas are important and necessary. They are also free and mean nothing without execution. I've noticed something about setting goals.

When you set the goal, it is always so exciting.You have an idea for what you want to achieve. You can see the outcome in your mind's eye.

Losing weight is a good example of what I am talking about here.Starting a business is an even more extreme example. Getting married is along these lines as well. You can see the end game so clearly that you can dang near experience the outcome in virtual reality in your mind.

You set that goal and you get going after it full speed. But then after a little bit of time, the reality of what you got yourself into descends upon you and you may regret the whole dang thing.

Achieving goals is hard! Goals generally require that you keep grinding day after day after day in a monotonous routine that you sometimes wish you could break away from.

I can tell you in all honesty and in all humility that after 15 years in business, I have pretty much overcome the challenge of executing on ideas. I almost never go in to anything without an extremely sober acceptance of the time and energy that will be needed.

I know going in that whatever new idea we have, like opening chocolate shops, will take years to fully manifest. I understand in advance that the initial excitement of getting something started will wear off and that we'll have to keep going long after that boost of euphoria is no longer acting as wind in our sails.

What got me thinking about this is a young man who works in the bank next door to one of our chocolate shops. A couple weeks ago, I asked him if he wanted to come in for a free hot chocolate and he said no.

I asked him if he likes chocolate and he said that yes, he loves chocolate, but that he feels he has let himself fall into bad shape, and as a result he is abstaining from sweets.

I looked at him and said, "you don't look like you are in such bad shape". He said, "believe me, I'm overweight and out of shape. I was an athlete in high school and now I sit at a desk in a bank all day and never work out".

It's funny sometimes how opening up just a little bit can unleash the flood gates. He kept going. "I'm miserable, he told me. I feel like crap all the time. I want to get back in shape, but I don't know how to break the cycle. I don't know how to get started".

I told him that his decision to abstain from hot chocolate for the time being was a good one. I asked him what he would need to do to get back in shape. He said he'd have to work out every day for a while and eat better.

That sounded simple enough to me.

1 shook his hand and told him he should go for it and I promised not to offer him any more chocolate in the meantime. A few days later, I saw him and he was smiling.

I asked him what he was so happy about. He told me that he took our conversation to heart and he'd starting working out and he was already feeling better. He was sore, but happy. He was going to try to get back in shape.

Since I was the one who got him onto this track, I felt a responsibility to shoot him straight and give him the best advice I could. I asked if I could give him some honest feedback.

He gave me permission to proceed. I told him that in a couple of weeks, the feeling of elation that comes with getting started on a goal would fade. At that point, working out and getting in shape was going to feel like a drag and he would probably decide that it would be easier to just give up.

He'd be looking at his end goal and thinking about how far away it still is and how much hard work he still has to do to get there. The idea of that mountain of hard work in front of him could be very discouraging.

If he wanted to get through the inevitable lull and reach his desired outcome, he was going to need a good strategy. I went ahead and gave him the best strategy I know for this kind of thing.

Scrap the idea of the end goal. Scrap it all together. Only focus on the activity that you need to do on a daily basis. Don't get sucked into the elation.

Side step the euphoria.

Put the action on your calendar and go about it in a business like manner without emotion. If you fail one day, brush it off, and put it on your calendar again the next day. I learned this way back in the day when I was cold calling restaurants to sell them chocolate and I was getting rejected non stop.

I bought a bunch of books on selling and took some sales training courses. The best advice from those books was to decide how many calls you are going to make a day and make them.

Don't judge yourself based on the outcome.Don't get fired up over making sales. Don't get down over sales you lose. Just pick up the phone and make the calls and if you hit the number you laid out for yourself, you win.

If the activity level you prescribe for yourself is high enough and you do it consistently day in and day out, it is a sure thing that eventually you will achieve your goal.Here is what I left my new friend with.

Set your goal.Make a sober assessment of what it will take to get where you want to go.Then forget your goal and just manage your calendar.

Put the activity on your to do list, do the work, and then scratch the item off. The next day, put the activity right back on your list and do it again.  If you do that, you can hit and exceed just about any goal without having to fight through a ton of disillusionment and heartache.

Only time will tell if he follows this advice.Like the Hair Club for Men guy back in the day, I'm not just an advice giver, I also follow my own advice.

Case in point.  I've been walking up and down the parking lots around our new shop for 14 weeks straight now, promoting. I do that 2 - 4 hours per day.

I walk 4 - 6 miles per day, 5 days a week, just walking around talking to people about the shop. When we completed building out the new shop, I didn't take even one minute to pat myself on the back for getting the new store open.

I knew that daily walking would be the key to success and I started immediately. I also fully accepted in advance that I will be doing this for at least a year until the market is well established.

The sales numbers so far have been good! Unlike most retail stores, we actually turned a small profit in our first month, and we did it in the middle of summer, not exactly chocolate season.

But I don't think about that too much because dreaming of good sales numbers or healthy profits is actually an unhealthy thing for me to do. The right thing is to put activities on my calendar and do them daily and let the rest take care of itself.

I hope that my friend at the bank sticks with it. I'll be checking in with him regularly while I am walking around the parking lot in front of his branch.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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