I`m guessing this has happened to you

I`m guessing this has happened to you.

Someone – could be a spouse, co-worker, friend, anyone – tells you of his/her new plan or goal. He`s going to lose 30 pounds. She`s going to learn to play the piano. The chronically late employee says she`ll always be on time. The person who dominates meetings resolves to change.

When you hear these statements, you may be happy for them; but, I would be in nearly every situation you at least momentarily wonder if it`s a real goal or just a wish.

Sometimes you will even come out and ask them . . .

Are you serious?

This is a question we ask others as a test of their resolve, determination and commitment.

We know deep down that their level of seriousness will have a significant impact on their success. After all, it is rare that a casual attempt at anything will lead to notable (even minimal) or sustained success.

Success in most things in life requires some amount of seriousness.

And while my opening example was thinking about the seriousness of others, now I want you to look in the mirror, and ask yourself:

Are YOU serious?

Here are six questions to help you gauge your answer to this very important question:

What are your goals? Without goals how can you possibly be very serious? Goals provide the direction for your efforts and proof of your progress. Goals are critical to reach anywhere near to your potential. If your answer to this question is fuzzy or if you don`t have any goals at all, start here. Set a goal, or goals, to define the results you desire.

Why do you want to achieve those goals? Oft overlooked but actually more important than the goal itself is the “why.” When a goal has rich meaning in your life; when achieving will bring you benefits that really matter to you (and not necessarily to others), you will be more committed to achievement and more accountable for your actions.

Where is your focus? You can focus inside of what is in your control and influence, or you can look outside these two important circles. The more you can remain focused on what is in your control, on what you can do something about, the more serious you will be about your future. When you maintain an internal focus, you give yourself the best chance of success.

What questions do you ask yourself? Do you think about what you could do, what worked and what you could do better? The more “I” (or in a team situation “we”) questions you ask, the more serious you are – and the better results you will achieve. “I” questions are the manifestations of an internal focus on your actions and successes.

What explanations do you use to explain your world? How often do your explanations focus on others? Do you explain your results based on the economy? Do you look to others for your results? Do you blame others for your failures or shortcomings? As long as your explanations lead to denial and/or blame, you cannot become your best self. Serious people explain their circumstances in terms of their past and future actions and decisions.

Are you having any fun? Don`t lose sight of this important question. Yes, you can have high standards for yourself; and yes, when you choose to be more serious you will grow more, achieve more and create more. Yet for all the serious work and focus that is so important, you must also have fun in your life. If you are having no fun, perhaps your goals could be adjusted. Fun and enjoyment are required to refresh your spirit and recharge your batteries. Seriously, for your sake, please don`t ignore the answer to this final question.

The answers to these six questions will help you personally unravel your level of seriousness, commitment and accountability to your own success and to creating the results you profess to want.

Your answers are completely your choice, and can`t be determined by anyone else (see question #5). Make the correct choices and your results will show it, in both the long and short term.

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