Yesterday's Labor Day blog was about the importance of both labor and business.

I have written about the importance of visions and goals. For many of us, I believe that is the most difficult. We default to goals of others or goals others have told us that we should have. When we do that we lose our individuality. Our uniqueness is never expressed.

On the other hand, some get lost on the visioning process. There are countless gurus telling us that if we just visualize our goals they will magically become reality. That works sometimes for some people. What works more often is to follow a proven process:
1. Visualize
2. Plan
3. Take action.

Make sure that your actions are taking you toward your goal. Too often we are just taking meaningless actions. If you have a plan for achieving your goal, then you have steps within your plan. Every day your To Do List should have steps toward your goal. At the end of the day, you should have checked off the important steps toward your goal. If you find yourself adding all the things that you did during the day to your list and checking those off, they were probably not necessary to accomplishing your goal.

What if you do not have a plan? Find someone who can help you create a plan. What if you do not have a vision? Find someone who can help you with the self-analysis necessary to create a vision. You can also read books and take courses to help with the process.

I will give you a mundane example. The water pump in my camper would not shut off. I called the repair shop and they were three weeks out. I wanted to use it on the weekend. So, I decided to replace the pump myself.

The goal was to have a water pump that would pump water and shut off. The plan was to replace the pump. However, I got side-tracked and decided to "improve" the existing plumbing.

I bought water hose and connectors to replace the existing plastic pipe. During the process, my son, a general contractor, suggested that I replace everything with Pex (the new plumbing plastic pipe) and Shark Bite connectors. That seemed like a great idea. I went back to the store and bought all the connections and Pex.

I looked in the materials that came with the camper. I found the brochure for the water pump and how to install it. The factory had installed it upside down. The "proper" way was to have the water connections under the motor so that if there was a leak, water did not drip onto the motor. I decided to do it right.

I mounted the water pump and put all the connections together. It all went together quickly. Nearly every connection leaked. My wife and I went camping without water.

Undaunted, I decided to go back to the hose idea. Over the weekend, I realized that with the pump in the "right" position, the inlet and outlet were reversed. I was lucky I had not tried it. I turned it over and re-mounted it. I hooked up water to the inlet with a hose and hooked up the outlet to a hose just to check the pump. Seems to work great. The next problem is that the hose connections are too big. I do not have room under the sink to make the connections.

New plan - replace the original plumbing just as it was.

That is a simple little story of what happens to us daily. We set goals. We create plans. Some plans work and some do not. We change the plan - remembering to stay focused on the goal.

Notice that my actions, although directed toward my goal, did not work out. If I had not acted, nothing would have happened.

The main thing is to follow the vision, plan, action process. Too often we take actions that do not take us toward our goals. Or we fail to have goals. Or we fail to have plans.

Follow the process. Take action. Learn from mistakes. Create new plans. Start again.

Are you taking action toward your goals?

Author's Bio: 

Robert Affolter is teacher/consultant at Affolter Academy. He has been a practicing doctor of chiropractic for over 30 years, real estate broker for over a decade, systems engineer for IBM, and a college lecturer.