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Small Business Digest


Strategies for Achieving Career and Personal Goals

Arlene Johnson has spent more than two decades helping companies and leaders achieve extraordinary results.   Now, for the first time, she is sharing her expertise, so that people  everywhere can develop their own step-by-step Success Map and begin reaching their career and personal goals.  In her new book, SUCCESSMAPPING:   Achieve What You Want…Right Now! (Emerald Book Company/August 2009),  she presents an eight step process, that helps readers overcome the stumbling blocks that get in the way of success.

“While companies have tools and systems to help them improve their performance, individuals don’t,” Johnson says.  What they need, she says, is a map for success – a map that gets them started,  keeps them focused and keeps them “in the game’ ” until they win.  In her book, Johnson describes how people can develop a game plan no matter what their goals are, whether they are CEOs or employees, students or  homemakers.

The Eight “Success Blockers” That Can Get In The Way

The perils of trying to reach one’s goals without a map – like embarking on a road trip without knowing the best route – are many.  “Unwittingly, we often think, say, and do the very things that  keep us from succeeding,” Johnson writes.  In fact, she has identified  eight major “Success Blockers” that tend to trip people up on the way to  achieving their goals.  Each step of her SuccessMapping program addresses  one of these potential stumbling blocks and enables readers to identify and  overcome these obstacles without being stalled or derailed.

The Eight Progressive Steps of SuccessMapping

Every person’s Success Map will be unique, but is built using the same step-by-step method to  achievement.

1. What Do You Really Want? The first step of the SuccessMapping process addresses what is perhaps the most fundamental Success Blocker – neglecting the possibilities and not believing in oneself.  Johnson explains how to harness more of a person's innate potential by reframing negative thoughts – from indecisive to committed, from insecure to confident. She also offers a “goal check” worksheet that readers can use to assess how achievable their goals are and identify where adjustments may be needed.
2. The Power of You – with Intention. Having decided, in step one, on a specific goal,  step two is about overcoming the next Success Blocker  – lack of focus.   The crux of this step lies in developing an “Intention Statement” that declares what a person wants to accomplish.  “This keeps you energized,  engaged, and focused on making the best decisions and taking the best actions,” writes Johnson. 
3. The Power of Choice. Achieving any goal demands change – and when faced with change, people can choose to engage, do nothing, or resist.  In this section, Johnson  explains how, by preparing in advance, people can learn to make choices that help them engage in change and seize opportunities.  As Johnson writes, “The  choices you make, how you think and behave, and the actions you take are  reliable predictors of your success...if you choose to wait and see, you  have chosen not to succeed.”

4. Using Your Strengths. All too often, people fail to leverage their strengths. This step helps readers identify the strengths sitting in their mental closet, and enables them to select and use the ones most relevant to their goals.   As Johnson says, “Using a personal strength you have now to more easily achieve what you next want to accomplish is an exercise of personal power.”
5. Transforming Stumbling Blocks Into Steppingstones. Ignoring potential obstacles is another major success blocker.   Johnson details her problem-solving process for flushing out and resolving any potential stumbling blocks – whether external (other people or situations that affect what a person wants to be or do) or internal (the person's own fears,  self-doubts, and concerns).

6. Ask For and Get What You Need. It’s not always easy to ask for – or get – help from others.  SUCCESSMAPPING lays out an approach that will help people know how to ask for what they need. . .and get it.  Effective communication is key – and  Johnson’s Collaborative Conversation Plan is the answer.  Johnson points out, “As mortal humans, we’re just not good at guessing what’s going on in people’s minds – well, at least not accurately.”

7. Making Decisions…With No Regrets. Making decisions without foresight is Success Blocker 7. Johnson has developed a Decision Matrix that makes it possible to evaluate all actions that could be taken in any given scenario, and then enables readers to select the action that will be most effective for achieving their desired results.  As Johnson says, “Using the Decision Matrix tool  results in informed decisions, yes or no, that are easy to commit to, with no regrets.”

8. Yes, I’m Really Ready to Achieve My Intention Statement. Ultimately, not being change-ready can sabotage any goal. Johnson explains how to recognize and manage the normal negative reactions to change in order to become comfortable with new norms as quickly as possible.  Johnson reminds us that, “Even when we feel change ready,  we can be quite surprised with how we actually respond when the change occurs.  The moment you’re asked to actually do something different is when your real  transition begins and the predictable change dynamics kick in.”
Reaching career or personal goals – whether it’s winning a promotion, surviving a reorganization, shining in a presentation, or going back to school – requires much more than hope and wishful thinking. SUCCESSMAPPING includes motivational exercises and checklists to mark progress, as well as dozens of anecdotes and real-life examples, to maximize potential and turn dreams into attainable goals.

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