Brandon Dillon's Blog

A place for discussion on all areas of life.

Darren Hardy’s DB10Y Part 10: Remain F-L-E-X-I-B-L-E

Posted by Brandon Dillon on January 20, 2012

Being Flexible is very important in life, if you try to force something to work that just wont at this time you can get off track very easy. Listen to Darren!


Review: INTRO, GETTING READY & Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 , 8, 9

Have you ever heard the adage, “I will accomplish this even if it kills me”? Well, in my early years of goal setting and achieving… I almost died! I also missed a lot of other opportunities along the way.

I became so focused, so dogmatic about the goals I had set and my specific plans to achieve them that my blinders kept me from 1) seeing easier and faster routes to my destination, and 2) that some of the goals that were important earlier in the year or at the beginning of the decade were less important than I originally believed.

One of the greatest challenges to success is learning how to stay focused on your goals while remaining flexible enough to adapt to needed change.

Even though we have declared S.M.A.R.T. goals and designed a very specific strategic plan to achieve them, it is equally important to remain open and flexible along the way. If you look back at most of your defining moments, or the pivotal events that transformed your life, I bet most were unplanned and happened unexpectedly. Life is a mystery; you never know what might show up and you can’t be so myopic that you miss opportunities and solutions you couldn’t have even fathomed before.

Murphy’s Law and the T-shirt Philosophy

You know ol’ Murph right? The oh-too familiar friend who always seems to show up at your party at the most embarrassing and worst-possible times. Well Murphy lives to teach us this: If something can go wrong, it will. Don’t be too attached to the route you first charted, as you will undoubtedly be reevaluating and readjusting all along the way.

Imagine being at the top of a double black diamond ski run and your goal is to get to the bottom of the mountain where there is a warm fire and hot cocoa. If you just ski straight down, which seems like the most logical direction, you probably won’t end up with all your limbs intact–certainly not with your skis still strapped on–when you reach those final yards. You’re going to have to zig, zag, bob and weave your way all the way down. You might not look too graceful, you might fall (repeatedly) and you might be fearful all the way down (maybe even screaming like a 4-year-old girl)! But if you are focused on the goal (getting to the bottom, warm fire and hot cocoa), and are constantly ready to adjust to each new visible obstacle, you’ll find your reward waiting for you at the bottom of the slope.

Then there is the T-shirt philosophy—Sh!t Happens… so be ready to deal with it.

An old military axiom says, “No plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.” After the successful invasion of Normandy in WWII, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was asked about the detailed planning process that went into the invasion. He said, “The plans were useless, but the planning was indispensable.”

When we interviewed Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems, he said, “When you start and build a business, you have to throw out all assumptions every three weeks.”

Just as a business never goes according to the initial business plan, neither does the plan for your life. Don’t get too entrenched in it having to be or go a certain way. Be flexible, have a vision and an outcome in mind, but remain wide-eyed about what might show up to accelerate your ride, and open to the various paths that can get you there.

Goal achieving is a delicate balance between planning and improvisation.

Deal or No Deal?

You never know what’s in the next suitcase…

Even though I have been intensely goal-focused most all of my life, it wasn’t until I learned to remain open to the great “un-expectations” of life, that the big doors of opportunity really opened up for me. In the early 1990s I had started a marketing and advertising firm in downtown San Francisco. We were focused on the hospitality market and I had personally already invested $150,000 in equipment. Then the SuccessTV (TPN, personal-development satellite TV channel) opportunity showed up—totally from left field.

I could have remained fixed on my big plans to conquer the niche I was pursing in the San Francisco hospitality space, but instead I (literally) trashed the equipment I had bought, paid six more months on my lease for the now-empty office space and changed my goals in order to build the TV network. This resulted in earning millions of dollars and eventually selling the business for millions more. By being flexible and open to new opportunities, the outcome was far greater than if I had doggedly worked on my original goal.

When I interviewed leadership and management guru Ken Blanchard, this is what he said: “Life is what happens to you when you are planning to do something else.” Ah, so true.

Remain flexible—Stress and success constraints are caused when people are too fixed and rigid in their beliefs about how things should be. Learn to bob and weave. Realize it’s OK to say, “I changed my mind.”

No homework this installment. Simply reflect on when you might have been too rigid on your goals in the past, even when they were no longer important to your now-greater future. And remember this lesson as you walk into the great unknown of your new year and new decade. It is possible that a great unexpected miracle is around the next corner; keep yourself open and flexible to the possibilities.


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