Often, a differentiator in those that are successful and those that are not is that they can see what their future looks like and they have a plan and the drive to get there.

Here are 10 tips to help increase your future success:

1. Have an end goal. When it is all over, what are you hoping to accomplish? Although a bit morbid, think about what the obituary for your organization would say? When one looks backs from the conceived future, it is easier to judge what is important.

2. Ask a lot of questions. The more you ask, the more input can be factored in. What is the most important thing? What do you want to be remembered for? How does your target market evolve over time? What problem do you want to solve? What compensation needs to be achieved? How can you make a difference in the lives of others?

3. Keep going in the right direction. Success does not usually happen overnight. The longer the course, the more one can get off track. Staying focused can be a crucial element in getting to where you want to be. Plus, having a drive to succeed will be helpful to push through the hard times and beat the competition.

4. Be adaptive. Our plans for the future can never incorporate all the changes that are ahead of us. There are times when an industry change, among other things, might railroad your original thinking. Be open to updating your short-term plans to achieve your overall goals.

5. Learn from mistakes. The road ahead will not be perfect. When things go wrong, learn from them. It is quite possible things will be better off because you are not perfect. None of us are perfect, so factor that in to your long-term planning. Also, it is OK to take a chance here and there. Some choices will pay off, while some things will not. However, more wins than losses results in a winning season. Or one big win, can be more significant than the sum of any previous failures.

6. Document it. By putting pen to paper (or typing it on a computer), you are going to increase your likelihood of achieving your goals. Just the process of writing the plan down will help create more clarity around your vision. A vision statement can be just a few sentences. It is different than a mission statement that explains why you are in business now. The vision statement illustrates, not the present, but the future.

7. Measure results. Being surprised when long-term goals are not achieved is something that should never happen. Know your key performance indicators (KPIs) and track that they are being met. Have milestones and get motivated to achieve or surpass them. Build in rewards and celebrations along the way to provide incentives to keep pushing forward.

8. Get input, but do not group think. It always makes sense to gather feedback, ideas and other thoughts when clarifying one’s vision. There are usually others’ experiences or even fresh thinking that can be leveraged. Just be careful to when staying with the norm.  When many people are involved, sometimes innovation can be hindered, as groups can be conservative and go with the safe bets. Get the insight and let it sink in. It is OK to be cautious but also be opportunistic.

9. Do something you love. If you can have a passion that helps you jump out of bed every morning, work does not feel like work. Plus, if you find joy in what you do, it is probably more likely that you will stick with the plan to meet your end goal.

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