Tip For The Week

Thursday, 8:40pm
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Just a block off Route 66 in the skitchy heart of the southland…


Quick note here today.

I’m still in my hometown (yeah, I grew up in Cucamonga, what’s it to ya?), visiting my family. Pop still lives in the same house he bought just after WWII, and it’s hard for me not to feel like I’m 15 again when I’m there.

Not that I feel all young and vibrant.

Naw. More like I get back in touch with how freakin’ clueless I was for the first half of my life.

It was a great childhood, a gruesome adolescence, and even now ghosts from my past haunt every corner of the neighborhood. It’s Memory Alley.

Always interesting/spooky/insightful to go back to old stomping grounds. I love my family. And I’m still chewing over how that town shaped who I am today…

Anyway, enough about me.

Here’s something about YOU: Since the last couple of posts here, I’ve been pondering long and hard about what “makes” an entrepreneur.

A lot of people — including me — talk about the value of goals in launching any entrepreneurial venture.

Figuring out what you truly want… setting a plan in motion to attain it… and following through.

There is, however, a difference in “understanding” goal-setting behavior…

… and actually DOING it.

And here is what I propose you do this weekend: Give yourself a nice, brutal Reality Check.

Are you spending enough time figuring out what you really want to do when you grow up?

This is not a trick question — most rookie goal-setters need to refine their skills at this over a frustrating period of time.

The first goals you set are likely to be things you actually don’t want, after all. There is an art to looking deep into your own heart and soul, and coming to grips with what REALLY rocks your boat…

… and what will continue to make nice waves in your future.

It’s never enough to want to be “rich”. You must spend time thinking about what “rich” means to you. Not to your buddies, or your colleagues, or anyone else.


And, if you decide you want to be filthy rich… well, you’ve got to do more than just set a goal. You gotta work out your plan to get there.

With lots of little goals along the path.

If you’ve yet to make Dime One online, for example, then a goal of becoming a billionaire online isn’t a goal… it’s a dream. You’ve got to earn your first buck. Then your second. Then start automatic pipelines, and go on from there.

Your first goal may be to weed through all the info available out there… find the resources you feel you can trust… and dig in.

Those subsequent “dig in” steps — the actual goal-by-goal step-ladder that will take you toward your desired destination — cannot be glossed over.

And, there are consequences to consider. You may not yet know what awaits you as a cash-generating genius. But you sure can start to examine how your life changes as you go.

I’ve written multiple blogs about how every detail of your life can morph in strange ways when the money starts coming in. Ken Calhoun, in the last comments section, tells a great story of how friends and family wrestle (often unsuccessfully) with your rise in status, liquidity, and self-confidence.

It’s not always pretty.

The more you “arm” yourself with insight like this, the less surprised you’ll be when you hit each milestone in your quest for a better life.

You’ll be… uh, what’s the word… prepared.

Goals are great. They saved my life.

But I’ve known too many people who ONLY set goals. They never go after them.

Movement is key.

And you’ll feel better about moving toward your goals, if you spend some serious time thinking about them.

Play with them. Mold them. Constantly put them through your “What if?” grinder. (What if you can’t do it with your first idea? Will you try again? Try something else? What?)

The “secret ingredient” of great goal setting… is to cogitate obsessively on the consequences of actually meeting your goals, once you set them. This not only helps you blow through failure… but also creates a “vision” of yourself that keeps your motivation hot.

This requires “forward thinking”… which doesn’t come with the default equipment you’re born with.

You gotta exercise it.

Without goals, you’re just being taken for a ride by Fate.

Goals do not guarantee anything… except, once you take steps to attain them, you will move SOMEWHERE new in life.

And you’ll be doing as much of the driving as possible.

Fate will still screw with you. But you’re no longer helpless.

At first, even five minutes of focused “forward thinking” will make you sweat and want to go do something else.

Get over it. Stick with it.

Soon, you’ll be an ace at peering into the fog down the line, and you’ll be able to exert more control over events than you ever dreamed possible in your pre-goal-setting days.

This weekend, get your five minutes in. Move through the sweat and avoidance.

Jump-start something new.

Let me know how you do.

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

P.S. I just checked with my office… and as I get ready to go to the airport to come home, one of the 5 seats is still open for the Chicago Hot Seat one-day event this September 25.

To get the details, go to www.carlton-workshop.com.

C’mon, people — this is one of those rare opportunities to get face-time with me and Stan. It just may be the virtual ass-kicking you need to get moving…

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  • Mr. Carlton,

    Great post, and insights that people need to hear over and over and over again. My favorite quote along the lines of goal setting comes from Brian Tracy, “One door closes, and another door opens.” Sometimes setting goals means actively closing down options, and moving on to other things. Sometimes it is as simple as buying the book, paying for the seminar, or starting the website. All things affect all other things. Most important is action, letting the potential energy turn into dynamically evolving actions that propel you forward. One door closes, and another door opens, and its your goals that provide the compass that keeps you steadily on course.



    John Carlton replies:

    You know, people often scoff at sayings like that… but those who know the awesome power built into a killer, pithy “message unit” like that relish the way they keep you on track.

    Thanks for writing.


  • For me, to make goals work, I gotta make it really specific, write the stuff down and then set a countdown (there’s cool computer programs that do that for you). I don’t know what it is, but somehow seeing that countdown propels me to stay on track.

  • Tom Webb says:

    Goal setting… how timely for me. I just finished listening to Earl Nightingale’s original 1956 recording of “The Strangest Secret”. It was the first time I’d ever heard it and I was surprised how good it was… even after 50 years later. I even had it transcribed so can read it and make notes on it for myself.

    For those who have never heard (or read) “The Strangest Secret” it comes down to goal setting, which focuses your thinking which in turn sets you in a direction to achieve success (with, of course, persistence).

    He defines success as “The progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Which means, as soon as you set a goal AND being working at it you fall in the camp of a successful person.

    If you haven’t heard “The Strangest Secret” I would strongly suggest it. He also teaches on how to set a goal and the way to go about achieving it.

    I was able to find the recording online for free… the transcription I had to do myself.

    John Carlton replies:

    Thanks for the tip, Tom. I haven’t heard that recording, and I’ll look for it…


  • Deep Arora says:

    I agree with what you just said. Having a goal and having a plan to get to the goal are two different movements. You cannot have one without the other. For me, having a goal is to desire to move. Planning to get to the goal is to actually move to get there.

    Ah these does bring back a lot of memories for me too during my junior management days. My seniors would constantly drill us of making a plan. Funny how we joke about it… “You take the plan, to the man, in the tan van…” remember that Sesame Street line?

    Great post mate!

  • PlugIM.com says:

    Tip For The Week…

    A lot of people — including me — talk about the value of goals in launching any entrepreneurial venture.Figuring out what you truly want… setting a plan in motion to attain it… and following through.There is, however, a difference in “underst…

  • john-carlton says:


    Just an interesting note.

    I’ve been getting private emails from people who totally agreed with this blog post…

    … yet didn’t feel comfortable posting a comment, because of the nature of their “negative motivation”.

    I just want to say: I totally understand.

    I had to undergo an “Introvert Intervention” myself, in order to post all the private, personal crap I’ve been writing about all these years.

    Normally, I’m a shy guy.

    But I made a pact with myself with this blog… and I’ve been sharing intimate thoughts here, and just sucking up the embarrassment of having to “come clean” in front of so many readers. (Thousands. All over the globe. Yikes.)


    … I want to urge people TO post.

    It really does invigorate your mind to get secret shit out in the open.

    But it’s not required.

    I do appreciate everyone who’s posted. And I also appreciate everyone who’s passed this blog along to others.

    Spread the word, folks.

    I’m not doing this for my health, you know…

    John Carlton

  • Deep Arora says:

    Thanks for that. You seem to be a pretty active blogger to read comments and direct email. I’m sure most of your readers will appreciate that gesture. We should have more of you in the blogosphere.

    But could you at least share one of those private emails? Paraphrase if you will. I’m interested to find out what other people think about this post.


    John Carlton replies:

    They relate their own version of someone telling them “no”. Or “you’ll never amount to anything.” Or “you’re a loser.”

    And they reverse-engineer that negative energy into positive forward motion.


  • Shelby says:

    This is my first visit ti your blog, but it won’t be the last. I have never been any good at setting goals. Maybe that’s why I just seem to be treading water all the time and not making any real progress. I can see it’s something I’m going to have to work on more seriously. Thanks for the post.

  • Shelby says:

    Tom Webb,
    I just wanted to thank Tom for posting his comment. I just listened to the “The Strangest Secret”. What an inspirational message!

  • Deep Arora says:

    Hey thanks for replying! I was surprised that you did, really! I think this is what makes this blog different from most blogs, a key ingredient in keeping the blog real is by talking with your readers. Kudos to you.

    I now understand how some of your readers would email you in private regarding your post. I’d like to encourage everyone with you to actively participate. I’m just starting now, and I really am learning a lot of these lessons right here.

    JC, keep the great posts coming! 🙂

  • This post should connect with a lot of people on many levels…it certainly does with me! I too am often guilty of setting plenty of goals but have trouble with the actual follow through. Like many people, I think i enjoy the process of planning more than actually getting down to the task at hand.

  • John,

    Wise words my friend, wise words indeed.

    “Forward thinking” as you put it in this post is something that set my business on fire…I love thinking about the consequences of what happens when I attain the goals I’m setting.

    It’s an awesome power.

    Joseph Ratlifff

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