• Dennis Kelley

    David Kelley

    Dennis Kelley is a seasoned professional with over 30 years experience leading teams and coaching people to success. Dennis is in high demand as a speaker, consultant, trainer and an author... Read More

    David Kelley

  • Inspirational Quote

    “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” -- Michalangelo
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  • December 2018
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5 Reasons Most People Fail at Goal Setting

co_obj_114Now is a great time to review your goals for the year and determine how well you are doing at accomplishing those things you wanted to get done this year. If you are like many people, you probably have a few goals that you haven’t made much progress toward achieving. You may even have some that you haven’t even started. Maybe you started to set some goals but never even went back and finished them. Many people avoid setting goals because they tried it once and when they didn’t achieve them, they decided goal setting just doesn’t work.

The fact is the people who are most successful in the world are avid goal setters. They are driven to accomplish what they set out to achieve and they know what they are aiming for. That is what goal setting really does for you – it gives you a clear target to aim for. You are much more likely to hit a target if you have one to aim for.

So, why don’t goals work for most people? The reason goal setting fails is because the goal setter has not followed the steps necessary to establish clear, focused goals that create a roadmap for success. Here are the five reasons most goals don’t work and how you can avoid these mistakes to create powerful goals that lead you to the wealth, success, happiness and prosperity you seek.

1. Generic goals – many people set very generic goals that do not create a vision of what they are trying to accomplish. Goals such as, “buy a new house,” “increase my profits,” “save money for vacation,” do not inspire action and do not give you a specific target to achieve. If you want to buy a new house then set a specific goal for what kind of house your want to buy, where it is located, how much it will cost, what it will look like, how big it is and what amenities it has. Create a very clear picture of what you want and write your goal accordingly. Determine what your goals are and BE SPECIFIC. That is the key to avoiding the mistake of generic goals.

Be as specific as possible. Create a clear vision of what you are aiming for. Whatever it is, be specific when setting the goal. If you are trying to increase the profits of your business – decide exactly how much more you want to produce. Pick a dollar amount or a percentage increase you are determined to make. If you are planning a vacation and want to save for the vacation, then determine an exact amount, where you will go and what you will do.

No matter what the goal is, the more specific you are the better chance you have of achieving it. Why? Because the more clearly you define what you want the more solidly it will be locked into your subconscious mind. Locking your goals into your subconscious is a critical component of achievement. Once you have created a clear vision of the goal and locked it into your subconscious then you will find that the actions you take tend to lead you toward the accomplishment of the goal.

2. Inability to measure results – if the goal you set does not allow you to measure your progress then how will you know if you are getting closer? Specific goals will make it much easier for you to measure progress. Generic goals that cannot be measured are doomed to fail. Measuring your progress allows you to make adjustments along the way so you stay on track. Make your goals measurable and they will be more powerful.

3. Setting unachievable goals – if the goals you set are so outlandish that you simply cannot reach them in a reasonable time period then you will become discouraged and give up. Establish stretch goals but not unachievable ones. It is good to establish goals that make you learn and grow and challenge you to reach them. However, don’t hurt your chances of succeeding by being unrealistic. Strong goals are those that are realistic and achievable.

4. Setting goals that are not relevant– make sure the goals you set tie into your long-term plans and mission for your career and life. Too many times people set goals that sound good in the moment or are relevant to someone else’s plans but not yours. Make sure your goals support what you are trying to accomplish or else why pursue them at all. Don’t waste your time chasing unimportant goals.

5. Not setting a timeframe for achievement – if you set goals that are not time bound then it is easy to let yourself off the hook and not take action. Setting a timeframe to meet the goal creates an accountability to take action. It also allows you to adjust your activity and make corrections along the way. If you create a goal to save enough money for a dream vacation in June two years from today then you can regularly check your progress and adjust as needed. If you didn’t set a timeframe and waited until you were ready to go then you may be surprised by not having the money and have to delay your dream. That would be a shame.

Avoid these five common mistakes and you will find that you accomplish more than you thought possible. Another important point is to make sure you put your goals in writing. Once you commit your goals to paper they move from a thought to an action and you create a commitment. Share them with someone else and the accountability increases dramatically.

To your success,


Do You Love What You Do?

60The recent economic crisis has caused many people to reevaluate their business or career interest. As a result of the turmoil, I have had the opportunity to speak with different individuals and groups about the concept of finding your true passion in business. The idea that what you do is what you love to do. Knowing yourself, finding your true purpose in life, is the essence of true and real. You have to be, before you do, to have lasting inner peace. In other words, making a living is not the same as making a life. Find what makes your heart sing and create your own music.

Many people work all their lives and dislike what they do for a living. In fact, I was astounded by a statistic in a USA Today survey that said 53 percent of people in the American workplace are unhappy with their jobs. It is amazing that the majority of people don’t like their jobs. How can you be productive and dedicated to something you don’t like to do? Loving what you do is one of the most important keys to living a “true and real” life.

You can’t fake passion. Passion is the fuel that drives any dream and makes you happy to be alive. However, the first step to loving what you do is to self-analyze, to simply know what you love. We all have unique talents and interests, and one of life’s greatest challenges is to match these talents with career opportunities that bring out the best in us. It’s not easy – and sometimes we can only find it through trial and error – but it’s worth the effort.

Ray Kroc, for example, found his passion when he founded McDonald’s at the age of 52. He never “worked” another day of his life.

John James Audubon was unsuccessful for most of his life. He was a terrible businessman. No matter how many times he changed locations, changed partners, or changed businesses, he still failed miserably. Not until he understood that he must change himself did he have any shot at success.

And what changes did Audubon make? He followed his passion. He had always loved the outdoors and was an excellent hunter. In addition, he was a good artist and, as a hobby, would draw local birds.

Once he stopped trying to be a businessman and started doing what he loved to do, his life turned around. He traveled the country observing and drawing birds, and his art ultimately was collected in a book titled Audubon’s Birds of America. The book earned him a place in history as the greatest wildlife artist ever. But, more importantly, the work made him happy and provided the peace of mind he’d been seeking all his life.

Can you say the same about what you are doing today? Do you get out of bed every day looking forward to your job or to running your business? You may love the work you do but maybe struggle with some of the challenges you face. Don’t give up on what you love…find a way to get the support you need to find your sense of fulfillment. Of course, if you’re not doing what you love then it is time for some self reflection and maybe a change.

The current theory is that this economic crisis has changed the way we will live our lives for some time to come. Now is the perfect time to take a critical look at yourself and your passions and determine what changes you need to make to help you live the life of passion that fuels success.

To your success,

The Movable Mountain

I just finished reading a chapter in the book ThinkerToys by Michael Michalko. I have found this book to be fascinating and highly recommend it. Michael has packed this book with a ton of creative ways to look at business problems and attack them to find solutions.

One thing that struck me today was a summary he gave for a chapter on a Tug-of-War strategy to problem solving. He summed it up with the following;

“Once there was a man who died and found himself in Hell, with the road to Heaven blocked by a huge mountain. Although indignant that he was in Hell, the man assumed he could do nothing to change his situation and settled down to an eternity of suffering. He never discovered that the mountain was on wheels – to reach Heaven he needed to only push the mountain aside.”

He went on to say, “Once you identify the forces operating in your challenge, they become as negotiable as a mountain on wheels. You can either learn to live with the negatives by limiting your options and compromising your goals, or you can change their position and neutralize their impact.”

Wow! How many people accept their current situation and settle down for a life of mediocrity or, even worse, misery? What are the forces operating against your goals? Have you created options to get them out of your way? Don’t compromise — create a plan for your life; determine what is in your way and find creative solutions to remove them. Once you move the mountain out of the way, there’s nothing to stop you but you!

To Your Success,

ps. if you need to get out of your own way to achieve your goals then pick up a copy of my book, Achieving Unlimited Success, and get started building the business / life you always wanted!

Build a Successful Business Through the Art of Budgeting

Budget Your Way to Success

Budget Your Way to Success

Statistics show that only 43% of small businesses that have employees prepare a budget that projects revenues, expenses and profit. If you include sole proprietor type businesses then that number is closer to 80%. There are many reasons for this staggering statistic. Many owners simply believe their business is too small to need to budget. Others feel they don’t have enough money to worry about budgeting. Probably the biggest reason small business owners don’t manage their business with a budget is that they don’t like to do it and they don’t know how to do it. 

What is a budget? A budget is a plan that establishes goals for how you will manage the financial resources and expenditures for your business. It is a simple equation of revenues (sales) minus expenses (costs) to determine profit. An annual budget, commonly referred to as an operating plan, broken down into monthly projections allows you to capture infrequent expenditures as well as see trends and the seasonality of your business. 

A budget creates the plan that allows you to determine if you are making progress toward your goals. It gives you the information you need to make informed, intelligent decisions about how to run your business successfully. Budgeting is important because it helps you determine if you have enough money to fund operations, expand the business and create profit and long-term wealth for the owner. Every small business owner should budget, no matter the size of the business. 

In 84% of small businesses, the owner or a partner prepares the budget. This can be done in conjunction with your accountant or CPA. There is nothing difficult about this task, however, most small business owners are not familiar with the process and therefore avoid it. 

Business budgets do not need to be a monster. You can create simple and effective business forecasts using a simple set of guidelines. If you are still unsure of how to approach it, ask your CPA or a trusted business peer. There are also many great resources from books to on-line programs to seminars on the subject. Accept the fact that there will be a learning curve in both how to create a budget as well as how to use it to manage the business decisions. 

Here are some guidelines to follow in creating an operating plan and using it to build a strong company that provides a great return for you. 

Review Your Financial History or Industry Standards

If you have been in business for a few years, pull out your records from the past 2 or 3 years and build a spreadsheet of the revenues and expenses. Break the expenses into fixed costs and variable costs and by easily identifiable categories. If your business is new, research industry standards to determine your starting point. Not all businesses are alike, but there are similarities. You can also check the IRS Website to get an idea of what percentage of revenue goes to various cost groupings. Once you have this information, you will be ready to build your forecast. 

Build a Spreadsheet with Your Expected Results

Construct a spreadsheet to estimate the dollar amount to budget for each revenue category and expense category. Review your history and / or research to determine how much to budget for each category. As your revenues increase, your expenditure for materials and other variable costs will also increase. Be sure to consider this as you create your spreadsheet. Factor in any seasonality to your estimates. Don’t just decide what your annual expense is and divide it by twelve unless your business has not seasonality or you are not expecting growth. Don’t forget to budget for marketing and promotion to build your business. 

Look for Ways to Reduce Costs

Now that you have your revenues and expenses plugged into the spreadsheet, take a look at the difference between the two. This is your profit. Is it as large as you want it to be? Fine-tune your numbers by looking for ways to cut cost. Where can you get a better deal from suppliers or make adjustments that will add to your bottom line? Or you can reallocate to give you more money for marketing that will improve results. Every penny saved in expenses will boost the bottom line. Small changes can add up quickly. 

Err on the Side of Conservative

Watching expenses and cutting wherever possible is important however, you still need to be conservative in your estimates. Be realistic in your revenue expectations and build in some cushion for expenses, as there will always be surprises along the way. 

Review Your Results Against the Plan Regularly

After each month, compare your actual result to your budget. Look for any variances and make sure you can explain them. By understanding why you missed the budget you will be able to better manage the results. If costs increased then maybe you need to review pricing or service providers. Are lower revenues a result of ineffective marketing, pricing or some other factor? If necessary, make some minor adjustments to the plan to improve your forecast for upcoming periods. By actively reviewing your results, you will quickly get a clear picture of your business and be in a position to manage it effectively. 

Use Your Budget as a Form of Restraint

The budget is not intended to constrain your business but to help you restrain from making poor decisions. Sticking to a solid plan is the most effective teacher of fiscal restraint and teaches discipline. However, don’t let the plan keep you from busting the budget on occasion should something exceptional occur. As an example, if you have discovered a marketing program that drives exceptional results, invest more in it even if it exceeds the budget. Take advantage of opportunities that arise to grow your business and adjust your plan accordingly. 

Budgeting is an easy but essential process that all business owners should use to forecast results. The goal is to provide enough fiscal discipline to keep your business running smoothly and growing to ensure success. In addition to the operating budget, it is critical to develop a cash flow budget to monitor cash levels. This is a separate but critical budget for business owners. Learning to apply the fiscal discipline of budgeting to your business will keep the business healthy. 

To your success,

Are You Ready to Give Up the Dream of Affluence? Me Neither!

The headlines are coming at us from everywhere. There are numerous stories all over the internet, in your local paper, in the news magazines and on the television news telling us that the age of affluence is over. This week my Time Magazine arrived in the mail with the cover page headline, “The New Frugality.” Peggy Noonan, a respected journalist wrote this headline in the Wall Street Journal, “Goodbye Bland Affluence” USA Today ran an article about a family giving up on pursuing a life of abundance and instead opting for something they describe as “a simple self-sufficient lifestyle.”  

The premise is that the current economic crisis has forever changed our future. That we no longer control our own ability to achieve and acquire the wealth and abundance we desire. Noonan states that the future a lot of people are hoping for is a pared down lifestyle. They are looking for a smaller place to live where they can grow much of their own food, sew their own clothes and become what USA Today calls the “21st century homesteaders.”  

The idea seems to be that we need to change our consumer culture of deciding what we want for ourselves and move to a thrift culture where we take whatever comes our way. Time Magazine states, “A thrift culture invites us to be grateful for whatever we can get.” Since when did it stop being okay to want to create the life you desire and instead have to settle for whatever we can get and be happy with it? 

These pundits suggest that we will stop spending money on luxury items or personal care and accept a life dictated by others. Noonan writes, “People will be allowed to grow old again. There will be a certain liberation in this. There will be fewer facelifts and brow lifts, less Botox, less dyed hair among both men and women. They will look more like people used to look, before perfection came in.” She goes on to state, “the new home fashion will be spare. This will be the return of an old WASP style: the good, frayed carpet.” 

Time Magazine says that we are stripping down and starting over. According to their research, “most people think the pain will be lasting and the effects permanent.” It seems they want us to believe we will be in a permanent new reality that makes us re-think the way we live our lives, what we can accomplish, own and do. Frankly, I just don’t buy it. 

When you started your business, you had a reason to do so. There was some type of goal and hopefully a dream that you wanted to achieve. There is no reason for you not to continue to pursue that dream with all your heart and passion. There are probably many reasons why the media wants to sell this new reality. Quite frankly, it really doesn’t matter what they are. What matters is what you believe. 

It is certainly possible that the recession will cause you to make some modifications to the tactics and plans you had in place prior to its start. That doesn’t mean you have to give up your dreams, lower your expectations and take whatever you get. Continue to take charge of your activities that will get you closer to where you want to go. Find ways to adjust accordingly and pursue your path. 

About thirty million people saw a wonderful example of not giving up on your dream and being willing to put yourself out there to get what you want. The name Susan Boyle is probably very familiar to many of you. She is the forty-seven year old woman from Blackburn, Scotland who performed on the hit show “Britain’s Got Talent.” 

Susan is a very unassuming woman from a small village in Scotland. When she stepped onto the stage to perform, all the judges, including the fan favorite Simon Cowell, were visibly unimpressed. They asked her why she was there and she said it was because she had a dream. Her dream was to become a professional singer and sing in front of a large audience. The judges rolled their eyes, made skeptical faces and snickered. The audience did the same thing. It was obvious from the giggles and laughs coming from the audience that they expected a bad performance. 

All that changed as soon as she sang the first note of her chosen song, “I Dreamed a Dream,” from “Les Miserables.” She sang a beautiful rendition of this wonderful song that made the jaws drop of every one in the audience, including Simon Cowell. Within the first minute of the song, the audience was on their feet giving her a standing ovation. It was a very uplifting experience to see her take the risk and be rewarded for the effort. If you haven’t seen the video yet, you owe it to yourself to go and check it out. 

Be like Susan and go for your dreams. Just as Susan didn’t let the skepticism of others intimidate and hold her back, you should not let the media, politicians or any other naysayers hold you back. Don’t buy into all the hype. 

Entrepreneurship is still the best way to build the life you desire. That is not likely to change anytime soon. You are in control of your own destiny. Make whatever adjustments you need to not only to survive the recession, but to grow and come out of it even stronger than before. America was built on the ideas, guts, hard work, innovation and creativity of the entrepreneur. It will continue to prosper under those same ideals. 

The media stories seem to me to be no more than a way to inflict guilt on those who wish to pursue a life of purpose, wealth and abundance. There is no guilt involved in being successful and pursuing your passion. Your success allows others to also grow and succeed. Stay the course and build your own reality. 

To your success,

Create a Road Map for Success

tree-winding-roadFairly soon people will start the process of planning for their annual vacation. There are a lot of deatils that go into making that decision. You have to determine how much money you can spend, how long your trip will be, where you will go, how will you get there, where will you stay, what you will do when you get there. The list goes on and on.

When you start building your vacation plan the excitement will build. The idea of getting away from your job or business, the dreams of the fun you will have, spending time with your loved ones, the new experiences awaiting you. All of this creates a sense of desire to build a great plan and execute it flawlessly to have a great experience.

Almost everyone who plans a vacation will go through this process. They will give every detail a great amount of attention. What’s interesting is that only about two people in every thousand know precisely what they desire from life and have workable plans to get there. These people are the successful ones; the people that have achieved wealth and are living a life they love.

Typically, these people have no more education, personality, or luck in life than everyone else. The difference is that they took the time to dream, plan and develop a road map for what they wanted and how they were going to get it.

If you aren’t sure what you want from life, start now – today. Decide exactly what you want, how much of it you want and when you will achieve it. Write out a clear mission statement for your life. What is the one thing you most desire — that when you accomplish it you will call yourself a success.

Next, write out a clear plan by which you intend to achieve it. Establish the goals you need to focus on to get you there. Then decide on a time line and commit yourself to it. Keep this plan, your goals, and your time line in a place you can refer to them often.

Achieving success does not happen just by chance. Plan your success the same as you plan the details of your vacation. They payback will be a life of happiness and meaning that you can be proud of.

If you need help developing your plan order your copy of Achieving Unlimited Success today and follow the steps to build a plan to get everything you want in life.

To Your Success,

Use This Key Factor to Achieve a Success Mindset

The Key to a Success Mindset

The Key to a Success Mindset

One question I am getting this year is, “Should I really set big goals next year or is it better to be less aggressive so as not to be disappointed?”  My answer may surprise you. My response is – it depends.

I am a major proponent of the theory of Go Big or Go Home. The human mind can serve us beyond our wildest imaginations if we let it. It has an unlimited capacity to learn and when properly nurtured, it promotes clarity and focus that leads to achievement. However, before this happens you have to make a commitment. You must commit to taking personal responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and results – in fact, for everything.  

This is the key factor that will determine whether you achieve your goals next year or not. If you are not willing to take full responsibility for your results, then set less aggressive goals. You probably will still be disappointed with the results even at a lower level of expectation. If you are willing to accept responsibility – and I mean FULL PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIY for your results then go big with your goals. 

Once you have committed to a reality that includes taking responsibility, then you will find that the mind engages in belief, change, self-discipline, inspiration and imagination. Each person is powerful beyond measure once they accept that what they have in life is a direct result of the action they take and the responsibility they accept. 

Taking personal responsibility means that you let go of blame, excuses and denial and open yourself up to accepting that what happens is up to you. We live in a society of blamers and excuse-makers. It has become so easy to blame society, the government, the economy, the competition or anything else that gets in our way. Taking personal responsibility means that you remove those things from your way of thinking. 

What it does not mean is that you stop blaming other things and start blaming yourself. You must stop blaming yourself and instead accept setbacks and failures as learning experiences. It would make no sense to stop blaming others and start putting blame on you. This self-destructive behavior will not lead to the accomplishment of your goals. 

This may require you to change your thinking and your beliefs. If so, then get started today by committing to remove the blame, excuses and denial from your vocabulary and your thoughts. Train yourself that whenever you start to think or speak in negative terms that pushes responsibility onto someone or something else, you will stop and re-direct your thoughts to what actions need to be taken now. What do you need to do next to correct the situation or to move forward? Like most habits, you can change your pattern of thought. Once you recognize that negative thoughts do not offer value, you can begin the process of changing your thoughts and create the habit of positive thought.

Go back and review your 2009 Business Plan and your goals that you have written. Make sure your 90-day objectives are action oriented and are in your control. Are the goals big enough or have you limited your thinking? What could get in the way of accomplishing these goals and what can you do about it? Are you willing to take full responsibility for the successful accomplishments of these objectives? 

Once you have fully committed to your plan and your goals, then you will be ready to tackle the New Year. That means committing to taking total personal responsibility for the actions, learning, mentoring, personal growth and change you will need to make these goals a reality. Rather than letting the environment control your life, take control of it yourself and you will be astonished at how far you can go.

To Your Success,