Step 1 –
Understand What You Want to Accomplish
Not all magicians dream the same dream. Therefore, it
follows that not all magicians should set the same goals. Some people want to
become professional magicians for the popularity or fame, others do it for the
sheer pleasure of bringing joy to other people’s lives, some don’t want a nine
to five office job and would much rather travel the world and call the stage
their “office”, and others may just be in it for the money.
Defining what your goals are is very important, but not as
important as what you truly want in life. If you set incredible attainable goals
and then achieve them, you still won’t end up where you truly want to be if
those goals were misplaced at the start. Essentially, you’ve moved forward but
still feel unsatisfied because you’re not where you want or need to be. In
hindsight, even if you’ve accomplished much, this can ultimately be viewed as
wasted time and effort or rather you’ve taken a longer road than necessary to
get where you need to be.
Failing to identify your true desires in more common than
one may imagine. It happens to us all because of resistance we face in our
daily lives. It’s easy to hamper our dreaming by constraining it with doubts,
fears, and expectations. As silly as it may sound, we need to retrain our way
of dreaming so that we don’t include our resisting concerns such as time,
money, obligations, current education or experience. If you live in a big city
with a disproportionately large amount of magicians (working and hobbyists) ,
it may subconsciously have already realigned your dreams to be something other
than what you truly desire. Similarly, living in a community with a small
population and no other magicians to connect with may be your biggest
constraint on your dreams.
According to Gallop’s World Poll1,
85% of workers worldwide are unsatisfied and not engaged with their jobs. An
incredibly high number of 94% of all workers in Japan are not engaged at work
compared to 70% of American workers. What astonishes me, is the wide gap
between the two cultures, which I can only assume has to do with the resistance
and constraints that are common or different between the two different
As mindsets change between generations, the constraints start to
change which lead to different and sometimes more precise dreams. Gallup
defines millennials as people born between 1980 and 1996 (this is where I fit
in). Baby boomers, the previous generation, had the dream of having a family
with three kids and to own a home. You’d go to university and come out having a
job that was just a job. The job was not the dream, having a family and owning
a home was.
Millennials, conversely, regard the “job” as being equal or
even put it ahead of the “family” as their dream. They’ve prioritized
their dream to be focused more on work than family. To be content and live
their dream, they need to draw more from their work environment. This is why
it’s common to find that they have their best friends at work, including best
friends who are customers. The trend now is seeing people switch companies or
jobs two or three times in their career, because their goal is having that
dream job. Babyboomers, instead, work the same job they’ve hated for the last
thirty years, but they do it anyways because they’re only working their job for
their family, not themselves. What I predict we will find is that more people
will become satisfied with their job because the family oriented Babyboomers
will be leaving the work industry and the job oriented Millenials will have
taken over. Two very different generations with two very different dreams and
goals, resulting in two very different outcomes of job satisfaction.
The Babyboomers (and everyone else) that complain about hating
their job share the common problem of having a restrained dream which leads to
unfocussed goals (if any goals for that matter). You’ve probably thought about
quitting your job to become a full-time magician, but backed out because
restraints killed your dream before you even got to set yourself any goals. You
have bills to pay, a family to take care of, or need to meet your parent’s
expectations. Concerns of a retirement fund or health benefits creep in. When
you stack this up on top of what you view as having to compete against
established working magicians in your area, it becomes easy to shrink those
dreams to only being a weekend warrior or being the guy that only takes shows
at Christmas time to pay down a couple extra bills.
Dreaming clearly happens when all the resistance fades away
from your mind and gets replaced by passion, desire, and a realization of your
strengths, weakness, and unique abilities. Opening your mind to these
possibilities is a liberating and scary feeling all at once because it makes
you reflect on your current life situation. Thinking about what you could or
should be doing and then comparing it to what you currently are doing is
typically an exercise in dealing with disappointment and depression. It takes a
big person to give themselves an honest assessment about their life. It’s not
something that most people are willing to admit so it goes into hiding.
Sometimes it feels like putting up with our sub-par life is better, easier, and
more secure than facing a scary change that is risky, unconventional, and
possibly incredibly difficult to achieve, but that is not living life. It’s not
living your life to your fullest and you deserve better than that.
Practice dreaming without restraints and dream often. If you
do it enough, you will stumble across a dream that is so important to you that
it will become your life’s mission. It will be abundantly clear what you need
to do in life, and that is the starting point of the greatest of goals.
John Landis’s film, The Blues Brothers,
demonstrate the power of a strong dream, even though it comes in the form of
redemption. Jake and his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi) set out
on “a mission from God” to save their Catholic orphanage from
foreclosure. Their dream, their mission in life, comes to Jake as an epiphany,
which is the purest form of an unrestrained dream. Their goal is to save the
orphanage by earning $5,000 to pay off their taxes. The plan is to get the band
back together and what follows is a Hollywood classic that demonstrates the
power of a fully realized dream.
Step 2 – Create
Realistic, Specific, and Demanding Goals
Creating a realistic and believable goal sets
yourself up for actually following through and completing them. If you’re goal
is earn $250,000 a year as a magician, but last year you only earned $35,000,
you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, if you set a goal of reaching
$100,000 (breaking six figures is a big first step), you will have more
motivation to reach that goal because it’s within a closer reach.
Be very specific in the wording of your goals. Saying that you
want to make more money is a very vague and unfocussed goal, it’s not enough.
Attaching a specific number to your money goal makes it more concrete, visible,
and trackable. Writing down what steps you need to take to get there, knowing
how you’ll measure your steps toward completing the goal, and being able to see
specific finish lines are things that keep you focused and on track.
Making goals that are unrealistically too large to complete is a
bad way to start because you’ll constantly see that you are failing to meet
your goal. This leads to a lack of motivation and eventually scrapping that
goal all together. Having goals that are too easy to complete can be just as
detrimental. If we decide stay inside our comfort zone, we don’t grow. Growth
happens when we take risks and make actual changes to the way we work, live,
and think. Setting a goal that is hard to achieve, but still achievable, can be
an excellent reminder that you’ll have to stick your neck out once in a while
to reach that goal.
Setting a timeline for your goal is mandatory for its completion.
Deadlines create results and should be utilized every chance you get. It
abolishes procrastination and reminds you that other pressing necessities in
life may not be pressing or even be a necessity.
The timelines I set for my goals are broken down in three
sections. My main long-term goal is set within three years. When you set goals
longer than that, you run the risk of losing focus and ultimately never
complete the main goal. Short-term goals are created every three months and
every year to ensure that you are staying on track. Working backwards from your
main goal will create a uniquely demanding timeline and almost forces you to
make a commitment that you perhaps would have shied away from otherwise.
Step 3 – Write it Down
“An unwritten wish is just a dream. In writing, it’s a commitment,
a goal.” – Keith Ferrazzi
Writing goals down on paper is a crucial step in the
process. It solidifies your goal and produces better results compared to simply
just thinking about your goals.
Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the
Dominican University in California, found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams,
simply by writing them down on a regular basis2.
What she discovered is that when we only think about our goals,
we’re only accessing the creative side of the brain (right hemisphere). When you take the extra step and write it down and paper,
you also tap into the power of your logic-based left hemisphere. The simple act
of writing down your dreams and goals stimulates entirely new parts of your consciousness,
ideas and productivity to the even more influential part that is your
This subtle change is noticeable from the time the pen
hits the paper to the completion of the goal. It turns an idea into an almost
tangible project right from the start.
After it’s on paper, make sure you can see it. Don’t
hide it away in a file cabinet. Don’t just save it as a document on your computer.
Don’t leave it sitting in a stack of papers. Print it out to be clear and easy
to read from a distance and then post it in a location that you will see it
regularly. Your goals should literally be the writing on the wall. Having this
in constant view helps keep you laser focused and on track.
Step 4 – Take Action
“An inch of movement will bring you closer to your
goals than a mile of intention.” – Steve Maraboli
You’ve written down your goal and you’ve figured out
the steps necessary to get there. Now is the biggest step you take towards
living your dream. It’s taking action in a big way. Don’t just start slowly
with your goal; you must do far more than the average person would do
under the same or similar conditions. You need to
go further than anyone would typically expect of you.
This epiphany of a dream turned into a goal is
your life’s mission at this very moment. Taking action at the start of this
mission is only one step. You need to keep moving forward by making it a habit
to take determined action. This will become your everyday thing. It means
raising your own personal standards, expecting more of yourself than others do,
and taking ownership on all your decisions that positively and negatively
affect the progress of completing your goal.
Taking determined action will be the hardest thing you
may do in life because there is a risk of failure or being wrong. It can be a
scary and overwhelming feeling, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to
succeed…in anything! Reading this book ten times is completely useless to your
advancing career in magic if you don’t take action on what you’ve learnt.
Taking ten minutes to work on achieving your goal is more beneficial than
simply knowing what to do.
When you don’t take action on your goals and implement
what you’ve learnt, you become a self-proclaimed know-it-all that has
never-done. The world is already full of those people. What the world needs
more of are doers. The people that set goals and then take action on them are
the ones that succeed in their industries. Succeeding in business is not about
a special secret that you don’t know. There are already enough secrets in the world
of magic; this is not one of them.
The two laws of taking action:
1 – When you start to
hesitate, immediately proceed with action.
2 – Start learning through
action, don’t let books be a distraction.
As you complete your goals, remember to celebrate
while you mark them off as being completed. Too often we forget to celebrate
while we’re on our journey and when we finally reach our destination, we’re
left with a flat feeling. The celebrating helps keep up our motivation and
marking off the short-term goals is a great visual representation of success.
This winning combination will help you cross the finish line, so embrace the
victories as they come and don’t be shy about it either. Posting about the
goals you’ve reached on social media can be a fun and uplifting thing to do.
It’s your chance to shine and brag a bit, because it was hard work after all
and most people never do complete their own goals. Enjoy it champ! You deserve