A wise mentor once said to me, “Mike, if you really, really want something and you never, ever give up, you’ll almost always get what you want.” Powerful stuff.

Recently, I wrote about the “#1 Factor of Success” which I believe is Planning. By writing a step-by-step plan (with quantifiable items and timeframes), we put ourselves on the path to achieve our goals. Each year during the Christmas-New Years season, I take time to write my annual business and personal goals for the following year. I also check off my accomplishments for the prior year. Very empowering exercise.

Planning is strategic. It creates the mental framework. To accomplish your goals you have to take action. This is the tactical side. This is the key ingredient for success in your search: Being proactive. Whether it’s a search for a job, a candidate, new clients, even a spouse, you have to be proactive.

What is being proactive? First, you have to be intrinsically motivated. What’s driving you? Do you need a job or new clients to earn money? Do you want a spouse to have a family? Second, you need to know what you want. This is the hardest part for many. Third, and most important, you need to take action (pick up the phone, go to events). It’s ok if you don’t know exactly what you want upfront. You can figure it out as you go forward. Though, the quicker you pinpoint what you want, the faster you’ll get there.

We take action in five main ways:
1) Research (Online/reading).
2) Talking to people (initiating conversations/phone calls).
3) Sending/sharing information (writing/publishing).
4) Going places. (Meetings/events/travel).
5) Follow Up. In different ways to distinguish yourself. (Making yourself memorable).

Being proactive means not waiting for others to take action. You take the first step to research, email, phone, arrange a meeting, put an idea in motion. Being proactive for many is challenging because they don’t want to be rejected. (This is a topic for another article.) Bottom line here: Don’t take rejection personally. It’s the other party’s issue.

Whether you’re looking for a job, new clients or a “significant other”, the saying rings true: “You need to kiss a lot of frogs…” In my experience, there’s no magic bullet. If you know what you want, have lots of proactive activity and stay the course, you will achieve your goals. If it’s a new job you’re seeking, you’ll obtain it by sticking to the plan with targeted proactive activity.

I’ll wrap up with a saying I carry in my wallet. It’s from a fortune cookie, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” So I say: Be proactive, be positive and go after what you want.