During the “Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration” in the early 20th century, two men – the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, and the British, Robert Falcon Scott – both planned separate expeditions to be the first explorers to reach the South Pole.

They had the same vision – with very different outcomes.

Following a dramatic race, Amundsen reached the geographic South Pole on 14 December 1911. He studied the methods of the Eskimos and previous explorers and determined that equipment and supplies would be transported by dogsleds. He chose expert skiers and dog handlers. He also stocked supply depots all along the route. He equipped his people with the best gear.

Amundsen thought through his plan and continued to plan each detail.

Scott, on the other hand, decided to use motorized sledges and horses. After 5 days, the sledges did not work. The horses could not survive the weather and had to be killed. Team members had to pull the 200 lb. sledges – you can image how gruelling this was. Because of the poor quality of clothing, all the men developed frostbite. Everyone became snow blind because of the quality of their equipment. There was not enough food and water.

After 800 miserable miles, they arrived at the South Pole to discover that Amundsen had beaten them by a month! The tragic end to this story is that due to poor planning, on the return journey, each and every person on Scott’s expedition died through a combination of starvation and cold. The reason we know about this disaster is due to the journals the last surviving men wrote as they awaited their death.

Now, let’s face it. Most of us are not planning to lead an expedition to the South Pole. Most things that we plan are not matters of life and death – not in the same way as these explorers.

And yet, there are four valuable lessons to be taken from these men.

 1. Vision

Create your vision, and as Stephen Covey suggests in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end in mind”. Have clarity of thought by asking the question: “What do I really want?

This question reveals your deep desires that will move you towards your goal. It’s important to write your answer down. Then, imagine the exciting goal and fulfilling life you want to achieve, and ask the question: “How will I know when I get it?”

What will it be like to get what you want? What will you see? What will you hear? How will you feel? Bathe yourself in the vision of having achieved your fulfilling goal, and experience it as if it is already happening now. (We’ll explore this topic further in the Blog, “Achieving your Goals: Part 2 – Visioning”).

2. Strategies – Goal Planning

Identify the best strategies and planning process possible, so that you have the greatest chance of achieving your vision. As Dwight D. Eisenhower (the 34th US President) famously said: “Plans are nothing; planning is everything”.

Create a defined plan by asking the question: “What must I do to get what I want?

Having a vision alone is not enough. Without goals – a defined plan – it is likely that nothing will change. The goal-setting process helps you choose where you want to go, what you want to achieve, and where you have to concentrate your efforts to materialise your vision. (We’ll explore this topic further in the Blog, “Achieving your Goals – Part 3: Strategies / Goals”).

3. Flexibility

As your life progresses there will be times that you will want to revisit your vision and goal-planning process. Amundsen originally planned to go to the North Pole, but when he discovered that the American explorer, Robert Edwin Peary Sr., had beaten him, he changed his vision to go to the South Pole.

Create a vision, but have sufficient flexibility to be able to keep adjusting your plan and behaviour until you reach your goal and get your outcome.

4. Action

Moving from where you are now to where you need to be, is to take action to bring about that change. Therefore, develop an action plan and take the action steps necessary, so that you have a greater likelihood of realising your vision. (We’ll explore this topic further in the Blog, “Achieving your Goals – Part 4: Take Action”).

And remember to STAND TALL. Check that your physiology, or body language, is supporting your vision and desired outcome. Your thoughts affect your feelings, and your feelings affect your physiology, which in turn affects your behaviour and the actions you take!

I would like to leave you with a final thought and an invitation:

A vision starts as a thought, but now it is the time to make that vision real through the actions you will take and the goals you will accomplish.

Feel free to contact me and discuss with me how you can best hone your vision, set out an exciting and powerful plan and the action steps you need to take to accomplish it.

We all hear about the importance of setting goals. If you set goals that are tangible, attainable and realistic, then you do have the ability to reach them and create a track record of success. Let me help you create GREAT GOALS. Click here to download your FREE 21 Questions for Great Goal Setting!

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