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November 13, 2015
Living on the Edge of Failure
 
At one point in my life, I was asked why I was always in a highly stressful situation that included being short of money or there was always some kind of shitstorm in my life. Then, someone suggested the possibility that I was creating these extremely uncomfortable events on purpose. What I am going to suggest is: If a person is driven to success, they will always live on the edge of failure.

This should make perfect sense to those people that really want to excel. A champion skier or racecar driver is always pushing the limits and literally living on the edge of failure. Many successful people push themselves by purchasing high-ticket items that are just slightly out of reach and stretch their ability to pay their bills for the sole purpose of forcing themselves to perform. They are living on the edge of failure. I am not suggesting being irresponsible, but I am suggesting pushing to the edge in order to force growth.

My Momma Says, Stupid Is as Stupid Does
Some kids are video-game nerds. I was a success nerd, reading every book I could find on the subject. When I started my management career, I was still in college, working at a F100 company. My boss was fired and at age 19 I replaced that manager, supervising 25 people, all older than me. It was extremely challenging.

Eventually, I began seeking out other managers to get their perspective. I wanted sage advice from my peers and we had row after row of cubicles filled with managers; that meant a huge foundation of knowledge to harvest. As I began my search, I found that none of these people had any staff or anything to manage. It was like living inside the pages of a Franz Kafka story telling of complex bureaucracies that would send your head spinning.

The truth is, many of us that push the limits of our ability are on our own. Rarely are leaders in the corporate world equipped or desirous of being a mentor and can provide you with guidance that can help push you forward.
 
Shall We Play A Game?
We all love to win games; conversely, not being the winner teaches us that we need to work harder, learn more, and push ourselves farther to win. Within the crazy corporate world, it was apparent I would need to find a system or create my own systems to drive me forward. What helped push me farther is learning to create my own games and systems that would motivate me in order that my employers goals or my customers desires became relevant. I set my own targets high enough to push myself just up to the point of failure. You can push yourself forward and set the agenda for your own life.
 
The system I developed for myself incorporated the elements we have discussed in the last three articles:

1) Owning the agenda for one’s life.
2) Taking directed, consistent action. Working both smart and extremely hard.
3) Pushing life and business to the edge.
4) Making your targets relevant daily through scoring or games.

Being Granular with Great Intention
This is the assignment for the final phase. Download the forms and translate the information you outlined in the Primary Targets to the Mission Log document. Creating a granular plan is nothing new; however, rarely do people create their own plans for business and life with great intention and then execute. The challenge behind the Mission Log is to be consistent and unwavering.

The system provides for consistent scoring and tracking of progress. We see the concept of targets being different in that they are concrete outcomes that will happen if the system if followed. Goals are dreams or wishes that have no real concrete plans or outcomes attached. A New Year’s resolution is a goal that most people fail to accomplish because there is no concrete plan. A target is the translation of the goal from a wish to a target with measurable outcomes. Think of it as a recipe for success; if you follow the recipe at each step of the game, there is little question reaching your desired outcomes will occur. The rest of the world will be dreaming of success while you are reaching your targets.

I have provided a link to PDFs to be used in the process. The document includes detailed instructions on how to use the Mission Log.

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Since the mid-1990s Carl Hartman has been working in senior management at television networks and his own agency, developing innovative formats for digital marketing content as well as consulting with businesses to refine their business systems & logic, soft skills, and marketing to drive their success. Based in Denver and Los Angeles, Carl’s education includes a mix of coaching modalities, creative, and business disciplines.
 
Visit his company website or follow him on Twitter. Get his bestselling book/workbook on branding for FREE here
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