As she sat across from me in the boardroom, having just finished telling me the goals she wants to achieve for the next year, I could see a mix of excitement and insecurity in her eyes. Her goals—financial objectives, where she wanted to see her business flourish and the customers she wanted to reach—were lofty. She told me she dreamed of retiring on a beach in Costa Rica within the next five years. Nothing she said was unreasonable, but I knew she had a difficult path ahead of her.
That’s when I asked her the one question I ask everyone who sits across from me: “Are you willing to do whatever it takes?”
There are a lot of actions we need to take to get where we are going. Those who are committed need to create momentum in order to do anything and everything they can to make their dreams a reality.
1. Ask yourself how determined you are.
Asking “are you willing to do whatever it takes?” forces you to consider the actions you really need to take. If the answer is anything but “yes,” then the goal isn’t right. You need to go back and choose something that will cause you to answer with an immediate and resounding “yes.” It needs to be a goal you are willing to do anything to achieve, a goal so big, lofty and inspiring that you would do whatever it takes to get there.
2. Think outside the box to achieve your goal.
If you are willing to do whatever it takes to reach your goal, the follow-up question is: “What do you need to get there?” You may be on the right path—taking consistent actions that propel you toward your goal—but if that was enough, why aren’t you closer to your goal by now? Consider what else you could do to get there. Who could you contact that has succeeded in the past? What groups, classes or events could you join?
3. Step outside of your comfort zone.
If you are willing to do anything to achieve your goal, that also means taking actions you’ve never taken before. This might mean contacting people above you on the career ladder, making financial investments you might not feel entirely ready for or seeking out opportunities for increased brand exposure. Whatever actions you take, you need to move past your fear and be willing to take the first step forward. If you stay where you are, then you will never get closer to your goal.
4. Take massive action to achieve your goal.
Beyond taking actions that will bring you closer to your goals, you must be willing to dream and act bigger. You cannot win big contracts if you’re not willing to reach out to decision makers at large organizations. You cannot be given opportunities to speak on large stages if you don’t contact the organizers. Those who are willing to do whatever it takes will look to their ultimate dream and take the necessary massive action to consistently work toward results, instead of hoping they will eventually work their way up to that point. There’s a saying that “if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” So why not ask? You might get a yes.
5. Follow up and follow through.
It is not enough to take massive action once—you must do it over and over again to achieve your goal. You might put in your requests and never hear back; this could happen several times. People get busy, forget about emails, never check their voicemail—no different than you or me. You might have to follow up several times before receiving a response. You might have to make several presentations before you finally nail it. But once that moment hits, express your gratitude toward the person and the opportunity and use that moment as momentum for your next big step. Remember that you were willing to do whatever it took to achieve your goal—and now, you will be able to do it all over again.
This article was updated July 2023. Photo by PeopleImages.com – Yuri A/Shutterstock
Kim Orlesky is an international speaker, author and executive life coach inspiring daily joy. She is the author of Finding (My)Self (Love): One Girl's Journey of 17 Countries Across 4 Continents in 6 Months, and her second book, How to Be a Nomad, is available now. She is a world traveler, one-time marathoner, adventurer, poor golfer, inconsistent yogi and puppy parent to her Weimaraner. Connect with her at KimOrlesky.com for all her latest projects.