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Karim Camara
Karim Camara is a Leadership Expert, Success Expert and Marketer
Karim Camara is a Leadership Expert, Success Expert and Marketer

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by Karim Camara

Personal success is less complicated than you think. It really just boils down to three focal points that you need to succeed. All the podcasts, books, seminars, coaching sessions, in some way, all reference these three things. Remember them, heed them and you will have a basic guideline for achieving all that you want without trying to find the next new, hot idea. To ensure long-term, sustainable success in your life, you must have 1) a vision for your future 2) energy to work towards achieving it and 3) the discipline to commit to fulfilling your vision.

That’s it! Those three things: vision, energy, discipline. Now, this doesn’t mean that I am telling you to stop investing in those resources that can further your development. I personally am constantly finding new perspectives to inspire me on my journey. My Amazon book library is full of personal development books and when I come across an intriguing book title or book description, it is hard not to click “Buy Now With One-Click”. The challenge is that many people stay in the “acquisition stage” of learning what they need to be successful and don’t transition to the “action stage”. Commit yourself to continue your education and acquire knowledge, but the most important thing is to commit yourself to take the necessary actions toward your future.

The idea of intentional personal success or personal development can be traced back to various ancient societies (from Africa, Greece, and others). Socrates statement, "The unexamined life is not worth living", connotes the priority of the quest for and exploration of life's meaning.

Great companies deliberately determine and document their vision, purpose, values and then set goals to achieve them. For several years success literature and best-selling business books have placed a great deal of focus on the significance for individuals and companies to create mission or purpose statements, formulate a vision and write an action plan which includes goal-setting. Fortunately, many organizations spend a great deal of focus on vital topics such as purpose and vision. Unfortunately, most individuals do not.
Psychologist Viktor Frankl wrote, “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life. Everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.” Your vision once contemplated becomes a deep source of meaning. It describes both a short-term and long-term perspective of what you want your life to look like. I suggest you begin thinking of and planning your next year but more significantly, to create a vision of how you envision your life ten years from now. Tony Robbins said it best, “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and they underestimate what they can do in two or three decades”. Don’t try to accomplish all the unaccomplished goals that have been frustrating you in one year. Instead, focus on immediate actions to fulfill long-term goals.

Karim Camara is a Spiritual teacher, Life Coach, Motivational Speak and Youth Advocate. He is the Founding Pastor of Abundant Life Church in Brooklyn, New York and the CEO of Camara Strategies International- a personal and organizational development firm.
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Why is personal change so difficult? Marshall Goldsmith deals with this issue in his book, Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts, Becoming the Person You Want to Be, and warns us that, “Regret, is the emotion we experience when we assess our present circumstances and reconsider how we got here.” He also asks a fundamental question, “Why don't we become the person we want to be?”

It is a question that you can ask yourself, “What are the challenges that you are facing?”

Many of the things I hear from those I serve as a spiritual teacher or life coach include:
• I don’t have time to accomplish what I would like to.
• I am so busy that I can’t even enjoy life.
• The people close to me want me to spend more time with them. But how can I possibly find more time for anything?
• At the end of each week I am tired, but don’t feel like I accomplished anything.

A common link in all of those states of mind is that we are in perpetual action mode.But we are hard pressed to make time for rest and reflection. It is in reflection that we are able to contemplate, create, and achieve our goals. A goal is a specific outcome that we decide to complete by a certain point in time. Or, more simply, a goal is a dream with a deadline.
It is also in reflection that we discover our mission, create a vision for our life, achieve balance between our various roles in life, set and achieve goals aligned with our mission, vision, and values and accomplish the things that matter the most and that bring a sense of fulfillment.

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One of the most common approaches to goal-setting is the method of setting SMART goals. It is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound. The SMART goals technique is a robust method to increases the likelihood that you achieve your goals and to ensure that they meet certain, necessary criteria. However, you have to be conscious of not focusing inordinately on goal-achievement and while neglecting a focusing on what achieving the goal will really mean to you in the long-term. Attaining meaningful, long-term success requires you to develop a sense of awareness of why the goals are significant to you. There is no greater feeling of frustration to achieve something and then realize that you never really had any deep connection to what you set out to accomplish. Spend time in deep reflection so that you become more aware and conscious of your motivations and desired outcomes.
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4 Actions to Take Instead of New Year’s Resolutions

As we approach the end of one year and the beginning of the next, many people will begin their annual “ritual” of writing “New Year Resolutions.” One word of advice for anyone reading this that plans on writing resolutions: Don’t! Many studies show that a little less than half of American’s write resolutions- ranging from losing weight, to quitting smoking, to spending, more time with family. Less than 10 % of those who commit to resolutions accomplish them. Instead of the short-term approach of writing resolutions intended to bring dramatic change, develop a long-term vision of your ideal state of fulfillment three, five or event ten years from now, then set goals to help you get there.

Peter Drucker- considered “the father” of modern management- said, “when the history of our time is is likely the most important event those historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time, substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it. (Leader to Leader Journal, Managing Knowledge Means Managing Oneself, Peter Drucker, Spring 2000)
Although Drucker wrote that quote seventeen years ago, it holds as much truth today as when he first wrote it. We can no longer rely on past paradigms or follow common customs to attain success.

A high school diploma, college degree, and graduate or professional degree are proven to increase individual income and professional success. Even they alone cannot be relied upon to predict our professional success. More than ever individuals will have to learn to develop their personal leadership skills and make decisions to shape their destiny. One of the most significant practices to determine your desired outcome and ensure success is setting goals. Goals are simply dreams with deadlines.
Here are some action steps you can begin as you prepare for the next year and beyond:

1) Write your personal mission statement.
A written statement, ideally one sentence, describes who you want to be and what you want to do. It is the beginning of creating your legacy (the impact you make and what people will remember about you when you are no longer on this earth). Being conscious of your mission is much deeper than pursuing a goal. It goes to the core of what you want to achieve in life and the unique gifts that you can contribute.
2) Establish a vision for your life
Ask yourself the question, “Where do I want to be five years from now? Ten years from now?” Where do you live? Where will you be working? How do you spend your days? How are your relationships?
Not having a personal vision is like getting in a car and traveling with no idea of a particular destination. Many studies show that one of the traits of individuals who achieve great success is the ability to focus on the present but still have a long-term vision for the future.
3) Be intentional about the things that you value. Sustained fulfillment will not happen unless you intentionally give adequate time and priority to your core values.
A) Spiritual - How do I acknowledge and relate to a higher power? What is my ultimate concern? B) Individual - Who am I? What are my unique gifts? What is my destination? Do I have self-respect? Do I feel competent and have self-confidence? C) Relational - How do I interact and connect with others? Do I feel valued and respected by others? Do I feel loved? D) Vocational - What will I do with my life? What is my calling/purpose? What is my contribution to this world? What will be my legacy? E) Financial - Do I have sufficient income to meet my expenses? F) Physical - Is my body functioning properly? Am I in and striving towards optimal health, well-being, and energy (adequate diet, exercise, clothing, and shelter)? G) Recreational - How do I enjoy life? How do I add variety? How do I break the “routine”? What are my passions? How do I have fun?
The commitment you make to these areas is an indicator of how much you value them. Values demonstrate the importance and worth that we give to something. They also show a person’s principals and standards of behavior. Hence, commitment means dedicating real thought and energy, not just articulating words.
4) Lastly, write goals that are SMART- an acronym you have likely heard before. Using the criteria to ensure that goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and within a Timeframe will help you achieve your goals.
If you focus on your mission, vision, and values and set goals to accomplish them, you will not only have potential for a great year but, more significantly, you will be on your way to a life of balance, fulfillment, and will also likely make a significant contribution to the world.

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