Intentional ActionPart of my new year strategic planning is to reflect on the most important pieces of advice that I’ve received in my professional and personal life.

In this post, let me ask you… What comes to top of mind for you when you think of the most important advice you’ve received?

For me, as I reflect on that question, there are three pieces of advice, and each from a different person.

The first was from George W. Dudley the co-author of the international best-selling book – Earning What You’re Worth. George’s advice to me was to:

“Watch who you let near your mind.”

The second piece of advice that comes to top of my mind was shared to me by one of my long-term and long-distance mentors, Ron Willingham, author of two international best-selling books, Integrity Selling and When Good Isn’t Good Enough, Ron said to me to:

“Always model the behaviour that you expect of others.”

The third piece of advice came from a the ancient wisdom of Aristotle (no link here… Aristotle never got around to building a website). Aristotle’s philosophy suggests that:

“Our actions and behaviours are our morals shown in conduct.”

In this post I want to focus on George’s advice of “Watch who you let near your mind” and in my next few posts I will focus on Ron’s and then Aristotle’s.

I’ve taken George’s advice and coupled with my continued academic study and research, I have developed my critical thinking skills far beyond what they used to be.

Don’t Set Goals… Really?

For example, recently I’ve been reading a number of articles and social media posts that are recommending that you DON’T SET GOALS. Each of the posts receive ‘likes’ and affirming comments, but let’s just be a little careful before we jump into this contrarian point of view about goal setting.

While this advice may be well intentioned, it is also not evidence-based. Oh, you might be able to find one or two contrarian pieces of research with questionable research methodologies that suggest goal setting may be counterproductive, however, the overwhelming scientific research validates the value and benefits of goal setting in our personal and professional life.

The problem I see is that when we start to get used to an idea – even when it is solid and evidence-based, we become a bit ‘tired’ or ‘used-to-it’ and we start to devalue it. Then we become open to accepting the next unfounded self-help idea that just happens to be a bit ‘fresh’ and ‘interesting’ and ‘different’.

Based on the scientific evidence, humans are aspirational goal seeking beings. We have an innate drive to acquire, learn and belong. If we don’t have goals that we are pursuing, we are not striving and if we are not striving we are potentially languishing.

We know from the science when people are actively pursuing meaningful goals that are aligned with their personal values and sense of self, they are more likely to be flourishing in their lives and less likely to be languishing or suffering with various forms of mental illness.

I want to repeat and share George Dudley’s advice. If you haven’t decided to set some goals (whether you want to call them an annual theme, a 30 day plan, or whatever… ), I recommend you get started.

There’s a pivotal moment in the movie ‘The Untouchables’, when Sean Connery’s character (Police Officer Jim Malone) is in conversation with Kevin Costner’s character (Treasury Officer Elliot Ness) about the possibility of bringing the gangster Al Capone under arrest. Malone asks Ness, “What are you prepared to do?”

We can’t just live in hope, and we can’t just think about what we want, and we can’t rely on the so-called-law-of-attraction to get things done. Science validates it takes intention and it takes intentional action to achieve our goals… but we can never achieve goals if we don’t set them.

So let me leave you now to think about George’s advice and with the aspirational question of Sean Connery’s character…

What are you prepared to do?



My conference keynote and masterclass program on Developing The Positivity Mindset provides an entertaining, energetic and comprehensive process to ensure you and your team will flourish through whatever situation 2016 might present. If you’d like to book me for your next conference or professional development program, give me a call at our Sydney office on 02 9546 2492 or visit