A friend of mine and fellow small business owner, Keith Bass, recently shared the following story on Facebook:
Three people, two men and one woman, were going through assassin training with the CIA. At the end of their training, their instructor said to them: “You have one more test to pass. We need to know that you will follow our instructions, without question, no matter what they are.” Then, the three were separated.
The first man was given a gun and told his wife was in the next room. He was to go into the room and shoot her. The man was furious. “There is no way I am going to go in there and shoot my wife.” The instructor nodded with understanding and said that he would not become a CIA assassin.
The second man was given the same scenario. His head hung down, but he went into the room. After a period of time, he returned, crying. “I wanted to do what you asked, but I just could not kill my wife.” Once again, the instructor said that he could not be an assassin, and dismissed the man.
Finally, the woman was given the same scenario–her husband was in the next room, and she was to go in there and shoot him. She grabbed the pistol, got up from the table and walked deliberately into the room. The door had barely closed when she shot the gun repeatedly. Then, there was a moment of silence, followed by screaming, cussing, and crashing noises. Once again there was silence as the woman emerged from the room, sweating and disheveled. “Who knew?” She stated, “The gun was loaded with blanks; I had to beat the sucker to death with his chair.”
This story, while humorous, demonstrates one of the key elements to accomplishing a goal: commitment.
Goals are relatively easy to set–even good goals do not require a whole lot of work. You have to think about them to set them. Getting there, however, is an entirely different story. That requires that you DO very challenging things. A goal requires you change your behavior–otherwise you would already be there. That is hard! You will be tested on your commitment to your goal regularly, even at the end. Only goals that you have truly determined that you will achieve are realized.
Your ability to commit significantly to a plan has to be connected to something deep inside you, because pursuing one goal may eventually put you in conflict with another goal. (This actually is part of the hard part of making goals–setting ones that really hit you where you live, ones that you TRULY want.)
This is what happened in our story.
The two men’s desire to become a CIA assassin had gotten them almost there. They were completing their training. One problem: There was another goal that superseded and conflicted with their path. When that happened, they had to decide. For one, the choice was clear and easy. For the other, it was a struggle for whatever reason, but, as the first, he was unwilling to go on.
The woman also faced the same decision, but chose a different outcome. Her determination to achieve even exceeded her instructions. She was told to “shoot” her husband. When that did not work, she went above and beyond. This is the kind of behavior that gets you there. She was definitely committed to doing what she was instructed. One might suspect that the task connected with her on some deeper level–something that is essential for a goal to work for you.
As a married man (who has more than once driven his wife to mind-numbing anger), I cannot condone this woman’s actions; however, it is illustrative of what is necessary for success.