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Building An Accountability Structure For Achievement Action paired with intention can make this your year.

By Mark Sephton

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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As we enter the first leg of 2016, many of us, with our goals and intentions in mind and on paper, take to the battlefield to create a life of purpose, growth, and intention. We all start with great intentions caught up in the euphoria of a new year. Each of us know many men and women who start well but don't finish strong. Life throws us curveballs and challenges, motivation fades and, before long, well-intended goals and desires begin to fade into the distance.


Failing to achieve our intentions happens because of two basic elements. The first is not knowing your why- your purpose within your life mission. Before I work with clients to set their goals, we refocus and strengthen their deeper purpose and reason for being alive. Once that is established and clear, we can build representative goals that create a framework to harness the right culture to organically grow in line with our life's purpose and mission. Too often, we set goals we would like to parade around like a badge of honor but, fundamentally, they are not what we are really all about. Sometimes, we set goals to appeal to or satisfy others like parents or spouses or even our colleagues.

While there is something honorable about wanting to appear as a success to others, until we have an internal success that resonates with our own core values and desires we will always feel shortchanged— even when a goal is reached. A great way to help find your why is to embrace the success formula used by the Napoleon Hill Foundation: Passion + Talent + Action + Association = Success. Write down your passion, write down your talents, write down the actions you need to take in order to be a success, write down who you want to run with (i.e. who you want to work with), and let this simple and effective formula inspire you and provide great personal revelations.


The second reason we often fail to achieve our intentions is passion and motivation starts to fade with time and people begin to second guess their desires, as well as their ability to maintain high levels of focus and effort on the desired goal. People forget that success requires sacrifice; it is difficult and challenging. 80% of success comes from religiously doing something over and over again— it's often dull and requires repetition and sacrifice. People forget this, so when life stops feeling so exciting, they stop doing what they have been doing and switch directions because people innately are fueled by emotions and doing what feels good. In my book Inside Job I talk about how we need to become people who don't just act off positive emotion— sometimes we just have to buckle down and act first, and then the positive emotions and excitement come to the fore.


In order to take action and be successful, we must know our why. We must set goals in accordance to our own life purpose and mission. We do this by managing our energy and not our time. We must say yes to the opportunities that play to our strengths, passions and life purpose. Saying yes to such opportunities creates the necessary shifts to realize a life full of energy and purpose. One of the personal revelations I had in 2015 was that I must judge myself not merely on my intentions, but also on my actions.

We all need to take responsibility for more than our intentions. We all have good intentions, but sometimes people don't see them because they remain locked within our own hearts and minds. Conversely, actions often are visible, and action speaks to purpose and belief. If we want 2016 to be a year of growth and, more importantly, one of true purpose, we must own our actions every day. One of the key differences between success and failure is simply our level of action. Success requires action. We must stop making excuses for our lack of follow through. We must measure our life and year based on our actions related to our core values. It may sound simple enough, but it can be difficult to get started. So, how can we stop making excuses and start taking action?

Own who you are

When we fully embrace who we are and what we are about, regardless of the good, bad or ugly, we are confident in our authentic self and do what is right regardless of the opinion of others.

Get focused

When we are fully present in thought and deed, it leads to ownership of not just our thoughts but actions too.

Get serious

We all need to be mindful that if we want to kick on this year, we need to be intentional and committed to the duties and actions that lie before us. That being said, just don't let life get too serious that you fail to mix it up with some humor.

Give ourselves permission

Sometimes we just need to give ourselves permission to make mistakes, to get it wrong, to forgive ourselves. Stop making excuses for why it didn't work and move on.

Be confident

When we are confident in our own ability, it gives us the upright posture we need to stop hiding and keep working toward what we believe is true and instinctive.

By focusing on the why power, understanding that success requires sacrifice and managing your energy and not your time, you'll be taking some first steps to a positive and productive 2016.

Mark Sephton

Entrepreneur, Mentor, and Business Coach

Mark Sephton is a personal mentor to entrepreneurs. His mission to help others has seen him break into global markets while working with startups and millionaire entrepreneurs around the world.

Mark’s love for entrepreneurship has been expressed through serving as a podcast host for Brainz Magazine. When not on the mic, Mark is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, and a speaker for corporate events, entrepreneurship summits, and major conferences worldwide.

His expertise in personal and professional development has positioned him as an expert in the industry, resulting in transformational experiences for audiences, clients, and businesses alike. Drawing from personal experiences, Mark has taken the essence of what he has experienced and built a business that helps draw out the magnificent potential that every person beholds using his GPS system to highlight blind spots, efficiencies and deficiencies.

He is also the author of three personal development books Inside Job, Plot Twist, and his latest book, Mark of a Man, launching on November 30, 2021.

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