“Start with the end in mind.” — Stephen Covey
An outcome is simply an end result. Whenever you set out to do something, it helps if you get clarity on the outcomes you want to achieve.
This is how you “begin with the end in mind.”
When you get good at formulating outcomes, you get better at achieving results in work and life.
Because you use the outcomes to guide your thoughts, feelings, and actions. By holding clear pictures of the outcomes you want to achieve, you can continuously adapt and adjust as you move towards your goals. Outcomes help you act on feedback. You can see if you are getting closer to, or further away from your desired outcome, and respond accordingly.
But, how do you create well-formed outcomes?
In the book, Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement, Tony Robbins shares 5 rules we can use to design more effective outcomes.
According to Tony Robbins, here are the 5 rules for formulating outcomes:
- State your outcome in positive terms. Say what you want to have happen, not what you don’t want to happen.
- Be as specific as possible. What exactly do you / we want? How does your outcome look, sound, feel, smell? The richer the picture, the more you engage your brain to help you make your desire come true.
- Have an evidence procedure. How will you / we know the outcome has been realized? Know how you will look, how you will feel, and what you will see and hear in your external world after you have achieved your outcome. If you don’t know how you’ll know when you’ve achieved your goal, you may already have it. You can be winning and feel like you’re losing if you don’t keep score.
- Be in control. You outcome must be initiated and maintained by you. It must not be dependent on other people having to change themselves for you to be happy. Make sure your outcome reflects things you can affect directly.
- Verify that your outcome is ecologically sound and desirable. Project into the future the consequences of your actual goal. Your outcome must be one that benefits you and other people.
The more you practice, the better you’ll get. It’s hard to work towards something, especially if it’s a longer term project, and you don’t have clear outcomes. The sharper you can bring the outcomes into focus, the more resourceful you will be in making them happen.
Even better, when you can articulate your outcomes with clarity, you can get others on board and join you in your cause.
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Image by Chris Maki.