The Key To Accomplishing Goals

I was in a meeting with my friend Brian yesterday and he was talking about why people often default to the status quo in their life, and why – despite good intentions – things simply don’t get done. His observations were brilliant and spot-on.

He shared the story of one oppressive dictator talking to another oppressive dictator. The second had come to him to seek his advice in how to keep his country under control. He said that his country was being invaded and that he needed advice quickly about how to squash the rebellion.

“Are they coming by air?”, asked the first.

“No, no. They are not coming by air.”

“Are they coming by river?”, he inquired further.

“No, not by river either. They are simply driving into my country by road.”

The elder dictator’s eyes sank as he shook his head. “Oh, my poor brother,” he said, “didn’t I warn you? NEVER build roads.”

Roads are infrastructure, and infrastructure is the single best way to combat the status quo. If you want to continue on the trajectory you’re on, simply do what you’ve been doing and don’t build any infrastructure to support new efforts. However, if you want to see things change in your life, you need to begin by putting some systems and practices in place to bolster those efforts.

Infrastructure provides the foundation and stability to support your efforts. Just like a house can’t stand without a strong foundation and a good frame, your goals – no matter how pretty they look on the outside – will not simply happen without you first establishing the foundation and framing them up.

The foundation is the underlying why of what you want to accomplish. Why is this goal important to you? What will it mean if you are able to accomplish it? Is this really the right goal, or is there a better one you should be focusing on? Answering these questions will help you better hone in on which efforts will be most effective. (For a more complete examination of starting with why, check out my Accidental Creative interview with Simon Sinek.

The framework is the set of repeating tasks that will support your efforts. Do you want to grow your business this year? Which marketing tasks will you make a regular part of your week? Do you want to grow your skills in some way? When will you block off time each week to work on developing them? Establish the framework before you start decorating your room.

Infrastructure is the key differentiator between wishing and accomplishing. It’s the only way to combat the “oppressive dictators” that want to keep us in a place of ambivalence and status quo.

Question: What are your goals for 2011 and what will help you accomplish them?

Share your thoughts:

Please keep your comments civil and on topic.


  1. Joe

    Increasing business in 2011 20% by building more marketing activities into every day.

    • Todd Henry

      Joe, I’ve seen similar jumps as I’ve put some specific marketing-related practices into my days. Best wishes for a great year!

Submit a Comment

I'm Todd Henry.

I'm Todd Henry.

I write books, speak internationally on productivity, creativity, leadership, and passion for work, and help people and teams generate brilliant ideas. More

My Latest Book

I write books, speak internationally on productivity, creativity, leadership, and passion for work, and help people and teams generate brilliant ideas.

Share This