Goal-Standard for Achieving Your Dreams

January 05, 2023

Award Winning Financial Planner, Sidney Divine, Shares His Strategies for Setting and Sticking to Goals

The earliest remembered experience I had with goals dates back to leading into my sophomore year of High School. While I imagine that there were instances before, I believe that this particular instance stood out and would put me on the path of recognizing the importance of setting and getting what I would plan for!

Having not played basketball my freshman year and transitioning to a new school with a team that was seemingly already established; I wrote out on a piece of paper that I’d be a McDonald’s All-American by the time my high school career was over. This was before I knew that by just writing down said goal, I’d increased the likelihood of achieving it than had I not written it down.

I remember having to sit for the SATs, and one of the most frequently given advice from folks was to “make sure you write your name!” I found out from all my “advisors” that by simply writing your name, you received points. I hated to imagine that there existed a group of people who would be so preoccupied that they’d forget to do what seems like a simple enough task. In life, what I’ve come to learn is that we all have these grand visions of what we should accomplish. Most of those go unbirthed or without life because we don’t write its name!

A goal/plan could exist in your head but without writing it down (giving it a name); that dream/goal/plan will continue to lie dormant until forgotten about or the cares of life and everything else that you have to deal with seem to become bigger than the goal. From what I’ve seen, this is where most dreams die.

My sophomore year, I made a very great basketball team. We’d later go on to win a state championship that year and head off to nationals. While the story would be sweeter and shorter had I been the main cause of our team’s success; the truth is I wasn’t-not unless sitting the bench counts. The greatest success for me that year was being a part of a great program. While I’m sure the case could be made that I contributed to the team’s overall success I won’t be the one making it. This was my first year of organized basketball and although I had a strong work ethic, there were parts of my game that were still a bit raw. I ended up splitting time sitting on the bench for varsity games and getting playing time on junior varsity (which at the time I thought was a demotion).

So far- the goal of being a McDonald’s All-American seemed less likely. I didn’t give up faith though. My sophomore year showed me how much further I had to go and how much more work I’d need to do.

The summer leading into my junior year is when I went back to the drawing board (or paper to be exact). The immediate goal (which would contribute to the overall one) became to start every varsity game my junior year and to be a solid contributor in route to defending our state championship.

More important than the writing out of the goal was the routines/structure that would come from that.

While writing your name on the SATs would give you points and writing your goals down would increase the likelihood of accomplishing them; those start off the journey. I’ve always believed that your goals don’t define you-how hard you’re willing to work for your goals will define and shape you. There are very few substitutes for good old fashion work!!!

That summer I played basketball religiously. When I wasn’t playing; I was practicing. When I wasn’t practicing, I was practicing (I’d go to the mailbox dribbling a ball and would have to make so many shots in a row before taking mail in).

That next year, I was the starting point guard for our varsity team. I ended up being top 5 in points; rebounds; assists and steals.

Much like the year before; at the end of the season; I looked back to see how far I’d come and how much further I needed to go.

It’s very important to track your progress. Without tracking; you aren’t necessarily holding yourself accountable. Accountability, I’d say plays a huge part in achieving your goals. What are you doing each and every second of every minute; minute of every hour; hour of every day; day of every month and month of every year to move you closer to your goals? If you don’t know- you may very well be doing a lot of things that are moving you further away. What gets measured often gets done! We can only effect that which we track!

People have always admired my work ethic and my ability to get things done. They’ve always asked how I stay so focused and motivated all the time. It’s because I am (not anyone else) accountable to myself for the life I want to lead. It’s not something I take lightly. I know that I’m either moving towards it or away. I choose forward every day!

The workouts in the summer had clearly worked. I went from barely getting any minutes on varsity the year before to starting to receive letters from division one colleges. That wasn’t my goal though. The goal was being a McDonald’s All-American and as far as I was concerned there was still much work that I needed to do to be one of those players.

I worked out more that summer than any other. Convinced my Dad to buy me a weight set as I felt I needed to get some strength added to my speed. It didn’t matter that I’d never lifted before.

My last year of High School basketball was arguably the best season I’d ever had. I led the team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and dunks (despite being only 5’8”). We would go on to not even make the state tournament as I was the lone senior and only one left from that state championship team a couple of years ago. One day in chapel before the season’s conclusion- there was an announcement from my coach that he’d received a letter that had me as one of 2006 McDonald’s All-American nominees. There was a certificate that came along with it that specified how many of us would actually get to play in the game. That year I believe there were 26 players selected in Georgia. I was one of those. None of us made it to play the game.

That experience is always going to be sketched in my mind not because I achieved my goal but the things I did to get where I got.

I’ve often heard folks say- enjoy the journey. It’s about the journey, not the destination. Looking back on it; they’re right. The destination was becoming an All-American and although that was some feat in and of itself; it’s mattered far less than the things I had to do; the lessons I learned (and still apply every day).

Thanks to that experience I have standards that I live by:

  • Begin with the end in mind!
  • Write it out
  • Hard work will make up for a multitude of shortcomings
  • Have faith
  • Be accountable
  • Enjoy the journey

About Sidney Divine & Divine Wealth Strategies

Upon graduating from LaGrange College in 2011, Sidney pursued his dream to help good people live better lives. By 2014, he had earned the title of Financial Planner and began to work with his clients by helping them optimize cash flow, manage risks, and plan for their investment and retirement needs. In 2015 and 2016, Sidney was nominated for Financial Planner of the year; an award he proudly earned in 2017 while being ranked within the top 2 percent of 1,875 planners nationally within the Fortune 500 firm.

Sidney’s belief in education since beginning as a Financial Planner has seen him earn the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designation, and the Registered Life Planner (RLP) designation from the Kinder Institute of Life Planning.

Upon earning the RLP designation, Sidney fully embraced his new role as being a Financial Life Planner. As such, he works with clients to help them align their financial realities with the lives they aspire to live. He does this by engaging in a client-centered process that delivers freedom to clients, namely the freedom to pursue life’s passions, wherever they may lead.

Sidney also believes strongly in serving the community. He has served in numerous roles working with youth to empower them to live more inspired lives. Much of this work has taken place on the foundation that sports and athletics can help build confidence and bolster the role of teamwork and citizenship. No matter your needs, you will find Sidney to be a trusted advisor that educates you, advises you, and helps you bring clarity to your money and peace to your life.