Journal Entry: John Dalaly-11/06/2023-Setting Goals

Journal Entry

Setting Goals to Grow Stronger as I Prepare for Prison

My preparations for the day when I will surrender to prison continue. I have a few weeks until the day when my family will drive me from our home in Michigan to the prison in West Virginia. While I wait, I reflect on the importance of setting goals.

In the 1960s, my family immigrated from Iraq to build a better life in America. I was only 10-years-old when we began our life in Michigan. Even then I relied upon goals to adjust. The more clarity I could bring to all I wanted to achieve, the better I could plan. As I executed on my goals, I grew my confidence.

To succeed, I had to learn the American way of life quickly. I had to learn the language and how to build relationships with people who didn’t understand me.

Setting goals helped me to grow stronger through my youth, through my adolescence, through my adulthood. Goals have helped me on a personal level and they have helped me professionally. In fact, I would attribute my success in business to the commitment I made to setting goals. Even at 71-years-old, goals help me adjust through life. They’re helping me work through every day as I prepare to begin my sabbatical at the federal prison camp in Hazleton.

By working with great leaders, opportunities opened for me to learn. For example, when I was beginning my career as a businessman, I did not have much knowledge of the export business. I had to learn how to find suppliers, how to negotiate purchase orders, or how to ship products from Michigan to Arabic countries. However, I set a goal to learn everything I needed to know in order to build a successful business.

I broke down this goal into smaller steps, and as I worked my way through each step, I grew more confident. I would like to say that I created this strategy. In truth, this strategy evolved over time, as I learned from others. With each incremental stage of success, I put myself in the position for new opportunities. Success in the export business positioned me to launch new ventures in manufacturing. With success in manufacturing, new business opportunities opened, including work in medical staffing agencies and more.

Sometimes we forget to celebrate the little goals. But it’s the little goals that lead to new opportunities.
As I write these daily journal entries, I’m showing the strategies I use to grow stronger, with one step at a time. This will become a roadmap, or a curriculum. I intend to use these journal entries to teach others, to show others.
I learned lessons from great leaders, and I’ve even had opportunities to meet with them, to sit in their presence. By listening, I learned that like me, they used goals to help them grow. I once sat in the audience with President Obama. He spoke about the challenges he faced. He grew up in a single-parent household without much in the way of financial resources. Yet with discipline and goal setting, he became one of the world’s great leaders.

President Obama spoke about setting goals. He aspired to be a good student in childhood. With excellent grades, he built a pathway to America’s best universities, graduating with a law degree from Harvard. With that degree, he could have chosen any career path he wanted. Instead of pursuing wealth, he chose to work as a community organizer to help citizens in Chicago reach a higher potential. That leadership role led him into politics, and despite steep opposition, he became a two-term President of the United States.

I see the value of setting goals. And while I serve my sentence in Hazleton, I intend to other people learn how goals can help them.

This opportunity helps me serve God and I hope it will bring pride to my family.

John Dalaly