As the summer is winding down and the end of the year is quickly approaching, it’s a good time to have an honest conversation about goals. I know it may seem like a worn out topic since every business building and personal development book talks about the importance of setting goals. But here’s the thing . . . . despite knowing that they should have goals, many of the business owners I talk to either don’t have any or they set goals they think they should have without any emotional attachment to them.
Several years ago I met with a client who was (and still is) a successful independent financial advisor. He called me because he was feeling stuck. He was doing well and he was ready to get to the next level of success but couldn’t figure out what was holding him back. As we talked, we reviewed his goals. He had done what he was supposed to do . . . . written clear, measurable business goals. They were the goals a successful wealth manager should have. The problem was that he had no emotional attachment to them. There was no passion driving them, no fire to move them forward.
I went through each goal and asked him how he came up with it and why he wanted to reach it. Those seem like easy questions to answer, right? Well, when you have set your goals based on what experts, guru coaches or top producers in your industry say your business should look like and what you should want to be successful instead of doing the introspective work of deciding what you really want, what you want to business to look like and what success truly means to you, then they can be really challenging questions.
In order for goal setting to be a productive tool to move your business (and your life) forward, you must have an emotional connection to each goal you set. Without it, your goals will be ineffective at best and at worst they may be keeping you stuck.
Here are some tips on how to set productive goals:
Pick your areas of improvement. Look at your business and your life and decide what areas you want to improve (eg: business, family, relationship, education, family, financial/investment, health and wellness, travel, spiritual, home/office environment, material possessions, entertainment experiences). Pick the top 2 or 3 you want to focus on in the next 6 – 12 months.
Get specific. For each area you picked, write a detailed description of what you want that area of your life to look like. Imagine that you have a magic wand and you get to create it just the way you want it to be (NOT how you think it should be). Get as specific as possible.
Get emotionally attached. Read each description and ask yourself these questions “If I could have this just the way I want, what would that do for me? What would be the best part of that? How would I feel doing/being or having things this way? Write down your responses.
Get excited. Which ones excite you most? Which ones feel the most life enhancing? Which ones make you want to shout “YES!!”? Those are the ones you are going to target. Let the rest go for now.
Chunk it down. For each description that feels life enhancing, create 3 -5 action steps you need to take to reach that goal.
Keep it in front of you. Place your goals (detailed descriptions for improvement) and the necessary action steps somewhere you will see and read them every day.
Evaluate often. Every time a decision or opportunity comes your way, evaluate how it fits with each goal and if it is going to get you closer to one or more of them. If yes, proceed. If no, let it go for now.
Goal setting can be a powerful tool that can catapult you to the next level of success only if you are taking the time and making the effort to decide what you really want, why you really want it and how it’s going to make a positive difference in your life.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please leave them below.