I am a big believer in setting goals and tracking your progress, it is so important if you want to progress in your business. Imagine heading off on a long car journey that you’ve never travelled before. Your destination is hundreds of miles away, the roads are unfamiliar, maybe even a bit dangerous, and you just set off without setting up the sat-nav or looking at a map. You know roughly what direction you’re heading in, but you don’t have an exact location and no definite idea of how to get there. Embarking on such a journey would seem a bit crazy, but that’s what many business owners are doing day in, day out. They have started up a business, have a general idea of how much they want to earn or broadly what they want to achieve, but have no exact end goal in mind and no detailed plan of how to get there.
So what about you? Have you thought about where you want to be in five years? Would you like to be off the tools? Or would you just like to be working three or four days a week and playing golf the rest of the time? What about getting your mortgage paid off?
Do you sometimes find that if you don’t think about the future that all of a sudden the months and years are ticking by, and you start to wonder what you are achieving? It can be frustrating. Dreams can sometimes be just that, dreams instead of a concrete destination. If you don’t have a plan or roadmap in place it can be discouraging as you can get fed up with not achieving much.
So something I always tell my clients when I am coaching them is that they need to have an end goal and make it concrete. Goal setting is such a powerful strategy. If you haven’t done it already think about it today, sit down now, get yourself a pen and paper and think about what your goals are both in your business and life. Business and life are intertwined, so it’s important to think about them together. Write down five things you want to achieve for both.
Putting it down in writing is powerful. I was amazed the first time I did this. I often write down a five-year plan, a one-year plan, a six month plan, a quarterly and then monthly plan. Our goals can change over time so I have five years as an end goal as I found it reflects much more where you are currently at. With your goals try to push boundaries, be realistic to some degree but stretch yourselves. In Jim Collins book “Built to last”, he analysed some of the most successful companies and what he noticed was that the leaders were visionaries. They set themselves big goals, he called those kinds of goals BHAG – or Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Could you do that for your business and life? See what you can come up with.
When you have written it down, you need to try and tie emotion to the goal. Emotions are motivating, both negative and positive. Think about what it will be like if you don’t achieve it and how it could affect those you love, this can be powerfully motivating. Then think about the positive emotions tied to the goal, for example think about yourself off the tools and driving your company car around. Think about the time you can spend with your family. When you tie emotion to it you can create a burning desire for the goal. When I first did this and look back now, 75% of the goals I set were achieved. You may not achieve all of them but you will get close.
Richard Williams is the father of Venus and Serena Williams, the world-class tennis players. Venus and Serena have 39 grand slam wins between them, and they are two of the most famous sportspeople in the world. Their mindset and drive came from their father. Venus was just 5 when he took them to the tennis courts, he was convinced that they were going to become world-class tennis players. We know they have natural ability, but so do thousands of other kids, the overriding factor for them was the continual goal setting and planning when they were girls. Richards number one rule was: Failing to plan is planning to fail. It is shocking how many business owners I speak to have no plan, and this is why they fail.
I always get my clients to write down their goals and put a plan in place. It will be much more action to have bite-sized goals, the quickest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
So if you haven’t done it already I want you to today:
- Write down five short term and long term goals. Think about what your Big Hairy Audacious Goals are.
- Tie an emotion to each of your goals. Visualise the positive and negative feelings that will come with either achieving or not achieving your goal.
- Start today on aiming for the closest short term goal. One step at a time will help you to achieve your longer-term goals.
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