By Michael D. Preston
Are you headed in the right direction? When you come to a fork in the road – do you know which way to turn? Life and business can be challenging enough when you can answer those questions – let alone when you cannot.
When I first sit down with clients, the place we start – in fact, the place we MUST begin, is by setting goals.
When I present on this topic I make the point of stating that goal setting is perhaps life’s most important activity (outside of breathing).
Is that overkill? Maybe. The point is to grab their attention and help them understand from the beginning that there is NO success until you can clearly define what success means to you. How do you get somewhere if you don’t actually know where you are going?
I know people that have more money than they will spend – yet they don’t feel successful. Why? Because they don’t get to spend time with their family or loved ones. They are prisoners in their role as owner. Why? They didn’t set the right goals.
In truth, they really didn’t set ANY goals. They just believed in working hard and dismissed the working smart; just a feeling that they would like to be better tomorrow than they were yesterday.
This attitude is better than nothing, and is often what propels us forward to the success we actually do achieve – but it is selling ourselves far too short of our potential.
You may have heard the adage – you can’t hit a target if you don’t know where it is.
And make no mistake – what seems like an easy question can be a significantly difficult quest. I have seen some take months to answer. But once answered, they become filled with enthusiasm and drive – because they now know what they want and what they need to do to achieve it!
So, if setting goals is so powerful and important, why is it that so very few actually take the time to do it, and do it right?
There are many reasons for this; most don’t realize the importance, and often, they don’t really know how. My goal is to solve both of those issues right now.
So today, I am going to give you a quick system for setting your goals that will almost seem too simple – but I promise it will have an incredible impact on your life and business if you apply it properly.
It’s called setting “SMART” goals.
“SMART” is a quick and easy system to make sure we structure our goals properly, as well as include the parts of goals that keep us on track.
SMART is a pneumonic that stands for:
Aligned With Your Values
The key here is to make sure that all of these things are included in our goals.
For example, you wouldn’t say, “I want to grow my business.” What does this mean? What can I do to make this happen? There is no direction.
What if I said, “I want to grow my commercial sales by 30 percent in the next 12 months?” Now I have something to work with. I have a starting point and an end point. I can begin to build a plan to close the gap between where I am and where I want to be. It is Specific, I can Measure it, it Aligns With My Values, I feel it is Realistic and not just some number I picked randomly, and I gave myself a Deadline – making it Time Bounded.
While this may seem simple, the answers to these questions can be tough to determine. Often times, a lot of thought, analysis and soul searching are required. Who do you want to be? What would you like to accomplish? The fact that we get to answer these questions for ourselves in this country is a blessing and one we should take advantage of.
And while we often think of goals in terms of revenue or profit, take time to set goals in every aspect of your life. These can be in areas such as financial independence, health and fitness, family and relationships, spiritual, philanthropy, etc.
And when you set these goals, remember that this isn’t a prediction. It isn’t like the weather where we hope it all happens. No. Make it a proclamation! You are going to make these things happen. You have decided what you want and how you will be moving forward and regardless of the obstacles. This is your path!
And this isn’t just a process, it is a mindset. Work to get the most out of every situation by asking yourself before you undertake anything what your goal actually is.
So dig deep into your potential, accept nothing less than your best, and push yourself to create the life you always wanted.
Remember what Michelangelo said, “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it!”
Happy New Year, and here’s to making 2019 your best year ever!
Michael D. Preston is a CA licensed Business Broker who is committed to helping business owners increase their valuation and sell their business for the most money possible. You can contact him at 310.994.7037 or email him at Michael@InflectiveGrowth.com.