“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
You have a vision. You know what your world would look like when you achieve it. It’s out there waiting for you. All that good stuff.
Maybe some of you have picked up a stick at the beach and carved it out in the sand. Others may have scribbled it on a napkin at a coffee shop. I know someone who digitalized it and used it as their desktop image. Another even created a vision board and hung it over his desk.
That’s all well and good. It’s motivational and helps you keep your focus. But let’s get practical. Your vision is a dream. It takes place in the future. You need a plan. You need to set goals. You need to create your milestones.
Do you think your goals are tangible and actionable enough to turn vision into reality? We know goals are the stepping stones – the strategies and set methodologies you need to put into place and work toward every day. How you work them are your tools – the tactics you’ll use to create opportunities that will ultimately make that vision a reality.
The majority of small businesses know how to set goals. When our strategies and tactics we put in place to achieve them fail, it’s usually because of two things:
- Either our goals aren’t in sync with our vision, or
- We haven’t taken the time to break them down into enough small steps to make them achievable.
The big difference between visions and goals is that visions are ideals and concepts. Something out in the distant future and hard to see with any clarity. We gain clarity by setting goals. They’re the nuts and bolts of how you’re going to get from here to there. You can to create as many steps as needed to do that.
You can set your goal as high as you like. In fact, studies show that the higher the goal, the greater chance you have of achieving it. If you have difficulty reaching your goal, rethink your steps. Chances are they aren’t small enough to give you that little thrill of achievement to when even a small task is completed successfully.
There will always be someone who tells you they have the secret sauce, or that tried and true formula; but it’s theirs, and not yours. Even if you use it, you’ll be adapting it through your own lens and put your own spin on it to make it your own. Your perspective, just like your vision is uniquely your own.
The only secret sauce I believe in, is working the process. If you trip, you’re taking too big a step. Take a smaller one. Small, achievable steps provide constant reinforcement, which grows motivation, sustains energy, focus, clarity and sense of purpose.
Use these 6 steps as a guideline and see how you can accomplish your goals with a lot less angst and a greater sense of achievement.
1. Reinforce the primary goal: Envision what it will feel like to accomplish the goal. What will the rewards be for you and your team? What will life feel like? On the other hand, what will it feel like if you do not meet your goal? What would the consequences be?
2. Make your goals SMART:
3. Reward yourself and your team at the completion of each SMART STEP.
4. Practice positive thinking and reinforce the feeling of success you and your team have. Use affirmations. In fact, you and your team can make up your own.
5. Physically write down what you’ve accomplished or if you already have a list drawn up, cross it off and mark it ‘done.’
6. Toot your horn. Tell people about what you and your team has accomplished. A pat on the back never hurt anyone.
If you have problems working up step by step to your big goal, trying starting at the top, by visualizing it’s already been achieved, and work backwards step by step and retrace how you got there.
- What obstacles did you meet?
- How did you solve them?
- What action steps did you?
Setting goals properly can be an innovative and creative experience, but remember the goals you set are not for you alone. The key lies in bringing your people along with you and making them part of the process. Achievement is based on collaborative efforts: with your partners, with your employees, with your customers, and with a nod to those who preceded you, who laid the groundwork for your success.