Setting Goals That Empower The Business Owner
By Terry Strom
To succeed to the greatest extend possible, you need to set goals. But those goals must be reachable and stretchable. Reachable so you will believe that you can attain them, and stretchable so that when you attain them, you will have moved forward. I feel you need a monthly goal, a six month goal, a yearly goal, and even a three year, five year and 10 year goal. If you have ever played darts, you know that it is impossible to play without a target. Therefore, you need a target when you play the game of life and business.
Your goals need to be reachable do-able, because if they are too hard to attain or too far away, you may just look at your goal and say "whoa, that is too far away to look at and I don't believe I can do it". Therefore, you can't get inspired by that goal, and as a result you will not spend the proper time and energy working on it, which means it will not happen. Then, when it does not happen, you create for yourself a failure, which lowers you self confidence and decrease your personal power for future goals. In cases like this it is much better to set smaller more attainable goals for yourself. Therefore, when you attain the goal, you will have moved forward and created a success for yourself that increase your self esteem and therefore it also increases you personal power for future successes.
You are your biggest and most influential critic of yourself, meaning that if you fail in your own eyes you can hold it against yourself 24/7 in the most negative way; which can play tremendous havoc on your ability to believe in yourself. The problem that occurs with people that continue to create goals that they don't attain is that they stop believing themselves when they set a goal. Therefore, each time they set a goal that little (or big) voice inside them says "what makes you think you are going to compete your goal this time, you have not completed the other goals you set? "
I have a saying I use went putting together compensation and incentive programs for sales teams, "you get what you reward". Well this also works with goals you set for yourself as the business owner. Therefore be very careful with the goals you set. If you set goals that do not inspire and excite you, you will not put the energy and effort needed into completing those goals.
As an executive business coach for business owners, I work with the business owners to set goals that are very personal which will have a direct result in bettering their life. I do this because I have seen too many business owners set up goals that may have seemed noble, but had very little potential personal benefit to the business owner, and therefore, it did not inspire them to action. Below is one of the examples of a personal goal I used to get my first direct sales company up and running.
When I started my first direct sales company my wife and I set a very personal goal that ended up being very motivating for both of us, and it was a lot of the reason for our early success in that business. When we started that company, my oldest son was 19 months old, and my wife was eight months pregnant with our second son. She was a teacher and wanted to come and be home with our sons, but we could not afford for her not to work at that time. However, I knew how very important it was for my wife to be home with our children, so I made a goal (and a commitment to my wife) that within one year I would get her out of her job. The goal was a very personal, specific, and attainable (although stretching) for us; and as a result it worked. My wife came home from work within one year, and has never gone back to work (and my oldest son is almost 18); and our direct sales company was extremely successful by the end of that first year.
Goals should be set in a stair step fashion that build on each other and lead to the completion of a major goal. Meaning you set your key goal for 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years, etc. Then you set shorter term and intermediate term goals that lead to the completion of the key goals. By doing this, you always have a reachable and attainable goal in close reach to where you are so that you don't get discouraged when looking at the key (long term) goal. The personal story below gives a perfect example of keeping reachable goals constantly in front of you as you strive towards your major goals.
I used to take this run when I lived in Glendora in Southern California. It was located about 15 miles east of Pasadena where the Rose Bowl parade takes place. The run I took went up in elevation 3000 to 4000 feet to the top of a ridge (long term goal). It was about a nine mile run one way, and then you had to come back down that same nine miles. It had a lot of curves and was quite steep. I'd start running and I'd look up at the next flat spot where it curved and went up further, and I would say to myself "oh my gosh, that is such a long (steep) way up". Just by looking at the steep elevation gain to that next flat spot were it curved to go up further (intermediate goal) would make me want to give up right then. Therefore to lessen this feeling of wanting to give up, I learned to start looking at my feet instead of the steep jogging trail ahead of me. This helped me greatly, because if I looked at my feet, my feet only went up the steep hill a little bit with each step (short term goal); and then if I just kept looking at my feet eventually I'd get to that next flat spot that curved to go up further (intermediate term goal). Once I reached that flat spot I would get a little bit of success which would give me a euphoric feeling because I had attained that intermediate goal (a small success). This euphoric felling would then propel me to the next flat spot that curved to go up further (next intermediate goal). Then I would continue to go from flat spot to flat spot (intermediate goal to intermediate goal and small success to small success) using the same technique until I attained my long term goal (the end of my uphill run at the top of the ridge).
Through this example you see how you can use short term goals to reach intermediate goals, which help you reach your long term goals. However, the greatest thing about successfully meeting a goal is the awesome feeling of empowerment and the release of endorphins (natural pain killers created by your body), that made me feel awesome for hours later. Therefore, when I would get to the top of that ridge I would feel great and unstoppable for hours after that run (and a little tired). But to do this, I had to start with completing the short term goals, then the intermediate term goals, and then finally the long term goals. In the same way, you can use this technique with your business in order to meet the goals you set for yourself and you company, and to create the self confidence and empowerment that comes with completing those goals.
Lastly, it is extremely important to reward yourself when you complete a goal. You must have smaller rewards for the short term goals and larger rewards for the longer term goals. However, you must make sure that you do not give yourself the appropriate reward until you have completed the associated goal. Moreover, the rewards you set must be something that excites you and inspires you to action for it to be effective. It could be as simple as going out to dinner at a special restaurant when you complete you short term goal, or a weekend at a exciting resort for completing your intermediate range goal, or an awesome Caribbean cruise or a sports car for completing a long term goal. Whatever rewards you set for yourself, have fun with it, so that it will truly be a motivator for you.
Copyright 2005 Terry Strom
About The Author
Terry Strom is a business coach, author, and professional speaker in the areas of motivation, sales, and communication skills. He has spoken in front of over 250,000 sales professionals, and has been the Vice President of three corporations. You can contact him at www.optimizeyourcompany.com.