This time of year is the recommended lead time to start working on 2018 goals and the marketing plan to fulfill on them. You can read the blog here on the steps to create the goals and plan. However, what I’d like to focus on today is what it takes to make those goals and plan a reality. Why? As Robert Burns said, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
First, it’s important to start with what we’re committed to, not just in business, but in our personal and family life. Start with your 3 core goals, such as: gross revenue in business and personal financial goals, time with your family, and community contribution and relationships. For our example, let’s say we want to accomplish the following: gross $1.5M; work no more than 40 hours per week; spend evenings and 1 weekend day with family; and overall health, well-being and physical fitness. We layout an intricate and well-thought out plan on how to get from A to Z, but as we start taking action on that plan, a myriad of challenges and new opportunities come our way. Most of these “opportunities” are what we call “shiny balls,” or the shiny and new that easily robs our focus on what we said was most important to us (just window dressing). Pretty soon, we’re making decisions daily based on the circumstances and our feelings in the present moment, rather than using the compass of our goals to aid us in that decision-making. Before we know it, our goals were a thing of the past, our plan is gathering dust in a corner, and we start making excuses and discounting them because, “they were not realistic.”
However, that’s far from reality. Part of the affliction we face is any combination of the following factors:
- We were never committed to our goals to begin with
- We don’t stop long enough to think about the “hidden intentions” that sabotage our plan
- We don’t take control of our time and our days
- We don’t take the time to balance and rebalance the priorities of our life and business
In short, we say “yes” too often or we take too long to decide. Our goals are not always created to be black & white and we’re not always 100% present during each activity, interaction, conversation, etc. These are the keys to effectively using our commitments and goals as a barometer for decision-making and to achieving them. They provide us with awareness and empower us to put aside the activities that may cause inefficiencies and the shiny balls we chase that cause us to lose focus on what’s most important to us.
When writing out goals and commitments, the following is the process we use that will empower you to take action, maintain steady pace of growth and accomplishment, and continue that process. The ultimate success being defined by the freedoms you can achieve in life, such as time, purpose, financial, etc. This is not a one-time quick fix to the results you seek, instead it’s a journey, not a destination. It’s a way of life, a daily approach to living and it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It requires intention, conscious sustained discipline and willpower, focus and attention.
Let’s use a universal goal as an example for the goal setting/creation process – “I want to lose weight!” That may be a commitment but it’s also low man (or woman) on the totem pole until we define it and put some structure around it. First, list out all the reasons that goal is important to you and how you would feel when it’s accomplished. Don’t hold back!! Then it’s time to get specific – how many pounds and by when?
Second, what will it take? Eat less, exercise more. We’re all familiar with the importance of pulling together a meal plan and coming up with an exercise strategy, however, where the rubber meets the road is how well we execute. And, that all has to do with identifying our “hidden intentions.” This actually takes some self-reflection – what are the things likely to get in the way and what is it going to cost us? For example, we may have to give up that glass of wine or slice of cake at the wedding we’re attending in a couple weeks. Having the awareness and expecting the “hidden intention” to show up to derail us allows us to plan for that to show up and establish a clear black/white strategy to manage those roadblocks – it’s our compass. While we’re “counting the costs” of what we have to give up, these are not intended to be sacrifices, but rather empower us.
Next, we have to manage our time and our days. This means blocking our calendar and prioritizing what we said was most important. That may include setting a strict time schedule, such as getting up at 5am to hit the morning spin class or setting a time on weekends to meal plan our lunches/dinners for the week so we’re not making impulse decisions. In the office, this means if we want to make $1.5M, we identify the number of consultations we need to reach our goal AND create a plan by time blocking our calendar for that number of consultations each week. We guard our calendar like a watch dog and practice saying “no” to meetings, opportunities, requests, etc. that will take the place of a consultation and prevent us from reaching our goals. And when we don’t identify all the “hidden intentions” in advance that derail our plan, it means having the ability to flex and rise to the occasion in the moment to put a plan in place to diminish those.
Remember that vague promises never to lead to concrete results. We must have clear actions and steps to take, along with discipline, the ability to detect when we’re stopped and the grit to reverse course and get back on the path that leads us to our real commitments in life and in business. One thing, we can start to practice is running every decision through our compass or filter and identifying if it gets us closer to our commitments. If the answer is “no,” then we have a clear answer. If the answer is “maybe,” consider that perhaps your hidden intentions have not yet been well defined and ask for some coaching to get clear if it’s time to rebalance your priorities or whether it’s a “shiny ball” you’re chasing.
Then practice your muscle saying “no” to those things that don’t further your commitments. Here is a list of 15 ways to say “no.” And as for that 2018 goal and that marketing plan, get started today and be thorough in your plan and analysis. Get clear on why those goals are important to you and how they would further the pursuits of your life’s purpose. Share those with others and build in some accountability.
- No, but thank you for asking!
- Thanks, but let me get back to you.
- Sorry, not now, but maybe next time.
- I simply just cannot say yes.
- Thank you, but I am not the right person to be asking. Let me make some suggestions
- Let me check a few things, but it would be best to plan on working without me.
- Before I can say yes, I would have to be very clear about what is expected.
- I’m sorry, I won’t be able to help–but let me help you find someone who can.
- I can’t take on the whole task, but maybe I can help you with part of what you need.
- I seriously would love to help but I am unable to at this time.
- I’m sorry but there is already too much on my plate.
- Thank you for thinking of me, but unfortunately I will have to pass.
- I am not taking on any new commitments right now.
- I’m so sorry; I just cannot make it work.
- I wish I could help, but at this moment I just can’t.
Practice Leadership Coach
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128