Welcome to the second in a series of four podcasts all about productivity! In the last episode, we talked about the secret weapon to your productive new lifestyle, which is all about getting clear. Clarity is so important when it comes to productivity because it helps drive the decisions you make on a daily basis of what actions you’re going to do to help you get closer to your goal.
In this episode, we are talking about goal setting. But I just want to share the universal truths about goal setting so that you can understand the overall process – making it less daunting when you’re going through the steps. That way you know exactly where you’ve been and where you need to go.
Stop, start, continue
First, let me start out with a quote. It’s by John Dewey and he says “we don’t learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on the experience.”
I think that this is such a critical step to goal setting that people do not follow. They just jumped into the “next best thing” without asking themselves where am I going? Where’s my growth – what has gone really well? And what are the things that I have accomplished? And even more importantly, what is the learning that has come from that growth?
What is something that you need to start doing or continue to do in order to get closer to where you want to do where you want to be? What’s holding you back from getting where it is that you want to be?
So when you can take that time to do that activity called Stop, Start, Continue about your last year or 90 days, however often you do your goal-setting, that’s going to help set you up for success going forward.
Reflect and recreate your big vision
We’ve reflected – we know what we need to Stop, Start, Continue. Now it’s time to go back and recreate that big vision that we have in our head. Here’s what’s going to happen every time that we do this process. It’s going to change. The big vision that you had 90 days ago or six months ago or a year ago, has probably evolved and is quite different today. And I give you full permission to keep that big vision being fluid. I’m sure there’s elements that are the same. But if it has changed, it’s probably because of some learning that you’ve had. Or you’ve realized that what you originally thought you wanted, is actually no longer in alignment with what it is that you really truly desire out of your company. Establishing that formal vision of what it is that you do and whom you will be serving is absolutely the beginning of this process. It’s the highest level of thinking where you get to outline the business model and decide what it is that you want to sell.
It is also a great time to establish your core values, understand what it is that you and your company will stand for. What are you all about? And then secondly, to also establish your mission. That’s the whole reason why you have this business, and you can clearly outline the impact that your business will have.
Re-evaluating your mission
I often get asked, Does the mission have to be larger than me?
My answer is twofold: Number one part of the mission will most likely be of a personal nature, it could be related to financial freedom or supporting your family or getting yourself set up for success later on. I think that’s a great place to start so that you know that personal ramifications of what it is that you need to do and make sure that it’s going to be serving you. There is a second step to that your business is greater than you. You are in the people business and your business is to help people with a problem they have. Therefore, there is a place for the mission to be beyond you as well. We absolutely want that big vision to support you, your family, your friends, and it also helps if the purpose of your business also extends beyond you. Because on those days where it’s rainy and you don’t really want to get out of bed, and it’s dark, and you’re in a cloud, and nothing seems to be going on, there has to be that underlying fire to fight for something greater than you. And so does the mission need to be greater than you partly, we really want it to so that there is such fulfillment in what it is that you’re building.
You know that fulfillment comes from two things: it comes from you being in a place of growth, where you’re growing and extending yourself beyond your current state. It also comes from a place of contribution, where you’re contributing to society or to people in a way that helps make the world a better place. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, it doesn’t matter how successful you’ve been. If you are not living in a place of fulfillment, especially with your company, then it’s just going to become work. And you and I both know that if your company is turned into work, you might as well go back and work for someone else. You will work way fewer hours and earn way more money per hour – it just removes a whole bunch of stress. So let’s make sure that the big vision of your company is really meaningful and in alignment with you and what you’re doing.
The SMART way to goal-setting!
Once we’ve got that big vision our next step then is to break it down into the yearly goals. And we make these goals real by writing them down. As long as a goal is still in your head. It is just abstract, it’s a thought. And the only way to make it real is to put it down on paper so that you can see it.
Now you’ve heard this before, but let’s just talk about it quickly. Your goals need to be SMART. SMART is an acronym, meaning they need to be specific. If you want to increase revenue, put down your revenue number. If you want to lose weight, put down how many pounds you want to lose. If you want to grow your community, say how many people you want to grow it by, we needed to be specific so that it’s not ambiguous. Ambiguity is not a business plan. We need Specific and Measurable. We want to be able to measure your goals so that we know whether you’ve hit them, whether you’ve exceeded them, or whether you didn’t quite get there. And then we can figure out what we need to do differently.
The A is actionable – we need the goals to be anchored in something that will result from the action. So for example, we all want to be well-liked. Other than putting out great content and just being a great person, that’s a really passive goal. When you say “I want to have a community of 1000 people who are following my every word,” all of a sudden that’s actionable because we know that we need to be putting out some pretty kick-ass content to get you that credibility and to be building the visibility with the people who you need to serve are Realistic. Oh boy, I know that there’s a problem.
When someone will say to me, “I want to run a million-dollar company in one year.”
And I say to them “Great! What was your revenue last year?”
“Oh, I made $20,000.”
Now, is it impossible to go from $20,000 in revenue to a million, it’s not impossible. You will always find examples of people who did those people who launched their company and then earned a million within the first year, or within the first three years. It’s not impossible, but it is unlikely. And so we want there to be a little bit of a realistic goal with a little bit of a reach. So if your revenue last year was 20,000, let’s get you up at 60 this year with a reach goal of 100. If your revenue was 100 last year, let’s get you up to 250 with a stretcher reach goal of over 300. So you can see that we’re not sitting idle. But the goals are very realistic in that it is very probable that we can hit them when you’re in a constant state of action.
The T stands for time-bound, we want to put a date on that sucker. So if you say I want to earn 100,000 in 2020, then we know that on December 31, 2020, we are going to look at your books because I know you’re keeping your books up to date. And we’ll be able to say “Yep, I hit my revenue goal of 100,000 by November 15.” That’s how timely we want these goals. So when you write them down, be SMART about them.
I think it’s important that we establish some vocabulary here going forward because we’re going to start getting into some Shelagh-isms.
A goal is a very clear measurable outcome. that you want to achieve this year, that is a yearly goal.
A milestone is what I refer to as a hurdle or a mountain, or a project that you need to overcome in order to achieve the goal. It’s a really broad statement without all the details and specifics, the details and specifics of how you’re going to achieve that goal, or how you’re going to get over that mountain of a milestone is through your power moves, and the power moves or the little actions that you take on a regular basis in order to achieve the milestone, which will help you achieve your goal.
Your 90-day sprint
Once we have a big vision, and we decide on your next yearly goal, then we want to stop again and do a little bit of a reflection. I choose to have you reflect each and every 90 days because 90 days is long enough for you to see some results but short enough that you’re not wasting your time if the results aren’t happening.
The only way to move forward with clarity is to take that time to reflect on what has been happening. And the only way to stay in that growth mindset is to be focusing on what the wins are. Because those small wins are what is going to motivate you to keep going. There’s nothing that kills the spirit faster than always looking at what has to still be done in order to get to where you want to be. It’s demoralizing. To find out the wins, we look at the lessons that you learn just like we did over the last year so that you can direct your focus for the next quarter by knowing exactly what to stop, start and continue. And so then we refocus on the 90-day goals. There are four quarters in a year, each 90 days long, which are going to get you to your yearly goal.
Once we have our 90 days I call it a 90-day sprint. Then we divide it up into three months. There are three months that are going to feed your 90 days. And in each month, when you can see your month at a glance, and you can see what’s coming up and what you have available. All of a sudden, it’s way easier to start identifying what milestones you’re going to tackle in which month. So when you layout your month, always start with the days that you are not going to be working.
Book yourself a “me day”
The other thing I double-dog dare you to do is to put on a day that you are taking all for yourself, have a “me day” seriously, cross it off, you’re not available that day. And it doesn’t mean you’re going to be mothering that day, or you’re going to be with your husband or whatever. Just take it for yourself and enjoy one day a month to you. So layout your month days when you’re not working, put on any conferences, networking events, maybe there’s a break in there and your kids are home so it’s not really going to be a power week. So you can see how many days and hours you actually have available to work in that month.
One more Shelagh-ism you need
Another Shelagh-ism is to include power days into your schedule. A power day is that day that you are going to just get stuff done. Maybe it’s a content creation day. Maybe it’s a prospecting day, but lay out the month and identify what the power days are going to be and what the outcomes are going to be. Now you can see an estimate of what is possible to achieve in the time that you have available to you.
One of my favourite quotes by Tony Robbins is that “we overestimate what we can accomplish in a year. But we underestimate what we can accomplish in five years.”
Going through this process of taking the yearly goal breaking it down into 90 days or quarters, taking those quarters and breaking them down into each of the months allows you to estimate more realistically what you can accomplish so that you can get to that five-year goal.
So once you see your month, then start identifying the milestones. Are there some projects that are going to go out? Are there some deals you’re going to close? What are the promos going to be this month Are you having a launch, lay it out so you can see it. Because of your last step then, in order to eliminate the chaos, it’s going to take some time to take that monthly view and break it down into the four weeks that come up in the month. It takes non-working time to plan and plot out your upcoming week. Try and make it a routine or a tradition.
Grab yourself a glass of wine, maybe listen to some good music, get quiet, clean your office so that you’ve got a really nice space to work and go get yourself some really cool markers or stickers so that you can make this process more fun and take the time to plan out your upcoming week. On that week, put in the must do’s and the deliverables. If you’re a coach, put in your coaching hours write out who your coaches so that you can see on what days you have available to be making these power moves to work on your business to get you to your end goal.
Now, here’s the thing. This system that I just walked you through is just that it is a system based on the universal truths of successful goal setting. I have studied goal setting for years, and every single planner I’ve looked at or followed or learned from every guru who’s going to help you get stuff done. it all falls down to this universal truth of the flow. The universal truth follows this system. It starts with a big goal. We break that big goal into yearly goals. We take the yearly goals and divide them into quarterly goals. The quarterly goals then get broken down into monthly goals, which then gets broken down into weekly and daily goals. I have created a planner which supports this process from beginning to end. It’s called Productive.
Productive is that all in one business system that I’ve just walked you through, it is based on the universal truths of goal planning, and it is a tried and true tested system that is anchored in a productivity planner. So if you would like to have a look, go to shelaghcummins.com/productive – it would be an honour to work with you through your productivity and to shift you from chaos to shift you away. From overwhelm, and to shift you into strategic and actionable items that you are doing each and every day so that you are finally achieving the goals that you’ve set up for yourself.
If you know somebody who needs to hear this episode, please share this episode with them. Our goal is to help entrepreneurial women remove busy and chaos as a badge of honour and shift to being productive to use the time they have available wisely so that they’re finally meeting the goals that they layout so they can run a profitable and successful business.
Resources From This Episode
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