In five, ten or fifteen years time, what do hope to be doing with your life? What do you see yourself doing? Where will you be living? How will you be earning your living? How much money do you expect to be making? Or more importantly, how would you like your life to be like?
Now take a look into the past. Look back five years ago. Is where you are now where you thought you would be five years ago? Are you where you wanted to be? If you’re on track, congratulations. You’ve probably set goals and taken the required steps to get to where you wanted to be now. On the other hand, if life hasn’t turned out the way you dreamed or hoped it would so far, all is not lost.
The secret to success is not only setting goals, but setting the right goals. It may be impossible to know exactly what life is going to be like in the future, which is why goals need to be flexible, but if you have an idea of how you want your life to be like in the future, you will have a better chance of achieving it. This applies to your personal life as well as your business.
Goals Aren’t Enough
It’s not enough to just set goals like “I want to be rich” and “own my own place.” Whilst these are worthy goals, they’re not specific enough. What needs do you want met in the future? When you dream of being rich, how rich is that? Is that Donald Trump rich? Or is it rich enough to never have to worry about paying bills and meeting the mortgage and putting your children through college? And as for owning your own place, is that an apartment in a swanky inner city suburb, or is it a house in the suburbs? Is it of mansion proportions? Or are you dreaming of something homely and modest?
You need to know exactly what you want so you can take the right steps now toward reaching those specific goals. This is even more crucial when setting goals for your business. You need something specific to aim for. A goal like “I want to be successful” is too wishy-washy to be of much value. How successful do you want to be? What constitutes business success for you?
Do you want a string of offices dotted around the globe with you at the helm? Or is success for you one single business in a sophisticated high-rise office building with a dedicated team of employees? Or are you a solo-preneur still doing your own thing and making millions? Or is your dream for a smaller, family type business? These business ideas are so vastly different, you can see that an obscure goal like “I want to be successful” does not give you a clear destination to aim for.
Of course, you have to know what you really want in order to pick the right goal specifics. You shouldn’t be afraid to set goals now for five or ten years down the track, because these are not set in stone and as your life changes and maybe your interests and dreams, so can your goals. But with goals, at least you are moving forward towards something that is worthwhile. You should keep tweaking your goals as you progress to ensure your goals still match your needs.
For example, maybe you are single now and you see yourself as a successful business owner of a popular and profitable advertising agency. You have a corner office, you wear designer labels and drive a Porsche. You set goals to achieve this and you are well on your way when suddenly you are struck by Cupid’s arrow and you find your dreams changing. You get married and start a family. Suddenly the high rise corner office and the Porsche and the long hours and lifestyle you used to live are no longer appropriate and have lost their appeal.
Get Ready to Roll
Time to tweak your goals! What needs now do your goals need to address? Maybe now you want to live in the country and change the Porsche for a family van. Maybe you now want to achieve success as a copy writer working from home? Or maybe you want a complete change and do something else. Whatever you would like to be doing in the future, is what you should start planning for now, knowing that you can change and tweak your goals as you go so they always match your needs.
Determining the right goals is dependent on your values – what is important to you in life. It’s really as simple as that. Then knowing what these values are, you will be able to determine the right goals and know the right steps to take to proceed toward achieving them.
Time to Focus
Remember, be specific. Do you value so much money that you can live a champagne lifestyle, or do you want enough to live comfortably, meeting all your financial obligations without stress? There is a difference and the amount of effort and work involved will also be different. Do you want to own your own home and if so what type of home? How much money will it cost? Do you want private education for your children? Do you expect your partner to work or will they be stay-at-home and let you be the bread winner?
It is much easier to set goals when you know exactly what you want based on your true desires and values and it is so much easier to know which next steps to take when you have specific “destinations” in sight.
Business mentor Terri Levine specializes in helping entrepreneur-owned businesses achieve record-breaking growth. Based in Philadelphia, Terri is founder and CEO of Comprehensive Coaching U, Inc., The Professional’s Coach Training Program. She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CNBC and MSNBC, and in more than 1,500 publications. She is the best-selling author of Sell Without Selling, Coaching Is for Everyone and Stop Managing Start Coaching. Learn more at http://www.TerriLevine.com. Contact Terri at [email protected]