Recently I offered a “simple plan” to double your business this year. But ultimately, no plans are simple. They are always more complex than they seem.
And after all, as one blog commenter remarked, “How many consultants can actually HANDLE 17 to 19 new clients a year? I certainly can’t.” Quite right. Then that’s not the plan for you.
The bigger question is “What do I really want and how can I create a plan that works for me?” And just as importantly, “How can I create goals and plans that I’ll actually implement?”
These days, I’m reading a lot of Napoleon Hill. I read a chapter each day of “Think and Grow Rich” and have also dipped into his magnum opus: “The Law of Success.”
Hill, who is the father of every success and motivation book or program since the 1920’s, with few exceptions, comes back to the idea of goals and plans over and over in his writing. These ideas are mentioned in virtually every chapter and are at the very core of his teachings.
Beyond the Formula
Most of us think we know how to set goals. My observation is that virtually nobody knows how. Perhaps you’re familiar with the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting formula. Goals should be:
Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic and Time Specific
This formula is useful, but not much. Yes, you need all of these elements but you need more, a lot more, and that’s what few understand. This formula doesn’t propel you towards your goals.
Making Your Goals Real
For a goal to be real, it needs to become a deep desire, a passion, almost an obsession. It needs to be something you think about all the time, work on a little bit every day, and something that is in total alignment with your larger purpose and values.
So when people say they’d like to double their income, the goals may fit the S.M.A.R.T. formula, but they’re as about exciting as a dead fish. The question is, how to you magnify your desire and passion for a goal?
There’s no such thing as a perfect formula for achieving big goals, but I will share some of the things I’ve done that really make a difference.
1. First of all, your goals must be authentic. You must have a genuine reason behind every goal. If you want to make more money what do you want to do with it? You need to be in touch with your values, your passions, what is essential at your very core. What do you want to accomplish before you die and why? If there is little emotion to your goals they will never catch fire.
2. I notice the only goals that really motivate me are big, almost impossible goals. Several years ago I had the goal to make $25K per month. And at the time, in the mid 90’s, I think I was making less than $5K/mo. These day’s I’m surprised when I don’t make $25K each month.
The goal was big, scary, impossible. But I really wanted it. Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t have interim goals and benchmarks. And it took me quite some time to figure out how to do it, but I never lost sight of that goal.
3. I think about the goal from every side, from every angle. And I write a lot. I’ve filled notebooks with ideas related to my goals. And the more I write, the clearer the goal becomes and the plans to achieve that goal start to pop into my head. You’re going to have more inspirations if you are actively engaged in the goal.
4. Of course, the biggest impediment to goals are the thoughts that say we can’t achieve them. Before I’d think of a big goal and then shoot it down immediately. Once I started using Byron Katie’s work several years ago and applied her process to my limiting thoughts and beliefs, big goals came more naturally. Now I think about a goal and get excited about the possibilities much faster with less struggle and resistance.
5. I talk to others who are most likely to support me achieve my goals. It’s a big mistake sharing your big goals with people who will poke holes in them or react indifferently. Goals need to be cultivated and nurtured. Another big idea of Hill’s is to work with a mastermind group who can give you support, encouragement, ideas and resources to achieve your goals. I’ve been in many mastermind groups and they make a huge difference.
6. I read and absorb the ideas of others who have achieved similar goals. I read a lot of books and articles, attend workshops and sometimes get professional support. There is a vast library of success literature but nothing better, in my opinion, than Hill’s body of work. I find these ideas get me thinking in new and exciting directions.
Setting goals is much more than a mechanical process. That’s the barest of foundations. If you want to achieve big goals, you need to get your mind vibrating at the level necessary to actively and enthusiastically take the actions towards those goals.
The More Clients Bottom Line: For the most part, big things get done by people with a big purpose, big vision and big goals. And these all need to be constantly nurtured. You need to create the conditions, the atmosphere, the support structures, and the mindset where big goals are embraced fully. Only then do you have a chance of making these goals real.
By Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing. Please visit Robert’s web site at www.actionplan.com for additional marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional service businesses.