Welcome to the unofficial start of autumn! This is my favorite time of year – the beautiful colors in nature, cool crisp weather, and pumpkin bread! Although I’d rather be switching out my wardrobe to comfy sweaters and boots this week (except it’s near 90F in Chicago), I decided it was time to look ahead to 2017 and start with some business goal setting.
Being the logical and structured person I am, I opened up an Excel spreadsheet and started to put together some numbers. I took a realistic swipe at my intentions and was quite pleased with the results. The numbers worked out to support my business and personal goals. But the numbers alone didn’t feel right.
The standard wisdom for achieving any goals that they should be SMART: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Driven. This framework is helpful in curing the common pitfalls of goal setting – irrelevance and ambiguity. However, this structure does nothing to capture motivation and vision.
Quite frankly, it feels clunky and as if something critical is missing.
When I work with clients, and on my own business, I utilize a slightly different approach to goal setting and execution. Vision and desire are equally important in growth and business building. Only focusing on outcomes using a highly structured goal setting approach can leave you discouraged.
Not everything is under your control. For example, if you set a SMART goal to book 5 speaking gigs every month, you would meet the criteria for a SMART goal. However, to achieve the goal you are also at the mercy of meeting planners and conference organizers who will accept your proposal or even have room in their schedule to book you.
You could easily spend a huge chunk of time each month taking action to get booked and end up empty-handed or with less than 5 gigs. Does that mean you failed? Not necessarily. It does mean you might need to adjust something in your approach.
One potential problem with SMART goals is the fact they are outcome-based. If you took a look at your actions to achieve a goal, you might not be as discouraged as if you only looked at the results. This is one reason why goal setting fails for many. You become obsessed with achieving the goal and miss out on the process.
Process is equally important.
When you can assess and adjust based on measured data of what is or isn’t working, you will ultimately get closer to achieving the goal. However, if you give up at the first sight of not achieving the goal as defined, you miss out on all the growth you are meant to gain.
This is why I am a proponent of also creating visionary goals. What is a visionary goal? A goal with passion and emotion. An aspiration to achieve. Adding visionary goals to your business builds momentum and motivation. It keeps you focused on the “WHY” you are doing the work you choose to do. It connects your actions with your intention and values.
All the structured goals go out the window when you forget the “WHY.” Focusing only on the SMART goals can leave you disheartened and unhappy. The problem is you are putting off your happiness and success until you reach a specific milestone.
Instead, commit to your process and enjoy the journey. Remain focused on the motivation and passion that drives you toward excellence each and every day.
You will still achieve all those goals. The road you travel may be different than your initial roadmap. But when you stay with your intention, your inspired actions will keep you moving forward to achieve what you set out to accomplish.
Are you struggling with creating a structure that works for you? Let’s have a conversation! Apply for a Complimentary Discovery Session so that we can understand what’s getting in your way and determine your best next move.