Beyond SMART: Goal Setting for Entrepreneurs
If there is one thing we know about goals, they have to be SMART, right?
After all, that is what we have been told for years. The only thing that matters is that your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
While that looks great on paper—and clearly it is easy to remember—it does not go far enough for those who want to achieve big things.
Think about it.
Do you want to be stuck with “attainable” and “realistic” goals when what you really dream about is a 3-day workweek, frequent international travel, and enough money to fund a mission trip (or two or three). Seems pretty clear that those safe, smart goals are not going to get you there.
In fact, they might even do worse than simply “not get you there.” They may actively hold you back.
Consider what happens when you set an “attainable” goal of earning 10% more than you did last year. You might work 10% more. You might spend 10% more on ads or product creation. You might even reach out to 10% more potential clients.
And you will likely earn about 10% more.
“Not bad!” you say. After all, that was your goal.
But did that 10% goal inspire you to work harder? Or did it create a subconscious ceiling on your earning potential that you’re unable to break through?
Rather than focusing on goals that are attainable and realistic, savvy entrepreneurs know that the key to incredible success lies in creating lofty goals that feel out of reach—maybe even UN-attainable.
They do not strive to earn 10% more than last year. They want 50% or even 100% more. They stretch themselves. They find new—and better—ways to do things, so they don’t have to work twice as hard, but they remain open to the possibility of doing so—at least in the short term—when it’s necessary.
Of course, you cannot simply declare crazy goals and expect the universe to hand them to you. And that is exactly why putting aside those smart goals is so…smart. When you shun the attainable in favor of the “holy cow, how will I ever do THAT?” goal, you push yourself beyond those self-imposed limits and reach for the stars.
Sure, you might not double your income, but you are almost guaranteed to do better than a mere 10% increase. So, push your boundaries. Set big, audacious goals. Even if you fail, you will be much further ahead than those smart goals would leave you.
I look forward to reading what some of your big hairy audacious goals are below in the comments, Coach Deb
What do super-successful service experts, coaches of all sorts, and small business owners all have in common?
It’s not experience.
It’s not extraordinary skills.
It’s not even a powerful drive.
Although all of these things can definitely help your business grow, they’re not a prerequisite for success. After all, no one is born with experience or skills, and plenty of successful people lack drive.
The one thing that does make a difference, though, is your “why.”
Why did you decide to become a personal trainer, a massage therapist, a professional speaker, or a life coach?
Why do you spend too many hours in front of your computer every week?
Why do you stay up too late and get up too early, just so you can work on growing your business?
The “why” is what ultimately drives us to success, but here’s the thing: it’s different for everyone. Your why is not my why, and my why is not her why. It’s a deeply personal choice that can have great meaning…or not.
For example, a survivor of domestic abuse might happily spend 60 or 70 hours each and every week mentoring other victims of abuse, or counseling couples on how to break the cycle. His or her big why is a strong desire to prevent other men and women from suffering in the same way he or she did.
A mother of small children may be saddened at the thought of sending her kids to daycare just so she can go to work to (barely) pay for it. Her big why is a drive to spend as much time with her kids as she can, while still supporting her family.
A young, fresh out of school entrepreneur might resist taking the same path her parents took, working for a corporation for 40 years, only to retire and find themselves with barely enough to live on. Instead, she dreams of having the income (and the time) to see the world while she’s still young enough to enjoy it.
So what’s your big “why”? It might be the freedom to travel, the option to spend time with your family, the ability to take weeks off at a time to care for a sick family member, or even to earn enough money to support a charity that’s close to your heart.
Whatever it is, your “why” is the driving force behind every action you take. When you’re deciding whether or not to take on a new client, ask yourself if it’s aligned with your “why.” When you’re setting goals for the year, ask yourself if those goals are moving you closer or further from your big why. Thinking of branching out into a new business venture? Make sure it’s in alignment with your big why, and success is suddenly much more attainable.
I look forward to hearing what your WHY is. Please leave a comment below with your why. Let's all inspire each other!!
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