Will this be your lucky year?
It’s that time of year. You are setting goals, making resolutions, and hoping that some of them will actually happen this time around.
January is always filled with optimism. I know in my heart that this year is going to be different – and better – than the last. I am ready and invested in doing something big but by early February life will probably take over and distract me with opportunities and problems again.
Not this time! I will not let it happen.
But why does it happen?
A recent study in the Harvard Business Review identified the two critical factors of success for an entrepreneur -- to be focused and to have tenacity.
Focus! There it is. The reason for the sad state of my goals each and every year.
When I think of focus another F word comes to mind. Like me, focus does not come naturally to most entrepreneurs.
Peter Drucker (in my opinion the greatest management thought leader of the last century) wrote about the challenge of setting goals each year. Drucker saw the grim reality of missed opportunity and tense disappointment that accompanied the discussion of past goals. He noted that, firstly, we set goals without any real grounding in reality. The targets we use are based more on what we hoped for rather than on sound data and judgment. Yet, we still trudge our way toward something inherently impossible and then feel bad about our abilities if we don’t achieve it.
And then there is the incredible stress of working toward something, even with passion and perseverance, that deep down we know is unrealistic. We create our own circumstances of stress and strain and it affects those around us as well.
Drucker also showed that less than four per cent of people actually go back and assess their progress towards the goals they set for themselves. It’s almost like we don’t want to know. We keep repeating the pattern of setting unrealistic goals and not achieving them each year, blaming ourselves for the misses. Not this year!
So how do we help ourselves be the most intentional and mindful when focusing our thoughts, feelings, and actions on the right things?
Like I said – this year is going to be different. There is a simple, focused approach which I have found to be excellent at focusing my attention on what is truly important in order to accomplish what I set out to do.
First, set goals that are based in reality and important to success. This in itself is a hugely positive change.
Next, start to see where you are with real numbers. Study what happened in the past so that you’ll have an honest future perspective. This is the beginning of the new journey.
Look at where you are and where you want to be. Think about the one thing – just a single result – that would be the most important accomplishment for your business this year. What one outcome would make all the difference to you? This is the most important thing and your first goal.
For me, I want to monetize the research and writing work I love to do. To make that happen, the most important thing is to package, publish and promote the results of my research to the right audiences.
Next, the second goal is based on what would give you an advantage to achieve the win. What is the catalyst for getting to your most important thing? What one opportunity would leverage your ability to succeed? This is the multiplier goal.
In my case the second goal is to sign five partner companies to invest in the business, to develop the product I have envisioned from the research and writing work. These partners will multiply my ability to succeed in a number of ways and would make life positively different.
Lastly, the third goal is to remove the barriers. Think about what limits your ability to achieve success. What will get in your way to accomplishing your most important thing? This is the limiting factor and you need a goal around how to resolve this issue.
Back to my situation, the limitation for me is to communicate the opportunity in a meaningful, memorable and compelling way. I am too close to the heat and say too much, often missing the audience. I need help putting my vision into words and images that will resonate with my audiences from partners to clients.
My third goal is to professionally package the opportunity to convert interest to intent.
For 2017 to be your best year ever you need to focus on just three goals that will accomplish what is most important to you. And, yes, the goals need to be balanced and grounded in reality.
What is your win? To achieve that, what is the most important thing you need to do, what will be the catalyst for your success, and what will resolve the limiting factor to your progress.
It is going to be a great year ahead for me. I am going to end 2017 having monetized the work I love into a sustainable and profitable business by publishing and promoting my research to the right audiences by packaging it in a meaningful, memorable, and compelling opportunity that converts five key partners to work with me to develop and commercialize the product.
You can have an incredible year in 2017 by focusing on the three most important goals and tenaciously working to achieve them.
Have a great year ahead!