If you're looking back on 2016 and you're not where you'd hoped, ask yourself this question,
Did you set crappy goals?
Or, did you not set any goals at all? (Which is kind of the same as setting a crappy one).
I've been thinking a lot recently on how our life and our business is a direct reflection of how we spend our time. If we are not making enough money it's usually because we didn't put enough focus or emphasis on this area.
This doesn't mean we weren't busy. In fact, we are usually incredibly busy. But we weren't incredibly busy working on the things that directly impacted an area in our life where change would actually make a huge difference for us.
One way that we lead ourselves into this path is by setting a vague goal. Something like, "be healthier" "Make more money," Or "Be more balanced."
If these sound like your goals, it's not really a surprise that you aren't feeling the affects of them:
- You ate some kale salad and drank enough water last week, does this mean you are healthier now?
- You have more money in your savings account than you had before, and you made $5,000 more this year than you did last year, does that mean you achieved your goal to make more money?
- You did yoga twice last month and cooked some meals at home. So apparently you achieved your goal of "balance." Check!
See what I mean? You did technically achieve those goals, but it depends on what your definition of success was. And the outcomes that were achieved aren't impactful to life in general.
I have to admit, I have a hard time with goals. And for a long time I couldn't figure out why. I am an achievement oriented person after all. I like to "do all the things."
It wasn't until this week when I realized that I am doing it wrong.
Yep, I have been doing goals wrong.
I'd look around me and see 10 things I wanted to improve, and decide to work on all 10. So of course it was only a matter of time before I was run ragged. Sort of like a farmer who has a field full of crops and wants to tend to all of them, so they water and nurture each one individually and collapse somewhere between row 7 and 8.
Really what this farmer needs to do is figure out what all the plants need and work on the one thing to achieve that. So instead of tending to each plant, I need to create an irrigation system.
I needed to identity one, maybe two things to work on that would create a major impact on the other things and devote all my attention to working on those things. And chunk it into steps.
That is the second thing I do is sprint up the entire mountain all at once, instead of taking it one leg at a time.
It's no wonder I am so tired!
So now I need to pause and identify the one thing that I need to work on that will fix all (or a majority) of the 10 things I want to fix.
In the case of my life and business it all boils down to driving more sales and revenue. But, with the caveat of better customers, the right kind of sales, and creating new financial frameworks to manage cash flow so the hard earned money I do make is allocated and used wisely.
It's not going to be easy, but it won't be complicated. Because rather than try to do all the things at once, I'll chunk this into a couple critical tasks to accomplish each week. Here's an example of how my week looks, this framework is a work in progress for me! Use it as a starting point and guide.
In 2015 and 2016 my business grew with sales, in 2017 and 2018 my goal is to get it to thrive.
Your Action Steps:
1) When you think of all the things that you'd like to "fix" or address. Ask yourself "why" this is happening. Keep asking yourself "why" until you get to the root cause. Repeat this over all the things you feel you need to address.
2) Now what is the one thing that if you fixed once and for all, it would in turn fix all the other problems?
(For example, maybe you want to feel more balanced in your day to day life. Some people might thing they need to work less hours, so they get a planner to help them be more organized in their day. When in reality, they are working so much to triage issues that are coming up as a result of lack of resources. The lack of resources is due to an inability to afford the resources needed. So the issue is actually one of cash. Either cash flow management or generating more sales. So if you address the root issue, the resources can be afforded, the need to triage all the problems goes away, and you in turn are now working less hours. If you have another goal to take a vacation, or pay off debt, but you aren't sure you can afford it. Then this root cause still applies and it's a goal worth focusing on, because it will help you achieve all 3 of these things and create a measurable impact on your life).
3) Think about the major tasks that you can do that will help you achieve this goal and write them all down. Try and get 15-20 tasks listed.
It can be everything from "check expenses to make sure we're not getting overcharged or overpaying for anything" to "call existing customers and get some new referrals" or "check analytics to make sure our website is converting leads properly."
4) Now, prioritize the list in order of biggest impact, biggest to smallest.
5) Now, delete the bottom half of the list. What remains should be the 7-10 most impactful tasks that you can do to achieve your goal.
6) Go to your calendar (or planner) and schedule time each week to address 2-3 of the tasks.
Give yourself a two-ish week period to work on the task. Then when it's completed add the next two until you have gone through the entire list. At this point you should be seeing measurable progress toward achieving your goal.
Warning! Don't fall into the trap of convincing yourself you need additional knowledge, a book, a class or something else in order to achieve the task. If you are truly missing a key component you need to accomplish it, figure out what the one thing you need to learn or supplement is, and the quickest, most efficient way to get it. Sometimes when I need to quickly learn something I listen to an audio book or a series of podcasts on the topic. I might have coffee or lunch with a friend who has done it before.