“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” – Diana Hunt
The next time you’re on an airplane, think about this: the average flight is only on the actual, exact charted course to its destination about 5% of the time. The other 95% of that time is spent making minute readjustments to the flight plan due to the effects of wind, air pressure, and speed variations.
Ninety-five percent of the time you’re in the air, the plane is off course, yet, somehow is still reaches its destination!
That’s because the pilot knows where he’s headed, and with that firm goal in mind, can recognize the slightest deviation in course and correct for it. Having a goal is the difference between reaching his destination, and getting lost (or worse) somewhere along the way.
Did you know that less than 5% of adults write out their life goals?
95% of the population has no concrete means of recognizing when their dreams and ambitions are blown off course, and so no way to correct for it. Is it any wonder that so many people of our generation seem to wander from one fad to the next? There always seems to be a better job, a better philosophy, a better diet, and most people grab on to these like a life raft in heavy seas, having only a vague idea of where they are, and simply trying to survive the next wave.
So, what’s the secret? Why do some people achieve great success, both personally and professionally, while others don’t? (And, equally important, why do some of those who find great success seem unable to keep hold of it?)
Hold that thought.
Here’s another question…do you know what Albert Einstein, Vince Lombardi, Walt Disney, and Oprah Winfrey all have in common?
You guessed it! Each of them, and many other highly successful people, believe in the absolute necessity of setting goals to achieve their dreams. When asked what her “secret to success” was, Winfrey replied, “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
As a potential, newly launched, or even an experienced small business, in direct sales, or any business, it’s equally important not only to have goals, but also to write them down and use them to constantly monitor your course. Here are three questions I’ve asked myself, and my candid responses:
1. What are my long-term goals, and why are they important to me?
2. Is what I’m doing, or have done in the past (as a career outside of this venture) likely to meet these goals?
3. Is there sufficient evidence that this business can help me meet these goals?
Let’s take a look…
1. WHAT ARE MY LONG TERM GOALS?
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
My long term goals are to a) have the financial stability to care for my family for the rest of my (our) lives, b) be in a position, both financially and with my personal availability, to be an active and involved partner is raising my daughter, and c) help others, both personally and in ministry, without negatively impacting goals A & B. Lastly (d), I want to do all of the above in a lifestyle that is both fun and emotionally rewarding.
Three recognizable steps to meeting these goals would be:
- To purchase and own (debt-free) a home of sufficient size to raise my family, with room to use for ministry (i.e: foster care, short-term housing ministry, home group church meetings, etc) and of appreciable value to maintain as an asset towards our future retirement.
- To maintain our current debt-free status, while having sufficient savings to cover reasonable emergencies out-of-pocket, and assist in both my child’s education and personal business success. Most importantly, to do all of this while working from home and being available to my wife and daughter.
- To have available cash resources to contribute significantly to my church, to missions, and to any other ministry opportunity we feel led to support.
So, why so specific?
Remember, “I want to be rich” is not a goal, it’s a dream. Wanting to have $10,000 in savings in two years, with incremental steps along the way, is a goal.
2. WILL MY CURRENT, OR PAST EXPERINECES MEET MY GOALS?
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” – Maya Angelou
The painful truth…it’s very doubtful that my current career will meet these goals. As a freelance writer, who loves his job, I believe that I possess the skills and talent required to be successful. However, this career is fraught with “possibility and potential” but very few concrete means of projecting my long-term success.
There’s a lot of luck involved in freelance writing. I could find the winning ticket and make it big, or I could spend the rest of my life scratching one-dollar winners and barely breaking even. Many of the keys to success in this industry are beyond my control. A stable, successful business, outside of my writing, would insure my ability to continue to pursue this goal without the stress that comes with the possibility of never making it “big”.
As for my previous career (10 years) as a marketing representative, and team lead for a major technology corporation, the answer is an absolute “no.” Without giving up goals b, c, and d, and focusing all of my time and energy on furthering my education and “climbing the corporate ladder,” even goal “a” would be completely unrealistic.
3. IS THERE EVIDENCE THAT I CAN ACHIEVE THESE GOALS WITH MY NEW BUSINESS?
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” – Dr. Carl Sagan
As a brand-new business owner, of a direct selling business, there is a leap of faith required on my part, true.
However, there are several concrete factors involved that suggest that this is a business that can assist me in achieving all of my written goals.
The first is the successful, documented business history of the company I’m representing, the second is a clear, step-by-step plan, of realistic goals, that have been worked and achieved by many. Lastly, there are several successful business-persons, of my personal acquaintance, that have studied the business model and not only deemed it sound, but have invested their own time, money, and future financial success in becoming a part of it.
Not to mention that these people are willing to mentor and assist me in achieving success, and are modeling and experiencing that success currently. I mean c’mon, would you pass up the opportunity to take free-throw lessons from Michael Jordon?
So, go get a pencil and a notepad, and ask yourself three quesions…what are my long-term goals, am I currently on course to achieve them, and, if not, can I do so by entering into (and ingaging fully) in this new business?
Know your destination, adjust when necessary, and stay on course for your dreams.
“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Book of the day:
Our “Book of the day” recommendations, come from our own personal library, and every title is one that we have read, often several times, and consider valuable enough to share with our readers.
The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be.
And so one day, desperate to land a key sale at the end of a bad quarter, he seeks advice from the enigmatic Pindar, a legendary consultant referred to by his many devotees simply as the Chairman.
Over the next week, Pindar introduces Joe to a series of “go-givers:” a restaurateur, a CEO, a financial adviser, a real estate broker, and the “Connector,” who brought them all together. Pindar’s friends share with Joe the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success and teach him how to open himself up to the power of giving.
Joe learns that changing his focus from getting to giving—putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives—ultimately leads to unexpected returns.