-- EMPLOYEE RESOURCES: ENTREPRENEURSHIP --

Powerful Goal Setting

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In The Beginning

And the journey begins. You just started Day 1 of an entirely new life. Gone are the days of waking up without a purpose, aimlessly completing tasks, letting others fall by the wayside, and slowly losing sight of all the dreams you hoped to accomplish. Whether you are on the edge of accomplishing everything you ever dreamed of or you have never taken the time to figure out what it is you want, this is for you. This comprehensive journey lays out everything you need to know in order to create a successful entrepreneurial venture. Your new life starts today, let’s get started.

A Path To Follow

There is no better place to start your own entrepreneurial journey than with your vision. Vision is what gets you to where you want to go, it’s what helps you chart your course, and it helps you begin to grasp the future that you are on your way to achieving. Without vision, you have nothing. Think of your life in terms of a road trip, and your final destination point is your biggest life goal. Now imagine for a second that you left the house for a 1,500-mile road trip without a plan. You just start driving with no direction and no purpose, choosing to take the first road you drive upon. Now let me ask, what are the chances you make it to your final destination 1,500 miles away?

The answer: 0%. You wouldn’t make it to your destination if it was 10 miles away from your house, let alone 100, 500, or 1,000. Setting a path for your life is no different. You have to know where your endpoint is (ultimate goal), what cities you are going to hit along the way (smaller goals), and where and how often you are going to stop (how are you going to achieve each goal), before even beginning down the path. That’s what this vision and goal setting is all about. We’re going to touch on two of the most important building blocks for creating a successful business and a successful life: having a vision and setting goals to achieve that vision.

Creating a Vision

To start, set your sights HIGH. This doesn’t and shouldn’t apply to a single area of your life, this should apply to all areas of your life. The saying “aim for the stars so if you fall you land on the clouds” has true meaning behind it. If you’re reaching for the stars and you end up failing, you will still be leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else setting “reasonable and comfortable” goals. When you set your goals, you should look at them and say, “how the f*%# am I going to get there?!?!” – those are the goals that give you the life of your dreams and that’s where we want you to go. If you want to achieve big, you need to dream big, and that is step one of achieving anything in your roadmap to success.

There are plenty of reasons why you SHOULD be aiming high and making BIG visions, and conversely, there are many reasons why people don’t. We are going to take you through both situations, both why you should aim high and why you shouldn’t choose the more comfortable route.

Why don’t people aim high?

BIG visions are mislabeled with high pressure and life stress

AND

People like to stay comfortable, so they lower their own trajectory to reduce the chances of failure

There is a reason both one and two lead to unfulfilled dreams and average outcomes. They lead people to push away big, ambitious dreams, and in return, cause individuals to seek satisfaction in pursuing the little things. The truth is, the thing that is exponentially worse and much harder to swallow than simply failing is never trying (ask people their biggest regrets on their deathbeds… They never regret trying and failing.). Mr. Robert Brault once said, “We are kept from our goal not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal”, which is exactly what you need to avoid at all costs.

Why should I be creating visions that are larger than I ever thought possible?

1. You don’t know your true limits

The truth of the matter is, you don’t know what your ceiling for achievement is. You’re never going to know what your limits are until you test them. There’s also another piece to this puzzle: your thoughts are ultimately what cater your actions and your successes. You will never be able to build a successful company until you first imagine, envision, and create in your mind’s eye the exact picture of what you want your life to be. Before you can achieve, you need to convince. You need to convince ourself that you really have what it takes to achieve success both personally and professionally.

Here’s the perfect example: Meet Sabeer Bhatia, founder of Hotmail, who created his technology empire with only $250 to his name. The excerpt below is from the book The One Thing:

“Sabeer Bhatia arrived in America with only $250 in his pocket, but he wasn’t alone. Sabeer came with big plans and the vision that he could grow a business faster than any business in history. And he did. He created Hotmail. Microsoft, a witness to Hotmail’s meteoric rise, eventually bought it for $400 million. According to his mentor, Farouk Arjani, Sabeer’s success was directly related to his ability to think big. What set Sabeer apart from the hundreds of entrepreneurs I’ve met is the gargantuan size of his dream. Even before he had a product, before he had any money behind him, he was completely convinced he was going to build a major company that would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars” – Gary Keller

This is proof of the importance of vision. With only $250 and an intense vision, Sabeer was able to accomplish something few can even fathom as a possibility. Sabeer’s story defies the laws of reality for one reason, he came to America with a big dream and then committed to that dream until it was accomplished.

2. BIG Visions Set the Stage for BIG Accomplishments

We’ve all heard it before, “everyone has the same 24 hours in a given day, what you do with those few short hours will determine your life accomplishments”. It is up to you to choose between getting up at 5:00am and starting your day or hitting the snooze button three times and starting your day at 9:00am. Every choice you make in life is your own, so start making choices that are going to put you in a position to be the most successful you. Your choices today determine the person you are tomorrow, and the day after that, and the week after that, so, if you want to accomplish big things in 5, 10 or 20 years, you need to start taking steps RIGHT NOW to accomplish that goal. And ALWAYS aim BIG, don’t limit yourself to only what you think is possible, always stretch beyond the realm of possibility, just like these individuals (who we all know very well):

  • Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease when he made his first brewery (seems outrageous, but he seems to have made out alright, creating a beer that sells over 10 million drinks per day globally).
  • J.K. Rowling envisioned seven years at Hogwarts before writing a single page of a Harry Potter book (if selling 400 million copies of your first book in a series doesn’t make you believe in envisioning your goals I don’t know what will)
  • Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, envisioned a business so large that he set up his future estate plans to minimize inheritance taxes before even opening his first Walmart (now that’s the confidence we’re looking for)

3. Self-conceptions and thoughts influence our actions and accomplishments

Carol Dweck, one of the most prominent Stanford psychologists of all time, came up with the concept of growth vs. fixed mindsets. With a growth mindset, you believe in your own power to change, adapt, learn, and grow – regardless of your environment and the circumstances surrounding you. On the other hand, a fixed mindset is the belief that you lack control of your own destiny, living a life fully controlled by variables and factors outside of your control. The bad news is, you need to have a growth mindset if you want to become a successful entrepreneur…

But the good news is, if you aren’t already in a growth mindset, you can change through an adjustment in the way you comprehend individual circumstances. Consciously recognize that you are always in control of your actions, your circumstances, and life situations. You are not always going to get dealt the best hand, but it’s not failure that defines your character, it’s how you deal with failure and adversity that defines you. Always get back up, accept your mistakes, and learn from those mistakes so you can continuously grow and change as an entrepreneur.

Setting Goals

A vision without a plan or solidified goal is useless. You can sit around all day and think about your BIG, elaborate ambitions, but if you don’t break these thoughts down into tangible actions, you will never be able to accomplish that vision. That’s why the final section of this lesson is dedicated exclusively to goal setting and helping you get those thoughts down on paper.

Although we don’t recommend spending a lot of time watching TV and movies, we think there is often a lot to be learned from film. Disney provided a good message about goal setting in their movie ‘Alice in Wonderland’, during a scene where Alice meets the Cheshire Cat. The dialogue goes as follows:

Alice: “Would you tell me, please, where I ought to go from here?”

Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to go.”

Alice: “I don’t much care where…”

Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.

Although it comes from an animated movie, we think there is still a lot to be learned from the interaction between the two fictional characters. If you don’t know where you want to go or what you want to accomplish, then you are going to have a very tough time getting there. People are constantly asking what their next best move is, what school they should attend, what profession they should enter, what company they should work for, etc.; when the truth of the matter is – it all depends on where they ultimately want to end up. “A life without a goal is like a race without a finish line, you are running to nowhere”.

In order to have success in the future, you need to string together moments, accomplishments, and successes today. The problem we face is our preference for immediate feedback over future rewards, even when the rewards in the future are significantly larger. This is partially due to a phenomenon called hyperbolic discounting, which states the farther a reward is in the future, the lower the motivation is to achieve it. For this reason, it is important to break down long-term, large goals into smaller, manageable pieces that can be rewarded on a more regular basis.

Breaking Down Goals into Manageable, “Bite-Sized” Pieces

Let’s start with a simple exercise: think of the biggest, grandest, most audacious goal you can possibly imagine, and then set that as your goal for the remainder of this section.

Start with your BIGGEST long-term, dream goal – what is it? This is your Someday goal:
– What is one thing you want to accomplish someday?

Now break that down to a smaller goal, this will be your Five-Year goal:
– Based on your Someday goal, what’s the one thing you can accomplish in the next five years to make progress towards that goal?

Now let’s get even smaller, this will be your One-Year goal:
– Based on your Five-Year goal, what is one thing you can accomplish in the next year to make progress towards that goal?

The trend continues, this will be your One-Month goal:
– Based on your One-Year goal, what is one thing you can accomplish in the next month to make progress towards that goal?

Weekly Goal:
– Based on your One-month goal, what is one thing you can accomplish each week to make progress towards that goal?

Daily Goal:
– Based on your Weekly goal, what is one thing you can accomplish in the next day to make progress towards that goal?

Right-Now Goal:
– Based on your Daily goal, what is one thing you can accomplish right now in order to start making progress towards that goal?

Goals can always be broken down into smaller, more manageable, time constrained tasks, which makes long-term goals much more achievable in the present moment. It is important to follow this goal setting process because it forces you to connect step 1 to step 2, step 2 to step 3, etc., allowing you to create an entire pathway to your long- term goal. Ultimately, this is what helps transform a Vision into a Goal-Oriented Plan.

If you want to achieve your Someday Goal (which we all do), it is imperative that you connect what you are doing here and now, today, with what you do tomorrow, and the day after that in order to achieve your biggest dreams. This process of breaking down goals into more manageable short-term tasks is not just an exercise, it is backed by research, conclusively showing that envisioning and creating a path to your goal is actually more important than envisioning the end-goal alone. If you don’t believe me, read below, which comes from the book, The One Thing:

“In three separate studies, psychologists observed 262 students to see the impact of visualization on outcomes. The students were asked to visualize in one of two ways: Those in one group were told to visualize the outcome (like getting an “A” on an exam) and the others were asked to visualize the process needed to achieve the desired outcome (like all of the study sessions needed to earn that “A” on the exam). In the end, students who visualized the process performed better across the board– they studied earlier and more frequently and earned higher grades than those who simply visualized the outcome.”– Gary Keller

What does this research tell us? It tells us that Vision is important. It tells us that Goal Setting is important. But most notably, it tells us that we need to understand and envision the path it will take to get to our goal, and not just the end-goal itself. A goal without a path or a purpose is simply an idea, so let’s take those ideas and transform them into a reality, with vision, with planning, and with passion.

Write Down Your Goals

One last thing that shouldn’t go unrecognized. Setting goals, planning, and envisioning them is great, but if you truly want to solidify your goals, you should write them down on paper. Writing goals down on paper makes individuals significantly more likely to accomplish their goals than those that don’t. This is also backed by research. A study came out of the Dominican University in California from Ph.D. and clinical psychologist, Dr. Gail Matthews on the power of written documentation. The study included 267 participants across all different backgrounds, including lawyers, accountants, marketing experts, and many other fields of work. The study found that those who wrote down their goals were 39.5% more likely to accomplish them. Write your goals down! It’s that simple.

What Do I Do Now?

What are the three major takeaways from today’s lesson? Let’s recap:

  1. Have BIG Visions. You can only accomplish as much as you believe you can accomplish, so set your standards high. You can’t get somewhere if you don’t see where that somewhere is, so start thinking about where you want to go, and envision yourself already accomplishing that goal.
  2. Make a Pathway to Achieve your Goals. Visions are important, but vision is nothing without action. Action is what makes dreams come true, not just thoughts; so set your goal, and then break it down into smaller, manageable pieces. This will give you daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks to accomplish while making progress towards your BIG goals day by day.
  3. Write Everything Down. Don’t let your dreams and goals get lost in your head, put them on paper and make them tangible. Put them on post-it notes, write it on your calendar, write it in your journal, stick them to the fridge, to your bathroom mirror, to your TV. Everywhere you go you should be seeing your goals. Make sure to write them down and put them in a place where they are constantly visible, so you are constantly reminded of all the amazing goals you are going to achieve one day.