I’m a strong believer in the importance of setting written goals. However, it does seem as though for every person I meet that agrees with their ability to influence life outcomes, there are an equal number of people who dismiss the concept of goal setting as having an impact on achievement.
So here is the simplest explanation I can provide for how goals work: Setting a written goal creates selective perception. Written goals subconsciously program our mind to be aware of opportunities relating to the goal as they cross our path. All of sudden we see how things might work. This does two things: Firstly, it reminds us of the task we’ve set. Secondly, it helps us find ways to make it actually happen. After that, it’s just a question of effort and tenacity.
It’s kind of like your car: Have you ever wanted a new car, or just bought a car only to notice how many of them are driving around on the roads? This is selective perception at work. It’s a beacon for stuff that matters to us – for what is relevant in our world. We only see what is out there once we purposely place ‘it’ into our life or desire it.
One of the most powerful things we can do is set our brain to work in the background – and if we know it works on simple things like noticing cars, imagine what it can do once we set it to notice opportunities.
If you wanted to learn how to speak French and I could give you a choice to achieve one of the following two options, which would you choose:
- To get an ‘A’ on your report card.
- To be fluent in the language.
Without a thought you would choose the second option. The second option clearly has more value than the first option. Even though the first option, may include the second, neither two are interlinked by default.
It’s an interesting analogy we can use when it comes to business objectives, brand propositions, and why we are embarking upon our latest startup mission. Do we want a number? (the A) Or do we really want thing that the number describes? (Fluency).
What’s also interesting is that speaking any language well is a life vocation, native tongue or otherwise. The achievement is not marked via formal qualifications, and language is most recognised when it has been learned on the street. A lot like business acumen in today’s rapidly changing world. The reality is greater than the certificate.
While fluency might be far too arduous a task for many of us, it’s important to recognise what we are really striving for before we even start.
I’ve been setting visual and written goals for a few years now. However last year was one of the more limited goal setting years I’ve had in some time. In truth, I achieved less than in previous years.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that some times the goals we set for a year, take a few years to yield, for our brain to work out the subconscious algorithm needed to make them happen. I’ve never had a year when I have achieved all the goals that I have set, but it is also true that I achieve more in the years when I have made more of an effort in creating, reviewing and refining my goals.
On occasions I have made a personal postcard and sent it to myself with my goals as the visuals. I’ve shared one of these below, and while some of it is personal, it’s more important to share the goodness than worry about what people might think. You will notice that some things on it are not specific, and can’t be ticked or crossed, while others are specific. I really believe that very specific goal setting can actually work. I don’t know why, it just does.
Some of the Ticks included:
- Traveling with my, now wife, to elope
- Starting a family (see baby pic – my daughter even looks like this picture I found on-line!)
- Going to New York & Rome
- Getting published articles in the AFR, the Age and Sydney Morning Herald
- Surfing Weekly
- Graduating from being a University Tutor, to becoming a University Lecturer
- Turning my Startup Blog into a Startup School
- Helping my father sell his farm
- Getting rentoid in the news multiple times (Just google rentoid)
- Travel overseas in Business Class
- Collaborate with rental Industry to become leading portal
Some of the Crosses included:
- Flying in a private jet somewhere
- Having 10 million+ in net assets
- Upgrading my home (Including pool & eco friendly house features, and grand design renovation)
- Running a marathon
- Opening a new office for rentoid
- Getting on the cover of a business related magazine
- Becoming known as a respected business thought leader.
Some of these goals that I am yet to achieve, but am still seeking, in fact some I am very close to…. if they eventuate I will let you know. For 2012 I want my goals to be more specific and I intend on sharing them here to be honest in public and make myself more accountable.
The one thing I know for sure, is that we don’t achieve any of the goals we don’t set.
Some one said these words to me the other day:
“It’s easy for you. You are confident being in front of people and speaking in public…”
I thought for a second and then told him the truth about confidence. Which isn’t verbatim, but it went something like this.
Confidence isn’t something people are born with. In fact, it doesn’t really exist. Confident people are those who are prepared to make themselves ‘uncomfortable’. People who are prepared to risk pain and or embarrassment to get something done. They embrace the risk of failure and get so used to failure, that people believe it comes easily for them. They assume it is ‘confidence’. But it’s just that these people accept the tension of being uncomfortable, as well as the potential for failure. And this is the truth about being confident.
Talking to my business partner today he made a simple statement:
‘Your task list and calendar should reflect your overall goals’
And it’s statement worth assessing in a methodical fashion. We should think about where we want to be in 5 years, and see if any of the tasks we are doing today are moving us closer to our goals. Our entire day doesn’t have to be filled with task that lead to achieving long term objectives, but there should be ‘direction evidence’. If there isn’t any directional evidence of where we and any business we are involved in wants to be – then quite simply, we need to review our task list and make sure things are aligned.
(insert your choice here)
Which one is correct? Well, it depends on a lot of things, like speed, budget and even why you are going…. Are you walking to Sydney on fitness or political campaign?
It’s easy in to judge strategy from the sidelines, especially when we don’t understand the constraints or objectives.
In startup land our paths will differ. What matters is if we get to Sydney, and if we did it in the manner which suited us.
Steve – rentoid.com