As a sales manager, I often mentored young or inexperienced sales people. I’ll never forget one young man who came into my office looking extremely depressed.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Nothing, really, I’m just not doing well. I’m not hitting my goals.”
I invited him to sit down, then began, “Okay, let’s talk about your goals. What are they?”
Slightly taken aback, he said, “Well, I’m just like everyone else, I guess. I just want to make a lot of money.”
“That’s your goal?” I replied, “to make a lot of money?”
“No, I think that just about covers it. If I make a lot of money, everything else will take care of itself.”
I looked him right in the eye and said, “Tom, you will NEVER reach that goal!”
“What do you mean?!” he responded with surprise. “I’ve never heard you be so negative. I thought we were supposed to think positively about our goals!”
“What you have is not a goal,” I replied, “it’s nothing more than a vague, wishful notion.”
Over the next couple of weeks, we worked together to define and clarify Tom’s goals–to get them crystal clear and ever present in his mind. Guess what happened? Just like magic, he started achieving his goals.
True goals have power to inspire us, move us to action, and engage our creative energy to make things happen. They must be clear enough to answer the questions: What, How, Who, Where, When, and Why.
Let’s look at each of these for a moment.
- What – This is where you define exactly what your goal is. In the example with Tom above, he would determine specifically how much money he wanted to make each week or month. Goals must be specific and quantifiable in order to measure our progress and know when they have been achieved.
- How – This is where you begin creating a plan to achieve your goal. You probably already know many of the intermediate steps you need to take to reach this goal. Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly how you will get the goal right now. As you keep your goal upper most in your mind, your subconscious will continue to work on the solution and feed you with ideas and suggestions that will move you closer to your goal.
- Who – This is where you identify the people, groups, and resources you need to tap into, in order to reach your goal. As you think about your goals every morning and evening, write down the names that come to you. Then contact those people to see how you can help them and how they can help you achieve your goal.
- Where – This is where you create a vision of where you will be (emotionally, financially, socially, etc.) when you achieve this goal. How will it feel, what will it look like, how will your life be different? The more clearly you can visualize the goal as completed, the more likely you will be to get it. Each morning and evening when you think about your goals, keep this vision floating in front of you.
- When – This is where you set a date when you want to have completed the goal. If you know all of the steps required, you can simply add up the amount of time it will take to do the steps. If you don’t have any idea how you are going to reach the goal, just put a target date. Or, better yet, just put “now!” as your target date. This tells your subconscious that it needs to crank up the creativity and energy to figure this one out. As you keep focusing on the goal and the steps become clearer in your mind, you can revisit the deadline.
- Why – This is one of the most essential parts of the goal setting process. Define your motivation for wanting this goal. Your reasons must be compelling enough to produce emotions strong enough to keep you going even when challenges or detours block your way. As you review your goals daily, you need to intensify and relive these emotions.
Once your goal is crystal clear in your mind, find (or draw) a picture that visually represents the goal to you. Add a few key words to the picture if that is helpful. Then, put it up on your wall, mirror, desk, vision board, etc. as a constant visual reminder of what you want. Review these pictures and intensely visualize your goals for 3 minutes every morning and evening.
Then, watch them materialize–almost like magic.
Success Tip: Before you can reach any goal, it has to become crystal clear in your mind. Ask yourself: What, How, Who, Where, When, and Why. The more clearly you define your objectives and the more frequently and intensely you review them, the faster they will be yours.