I recently attended a goal-setting seminar, sort of to get the year started off right. They noted the importance of setting goals. You know, the typical stuff – goals are important, they help you do stuff, get places, accomplish things. But they took it to a whole new level. One of the exercises we participated in included the leader asking an individual what his or her crazy goal was. They said “to write a book.”
“I don’t know… uh 2015?”
“OK, good, what date?”
“Um.. October 1st.”
“Good, based on that, when do you need to be done with the final draft?”
“Uh, probably six months before? So, April 1st I think.”
This exercise continued all the way back – when should you start writing the second draft, when should you start editing, contacting a publisher, more edits – all the way back to what day she should start writing.
Sales trainer David Sandler calls this a “reverse cookbook.” In terms of salespeople, how much do you want to make? Given your commission rate, how many sales does that mean you need to make? On average, out of how many meetings do you close the deal? How many calls does it take to land a meeting. This continues back to “I need to make X calls this year.” And from there, “I need to make Y calls every day.”
One often hears about S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound). And these are great. There are tons of acronyms but what it really comes down to is epitomized by the Yale Class of 1953. In case you haven’t heard this story, a group of consultants followed the members of this graduating class, noting which ones had specific goals for their future written down (that last part is important). At the time, only 3% had their goals written down. After 20 years, the researches checked back and found that that 3% had more accumulated personal wealth than the other 97% combined.
Now, one might assume that the simple act of writing it down automatically equals piles of money. In a way, if that’s your goal, it’s not that far off. Why is writing down your goals so important? It forces you to really think about them. Most of us have a vague idea of where we want to go in life – “I want to retire on the ocean, somewhere, when I’m 60-70.” And that’s great, but it also isn’t specific. I’m talking ridiculously specific. Tim Roberts (the aforementioned leader of the goal setting class) takes it to a crazy level – and, personally, I like it a lot.
Tim knows the date on which he wants to retire, his age and the fact that he will only work 1/2 day that day. From there, he backtracked and figured out what he needed to do each day to get there.
Often we don’t set goals because, let’s face it, we’re afraid of failure. And failure hurts. But I’m sure that there’s also an element of us that is afraid of success.
Why? Maybe because if we achieve success, people will expect more of us, and what if we can’t live up to that?
Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said:
“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
There’s a lot to be said about that. But, the way I see it, at least in my life, when I set my goals, and reverse cookbook-ed it, I don’t have to make a bazillion dollars or build 20 websites. I just have to do small, manageable things each day. Make X number of calls, talk to Y number of people, and, by extension and forward “cooking,” results will come.