“Walking along in this haze of confusion. Sometimes I collect, sometimes it takes all of my strength just to find enough reason to take the next step, step, but I will, but I will, till I do.” Eh Hee, Dave Matthews Band.
One common denominator throughout my legal career was SMART goals. Remember those? Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Uh, stop it. When Steve Jobs said he was going to change the world, can you imagine someone asking him how realistic that truly was? Or when he would specifically accomplish such an audacious feat? Can you imagine asking Gandhi his timing for Indian independence?
Please, for the love of your business (dreams, ambitions, motivations), stop it. Goals completely suppress and kill big ideas.
I get it, everyone else advises you to “set goals”. Sweet. Tear them up. For some of you, that will be liberating. For most of you, it will be terrifying. Hang with me….
By definition, a goal is a stopping point – a destination. Look it up. I’ll argue that the most elusive element to business success is momentum. If you accept that as at least partially true, why would we ever consider stopping?
Only two things can happen when you set a goal. In the best-case scenario, you hit your goal early. Chances are, you won’t continue to work with the same vigor and enthusiasm. You’ll celebrate your accomplishment and start looking forward to the next month, quarter, whatever. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll miss your goal. That’s when self-doubt starts to creep in. Regardless of how hard you worked, environmental factors out of your control, etc., you’ll start to tell yourself you did something wrong. If this happens often enough, you’ll start to believe you’re not smart enough, good enough, or have what it takes to be successful.
I want you to think BIGGER. Why do you do what you do? What’s your purpose (your why, your element)? Your purpose should be your singular focus. The next question is simple – what do I need to do every single day to set myself up for success? What do I need to do to reach my authentic purpose? Imagine your purpose sitting atop a mountain. What steps do you need to take every day to ascend towards what you truly want? Don’t start climbing a mountain and then stop to celebrate.
Just. Keep. Climbing.
Daily disciplines. If you can lay your head on the pillow every night knowing you did everything in your power to be successful, the successes will come. I track five daily disciplines every day. I’m confident that if I keep my focus on those five things, I’ll progress towards my purpose in spite of economic conditions, environmental factors, or other circumstances outside my control. If I’m an “A” student with my daily disciplines (completing them 90% of the time or more), I’ll return “A” results.
Here’s the thing … your business doesn’t accept excuses. If I’m not feeling well, if I’m jetlagged, or otherwise occupied, my business doesn’t care. If I do what’s necessary, I’ll achieve success sustainably over time. If I don’t, I’ll fail. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ll understand this. Your body doesn’t care about excuses. Exercise and eat well, you’ll lose weight. Make excuses, even good ones, and you won’t. Your business operates the same way. Put forth an “A” effort, and you’ll rise above the competition.
Lyfe Lesson: Ditch goals. Know your authentic purpose. Set daily disciplines. Put forth an “A” effort.