How to Set Goals

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How to Set Goals

Entrepreneurs are familiar with setting goals. Any leadership and entrepreneurial material such as books, conferences, keynote speakers and blogs frequently cover the topic of how to set goals. As a small business coach, I consistantly see entrepreneurs stumble across one of the inherently wrong mindsets and failure programs surrounding goals. Understanding these failure programs will ensure that goals are properly set and achieved.

Most entrepreneurs are familiar with a SMART goal. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Acheivable, Realistic and Timely. This means your goal in one statement must have these five things happen. Example, I want to lose weight is not a SMART goal. What is a SMART goal is: I will lose 15 pounds in 60 days. Other leadership experts and speakers also add the suggestion that goals should be written down to be seen daily. I always recommend writing on your mirror, since it is the first thing you see in the morning and it shows you who is ultimately responsible for your goals happening. One last thing that goal setting experts share is that you must have a strong WHY behind your goals.

Sounds good right?  Ready to go set those goals and try to achieve them?

I have done this type of goal setting for years.  I have hit many goals and missed many marks over these years.  One of the underlying themes, energies, mindsets and observations I have seen, in my experience, is this.  For me, the word goal is like the word “try”, or “attempt”.  It is a word marked with “failure with honor.”

Example, I will try to get this work done by 4.  If I get it done, great I win.  If not, at least I tried.  Failure with honor means you can fail yet give yourself credit for trying by attempting to make yourself feel better for missing your goal.  The word goal, to me, fits that category.  My goal is to lose 15 pounds in 60 days.  If I do, great, I win. 

If not, at least I tried.  Failure with honor is a secret assassin that is peppered into the vocabulary and wiring of every small business owner and entrepreneur that I have ever coached. Words like try, need to, have to, should, want to, will, and be able to all fit this category and will kill and stifle your business. Over the years I have also fallen victim to this assassin. Look at the picture above to the left.  Seems like a great goal right?  Look at the failure words peppered into this seemingly SMART goal. How many do you see?

So now what? If setting a goal has a failure with honor component, what do we do?

We set outcomes.  An outcome happens, period!

Outcomes are what happen no matter what.  An outcome is not wishing or hoping that something is going to happen.  An outcome is not something that is trying to happen.  It just happens, done, end of story. An outcome must be SMART, be written and have a strong why just like a goal.  An outcome however, is a different language, it is a different energy, it is a different mindset.  When you set an outcome, vision and visualize that outcome, and declare with absolute certainty that no matter what, this outcome happens, period, end of story, now its time to work.  There is no trying, just happening.  There is no needing to, just doing.  There is no at least I tried, you either do or don’t and you make that decision.

Are you setting goals or creating outcomes?  Are you marked with a target by the assassin of failure with honor?  Are you trying, having to, needing to, wanting to and setting goals that may or may not happen, either way, its ok, at least I tried?

I would enjoy reading your comments surrounding these two ideas of goals vs. outcomes.  As always, you can get caffeinated with me on a weekly basis by receiving my weekly newsletter and other free business building tools by clicking the coffee cup to the right.  I will send you a couple of free practical tools to use in your business when you do. I will also explain what is up with this coffee cup, and why I am so highly caffeinated all the time.

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