One of the biggest mistakes we can make is setting small goals. I understand why most people avoid setting bigger goals; they lack the confidence and most likely the capabilities on how to achieve anything other than the small, incremental goals they write down. I will share one of the greatest secrets that helped my team grow 200% from 2014 to 2015, and why I’m writing down goals for 2016 that reflect a minimum of 100% growth in several areas.
Commit first. Then, once committed, muster up the courage to take the necessary actions. Only then will you go to work on figuring out the “how.” The “how” will be new skills, resources, and capabilities you most likely don’t even possess at this time. Commitment, courage…and then capabilities.
As I look ahead to 2016 and beyond, I have to set goals that excite me. Even more important, as a leader I must set goals that excite those around me. On an even bigger level, I want to set goals that excite even those who haven’t joined my company yet but are thinking about it. Here are the top three reasons we must set bigger goals:
- Small goals don’t excite you. Small goals are boring. Small goals don’t get you excited. Small, incremental goals don’t cause you to wake up early in anticipation of the pursuit of something so exciting and motivating you won’t be swayed! And most importantly, if you are like me you need to be excited about what you are building! As the Team Leader or Owner of your business, with the stress often associated with everything ultimately on your shoulders, you better set big goals that make it all worth your while. When I ask people their goals for the upcoming year, what I hear most is, “I’d like to grow my business 10%-20% this year.” Or, “I want to add one more person to my team.” Does that really excite you? Do your palms start sweating a bit just at the thought of attempting to achieve that? No, not likely.
- Big goals will excite those around you. Everyone wants to be a part of something special, and small, incremental goals are not special. They are safe, but boring. They don’t stretch anyone’s capabilities. Your job is to motivate and lead your team. Sometimes this means pushing them to levels they didn’t know they could get to. Set big goals, that when shared at your next meeting, cause your team to begin shifting uncomfortably in their seat as they decide whether or not to inform you that you must be crazy! I set very big goals…10x goals…that make even me a bit uncomfortable. As I mentioned earlier, one of our key metrics we measure, funded loan volume…grew 200% from 2014 to 2015. The number of team members at Aspire has tripled! Looking ahead, I have set goals to grow our production 100%.
Keep in mind it isn’t as simple as just throwing out a big number. Before sharing this with anyone, I must have a good plan on how this will actually happen. Then, I must also tie my big goals back to how it impacts each of my team members. Your 10x goals cannot be just about more profit or a bigger paycheck for you, the boss. Hopefully you are already beyond that and working toward a purpose-driven team or company. If not, you’ll have to trust in the fact that finding a barometer other than money or profits will actually result in greater profits than you would have believed while also ensuring your team members love working there.
- It’s what you become when pursuing big goals. The biggest shift I have had in my career is understanding what a big impact setting big goals has on me. It forces me to learn new capabilities. To grow 100% or 200%, I must study leadership at a higher level than ever before. I must learn to find better team members, and dare I say…learn to let go? (I know some of you just wet your pants when I said the words “let go”!) Looking back at who I was in 2014 compared to who I am now, as a leader, business owner, husband, and father, I am excited to reflect on just how much I have grown in pursuing my big goals.
By setting goals that are so big and exciting, while having no idea YET how you’ll achieve them, you begin your own journey toward massive, personal growth. Yes, you will fall on your face at times. I have made a ton of mistakes along the way. Some team members are no longer with us while many others have joined us. We have missed some goals along the way while making huge progress overall. I’ve made some poor decisions, but learned from them and then made smarter decisions the next time around. The key is, we cannot be afraid to make mistakes. If we aren’t taking any action, we’ll never get to where we want to be.
The great thing is, when your team around sees you willing to take massive action, make mistakes, get back up and try again…they become inspired to do the same for you and your business. And that’s when you begin to realize true freedom in your business.