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Goals…are you using yours properly?

John Nelligan

business goals

Getting your goals right

I often find that when I speak with people about business goals and more importantly, what they’re for, they tend to come up with the same sorts of answers:

“They give you something to aim at”

“They’re a useful roadmap”

“They help to hold you to account”

Whilst true, to me these are not particularly useful explanations – and because it is neither specific nor meaningful, people tend to leave it at that and move on to thinking about something else.  We are constantly told not only that we need to have goals, but that they should be “Big, Hairy and Audacious”!

There’s even a common acronym BHAG!

I feel that there are few people who have a clear and succinct idea of what business goals are, and what they’re for.  And this goes for many leaders and advisors as well.

I believe that business goals are a tool.

Tool – noun:  “something that helps you to do a particular activity

If that is the case, then what particular activity would we use this tool to help us with?


Changing your thinking about goals.

Take a moment to think back to yourself at age 19.  Think of that person.  Did they have a good work-ethic?  What values did they have?  What were their levels of knowledge and understanding of the world?

Now try to imagine that person trying to do what you do now.   Can you?  When I speak with business leaders, the answer is almost always the same.  Not a chance!

There is a massive difference between who you were then and who you are now!  The difference is the result of the experiences you have had in life.  You’ve experienced good things, bad things; you’ve been educated, mentored and helped.  You have learned some hard lessons on the way – ‘scraped your knees’, been embarrassed, humbled, picked up.  Some things were in your control, some outside of your control.  Even as you read this, some very specific pictures and memories may be popping into your head.

The net result is a person vastly different from that 19-year-old.  For all of the pain and discomfort of that journey, I have met very few people who would change it!  Why not?  Well it’s because it has made them the person that they are, capable of doing what they do!

In fact, for most of us, if we were given the chance to go back and talk with that young version of ourselves, we would not try to get them to do anything different (except perhaps invest in Amazon/Tesla!) but we would try to get that person doing all of those things faster in order to learn quicker.

So then, if we are so different from our younger selves, why would we think for a moment that the person we will be in 25 years from now will be anything like what we are now?


Goal setting

Too many of us set our Goals using the parameters of our current reality, resources and ability.  In doing so we use the horrible word “Realistic”.  If we are thinking like this, the goal is not a tool.  It does not help you to do anything.  Why have a goal that you now can achieve?

That’s like the first thing on your to-do list being “write a to-do list”.

What if we could think outside of our current ‘bubble of reality’?  Outside of what we can currently do, achieve, cope with? Here’s an example:

What if I choose in 25 years to be operating, thinking and existing in the realms of the high tens of millions of pounds?

The first thing I have to ask myself is:

“What sort of person would I have to be in order to be able to operate comfortably at that level?”

Followed by:

  • What would I have to know?
  • Who would my peers need to be?
  • What experience would I need to have?
  • What attitudes would I have to have developed?
  • Which skills would I have had to hone?

……and many more.


What’s the answer?

The answers to many of these questions can be found in looking at the people who exist in that world already right now.  There are loads of them – some even 2nd or 3rd order connections. I look at and note their qualities, their stories and their journeys.  I start to get an idea of the differences between the person I am now and that version of me in 25 years.  As the differences become clear between me and my future self, so does the pathway begin to come clear as well.

It is as if that future self is coming back to me – not to prevent me from making the journey, but to help me make it quicker.

I begin to take action by:

  • Deliberately seeking the knowledge I will require
  • Surrounding myself with the people who will grow me
  • Doing things outside of my comfort zone to gain the experience I need
  • Exercise and develop the winning attitudes I require and get helped in doing so
  • Practice and hone the skills I need to operate in that world.

As I begin to enact these behaviours I begin to learn things I otherwise would not have learned.  By associating with people I may otherwise never have met,  or do and experience things I would otherwise not have done.

I begin to try to be that person.  Maybe only for five minutes.  Maybe for an hour.  Later maybe a whole day.

I grow, I change.

Do I get to the high tens of millions?  Who cares?  The goal has done its job.  The goal has been a tool which has helped me to change.


More information

If you are ready to grow, change and throw off the chains of mediocrity, perhaps I can help and be a part of your transformation.

07725 973 847

For more information about how we can help your business, get in touch