Goal-setting may become a jaded topic at this time of year. Of course we want to think about what we want in the new year ahead, but sometimes just setting business goals is not enough to feel driven each day to rise above the challenge and pursue “the dream.”
Imagine if each marketing action you take impacted your ability to achieve a bigger life goal. What if you internalized that connection? How motivating would that be to overcome your hesitancy to market your practice?
Here’s how it works: follow these six steps and you’ll learn how each blog post you write or each follow-up call you make actually takes you closer to your fulfilled year and, yes, your fulfilled life.
1. Claim Your Next Big Life Goal
What is something big, something fulfilling, something that takes effort—perhaps months or years of commitment and pursuit—something you truly want?
Do you want to live in another country and run a virtual practice? Do you want to compete in the Iron Man? Write a mystery thriller? Take six months off to travel?
Don’t just know your goal, claim it out loud. Write it down or draw a picture of it. Bring it to life. Share your goal with your study or mastermind group to elevate your commitment.
2. Set a Due Date
“A goal without a date is just a dream” is a wise quote from psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson. If you truly want your goal to happen you must give yourself a deadline. Are there outside triggers that drive the timing? Do you have a sense of how long you’ll need? Pick a date that feels right; it will give you a framework for developing your timeline and dependent actions.
3. Secure Alliances
As entrepreneurs, we wear many hats and know how to make things happen on our own. However, the pursuit of a big goal can be much more manageable when we have allies who support us. Whether it is your spouse, parent, child, mentor, employee or business partner, you will enjoy the journey more when the key people in your life are on board with your life goal.
Discuss what it will take to reach your goal and get agreement on your direction. Work closely with this person to define your specific roles and responsibilities in the plan.
4. Consider the Impact
In what parts of your life will you need to take considered action to realize your goal? Craft a mind map (try MindMeister.com or Novamind.com) to help you organize your thoughts and see the full impact of your new endeavor. Nearly any goal you wish to pursue will impact your financial adviser career. You will either add more resources to develop and run your practice, or take time, money or energy away.
5. Drill Down into Specific Actions
Tying your big goal to day-to-day actions requires that you drill down into specifics. Extract the key initiatives from the mind map that you need to complete and label them in priority order. Start with the highest priority initiative and specify the actions required to complete it. Bucket your actions first by quarter, then break out week-by-week actions. Incorporate each initiative’s actions in chronological order to form your master plan for realizing this life goal.
Be sure to include your drawing from step No. 1 to keep the overarching goal visible through the plan. This will help you tap into the energy of the bigger vision while handling mundane tasks.
6. Pause and Check in Along the Way
When executing on a plan, we can often get lost in the weeds. Take time each quarter (if not each month) to check in on the overall plan. How are you progressing? What needs to change? Where are you too optimistic about timing, or where are you ahead of schedule? Make adjustments to the master plan, recommit and dive back in.
You will face many choices as you go that could pull you away from your plan. Be sure to ask yourself, “Will this choice take me closer to actualizing my goal?” If the answer is “no,” turn away and keep working the plan. When you do, you’ll find yourself with a sense of fulfillment throughout the entire year.
All the best for you in 2015!
Kristin Harad, CFP®
Marketing trainer for advisers
San Francisco, CA