Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Art of Goal Setting

Again this morning I braved the cold as the city slept. At the onset of 2011, I set a goal to wake up an hour earlier. I achieved my goal! For an entire year I awoke before 5am and got out the door after showering (hygiene is important). The streets vacant, the weather often cold, the sky dark....alone with my motivation.

I lead a strange professional existence. My job entitles me to work from home....I have never actually worked from home. Coming from a hyper-structured environment, I didn't trust myself to build a home office, so I spend the hours before others awake at the coffee shop. When you are arriving for your morning coffee, I am out the door on to phase 2 of the day. It's difficult avoiding the snooze button, but there is nothing more empowering than starting every day ahead of the competition.

I recently tweeted - "If you strive for perfection you will never fully achieve your goals". I will always set goals for myself that exceed the expectations of others. Achievement of everything is too much to ask if your goals are designed in proper fashion. The art of living is always striving for more.

2011 was a success - I reached my revenue goal. But, there are several areas in which I fell short. No matter how monumental our achievements we can always do more. Too often, we allow the past qualification of possible to drive our motivation instead of shattering the standard.

Five years ago, I evolved my business strategy: to do more with less. To try harder for fewer results....such were the times....they haven't gotten any better. The economy continues to struggle and there does not seem to be relief around the corner. With each year, I try harder to find the door in the dead end. I have learned that hard work always yields results, positivity is the only frame of mind one can possess, and creativity has never been more valued. With these skills in my tool belt I brave another year.

How can we take flight in the eye of the storm?:
1. Find a Larger Purpose
2. Shatter the Standard
3. Self-Assess

Stop Punching
If you are a person who dislikes bravado as much as I do it can be very difficult to "buy in". I understand that the "ra ra" thing can be distracting. That being said, you owe it to yourself to develop a higher professional purpose. In simplest terms:
a. Examine your organization's core values and mission statement
b. Develop the ability to derive personal purpose in every assigned task
c. Take a minute every day to research a personal interest

Work is (not just) work. You can create something that will benefit YOU from an instruction given by THEM.

~ I'm not sure why every organization doesn't present their core values to job candidates...?
~ Every instruction your boss gives you is yours to interpret and prioritize as you see fit.
~ It's a refreshing practice to google something you haven't thought of in a while.

Be Kind to the New Girl
I received a promotion in my company and was moved to a new team. The first thing I noticed was the negativity of the so-called team leaders. They thought I would respect their warnings. I thought, "I am going to be the number one producer on this team in six months".

Tenure can be a tricky thing. No one wants to be the new kid on the block and the tenured reps always seem to be more helpful than they need to be. In most cases, the old guard just wants to help the new folks. But the new crew has different ideas and experiences. Those who set the standard cannot seek to protect it.

There was a book written called the first 90 days. From what I can discern, this book offers suggestions about how to make a good first impression and with whom one should align oneself. I'm sorry....The concept of positioning yourself in an organization without results is complete horse shit!

We all know we can perform above the standards set before us but we must be humble in the process. I would recommend the following:
1. Don't speak unless spoken to
2. Don't ask questions with the intent of showing you know the answer
3. Keep your hand down in team meetings
4. Keep your phone on mute during conference calls
5. Don't drink too much and state your (real) opinions

Do your talking in the ring!

Be your worst critic, but let no one know
I know no one who has been massively successful that has allowed the company for which they work to define them. You must always set standards for yourself higher than those of your boss or the company you represent.

The art form is being consistently critical of your own effort without the slightest degree of public transparency.

Allow me to explain: You cannot endure life's challenges by beating up on yourself. Self-assessment is a healthy way to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Only you know how much time you have, how hard you tried, and what you could have done differently. The only person you report to is yourself!

Question: Have you ever given everything you have to every minute of an entire year?

Why not make this The Year...?

Don't Forget to Remember ~



  1. Fabulous, I am impressed with everything that Dave wrote. It was great to read and give thoghts to his comments.

  2. Gracious anonymous contributors -
    Thank you for your support and kind words!

    - Dave

  3. Hi David, Thanks for reminders here on goal setting. One walk away is focus and have inner peace. Doing it regular too.