I had a prospect come to me with a desire to grow her income, and at the same time to make her business processes less dependent on being “hands on”.
“Why do you want that, Linda? What makes this important now?” I asked.
“Well, I just came back from visiting my Father in Tucson, and I realized three things. First, he’s not getting any younger; I want to spend more time with him in the next few years. Second, Tuscan is beautiful, and I’m sick of Chicago winters. Finally, I love to ride horses. I’ve lived in Chicago all my life, and I haven’t been able to do that regularly. If I moved to Tucson (It’s beautiful, have you ever been there?) I could ride my horse every day; I could see my father and I wouldn’t have to suffer through all this snow and ice.”
“I know I won’t get there in an instant, but that’s what I want.”
How’s THAT for a clear and vivid goal?
That year for Christmas I gave her a big coffee table book full of pictures of the natural beauty of the Sonoran desert around Tucson, and she placed it right in the center of her desk so that she stayed focused on her goal.
We made progress…
As we worked together she started to make more money, and we established more responsibility in her team and that first winter she went to Tucson for a month as a trial run. It was a good “stress test,” and we found some places where we needed to shore up her processes. By the next winter, she was in Tucson for three months, and by the following winter, she had sold her house, and moved to Tucson. Her business was 100% virtual, and she had time every day to ride horses with her Father.
…and we encountered obstacles
Now, don’t imagine that this was a smooth ride. Over that time she had her key employee, who was supposed to free her up a lot, quit. Her biggest client pulled way back as their business faltered. The boiler in her building burst, filling her office with 5 inches of smelly, yellow liquid. And there were lots of other bumps and challenges.
But through all those bumps — Linda stayed focused. She kept her “eyes on the prize” — and that goal was compelling enough to keep her going through it all.
You see how vivid and real the goal was for Linda? She knew what she wanted, she could taste it, feel it, see it in front of her every day. Her goal wasn’t “be happier” or “take more vacations”, it was personal to her! It was spending time with her aging Father, and riding her horse every day. Things that mattered to her. Making that goal real meant that she didn’t get distracted, that she knew what her priorities should be, and provide the motivation she needed to try new things, take risks and celebrate her progress.
It’s your turn!
So where’s your compelling goal — did you skip that exercise? Or if you’re new around here and weren’t with us when we set those goals; now is the time to dust it off (or go and do it for the first time, and don’t forget part two of the homework). How vivid is that goal, how specific? Is it something that can keep driving you through a whole year (or two)? Is there some physical token that you can have in front of you to remind you?
How else are you going to keep going when your office floods, your key team member quits, and your #1 client vanishes?