Although my topic of choice is helping people sell, I often find myself in discussions about attaining goals. I quickly learned that your goals impact everything in your life. Having specific goals gives you clarity and focus towards your next steps. You’ll often find that you are more energetic and enthusiastic when your goals are kept in front of you.
This applies directly to sales when we drill down to activity. We know goals will never be anything more than that without activity, and in most cases, especially with sales, these activities can be quantitatively tracked.
For example, if part of your outreach strategy includes messaging people on Facebook messenger, and you know that if you send out 50 messages, you’ll get about 25 responses. Of those responses only 10 will evolve into engaging conversations. Of these 10, only 2 will get on a call with you, and once that happens you typically close 1 out of 4 sales calls. This means you will be able to average a sale every 2 days at these numbers. You can also double your results by doubling your activity.
This can feel like a lot of work if you are not clear why you are doing it, which is why I’d like to share a simple, yet powerful 5-step goal-setting framework I developed.
The Elephant Rope
Are you familiar with the story of The Elephant Rope? The synopsis is one of a young elephant who was tied to a post with a small rope, making it so he could not run away. Initially, the elephant tried to break free, but to no avail. Eventually the elephant accepted that escape was not possible and simply stopped trying. Fast forward a few years and the elephant has grown significantly but was still held in place by the same small rope. If you could see this sight, you may describe it as ridiculous, simply dismissing the idea that a small rope could restrain a fully grown elephant.
You may ask, how on earth does a small rope restrain a large elephant? The answer is often the same for you and I when we question why we can’t achieve something: it’s all in his head (see how fellow contributor to The Coach Guardian Steve McVey goes deeper on this topic.) In this story, the elephant accepts that escape was impossible, and makes the decision to stop trying. Even as he grows, his acceptance of his fate stops him from ever trying to break free again.
If you are like me, you’ve had many beliefs that began when you were younger, which no longer serve you. You likely feel some things you’d like to do are not “realistic” and sound crazy talking about in public. I have to tell you, there are people in your life who look at you and see you behaving as if you’re completely trapped by a tiny little rope. These are people who decided to be a better version of themselves, and are working to be the best. They broke their ropes long ago and haven’t looked back since. Those who think you’re crazy and not “realistic” with your goals, they are tied to their own rope. For them to accept there’s a possibility for more out there, they would also need to accept that they were wrong. That they were limiting themselves… something very few people like to admit.
Today, I want to give you permission to break free of any ropes you may feel tied to. Today I will share my simple, but powerful 5-part framework for setting and achieving your goals with confidence. I call it the YACHT Process.
Yearn To Be Your Best Self
Most of us want to get better. In fact, many people believe ongoing personal development is the secret to success. You can read the books and watch the videos all you like, but until you are willing to challenge your beliefs, you are likely to struggle.
First, find a goal that you’d like to achieve that you’ve already failed at. Don’t settle in any area of your life, especially if, deep down in your heart, you have a goal in that area that you want to achieve.
Once you’ve decided on the goal, you need to commit. There are many tools and tactics to help keep yourself on track for a goal, but the simplest (not necessarily easiest) is to change your “shoulds” into “musts”. Turn “I should go to the gym” to “I must go to the gym”. Turn “I should make those sales calls” to “I must make those sales calls”. Stop negotiating with yourself and you’ll have a much higher likelihood at success.
Align Your Goals
Now that you’ve decided on your “must”s, it’s time to get clear on your “why”. “Why”s are like a planet’s gravitational force: the bigger they are, the stronger they pull you toward them. The bigger the “why”, the more likely you’ll be willing to push yourself to achieve it.
Once you have your “why”, you need to get clear on the goal itself. This needs to be extremely specific. I want to make $250,000 in a 12 month period ending on December 31st of this year, for example. What’s your goal? You must be specific and be able to quantify the result. I want to add two new clients to my business per month starting next month. If this was your goal, I bet you’d start reaching out your contacts right away.
Okay, this is where I’m going to get a little “woo woo” as they say: You need to create a vision board. Yes, this the semi-popular, stick magazine clippings of what you want on a piece of bristolboard strategy. But, it works. Fill the space you see most with clear images of the things you want in your life. Your subconscious brain can’t distinguish imagination from reality, so as you see yourself experience the future you want, you will actually start to feel it, and act as if it already is in existence.
The final key to aligning your goals is to write them down… every, single, day! Like the vision board, writing down your goals daily keeps them in your awareness, which will subconsciously help you act on opportunities to fulfill these goals, often without you even knowing it.
Chart The Course To Your Goals
Okay, we are clear on our goals, clear on our why, and we are fired up! Now what? Now we plan. Boring, I know. But vital to achieving your goals. This is where the resemblance to sales activity becomes more obvious.
Set specific benchmarks. What milestones or benchmarks can you identify that will help you get to your end goal? These can be outcome goals or activity goals.
Next, we need to break the attainment of our goals down into specific daily activities, steps or habits. If you want to write a book, you need to set daily and weekly writing goals. If you want to lose weight or gain muscle, you’ll need to increase your physical activity and/or change your eating habits. Be clear on what this looks like for you as you amp out your journey,
Now we know what we have to do, and all we need to do is do it! Easy, right? Simple, yes. Easy, no. This is where we need accountability. Setup a system or a person with whom you need to check-in regularly regarding your goal. You may create this accountability through people or through systems, but please make the time to put some accountability in place.
The final component to charting your course is setting up a support system. Who will call you out if you start to slip? Who will you go to vent if you do slip? We all need support. It’s just significantly easier to get it when we’ve planned it out in advance.
Home In On The Specifics of Your Goals
Once you are rolling, you want to track everything. I encourage you to get a clear baseline from day one so you can manage your progress. Even if you think it’s not necessary, please trust me, it’s vital. This tracking is especially good when plateaus in results are likely to happen.
Along with tracking, you’ll want to plan for setbacks. You may be thinking “if we plan to fail aren’t we writing our own outcome?” Yes and no. The faster you accept that thing can get tough, the faster you can set yourself up for success. Setbacks are not failures, but if you don’t have a plan to handle them, they can be detrimental to achieving your goal.
Take Action Towards Your Goals
You need to start right away. No goal was ever achieved by sitting back and waiting.
“Never leave the site of a goal without first taking some form of positive action towards its attainment.” – Tony Robbins
In summary, here are the five stages you need to be able to achieve your goals with ease:
Y. Yearn to be your Best Self
A. Align your goals
C. Chart your Course
H. Home In
T. Take Action
Use this framework as the reason to eliminate your excuses and start taking action toward the outcome you truly want to achieve.