When I walked every single solitary day for 3 months I felt better, weighed less, and seemed to somehow find time for it. Before I had any real client load I wrote blogs about God and business, and frequently their intersection. At first, not much happened. But I wrote every week, several times a week and eventually people started finding me on google and calling about my services.
On the other end of the spectrum, I spent a concerted amount of time creating an online product or a program. The difference came in executing. I told people about it once, maybe twice. The results were inconclusive and nothing sustainable.
Even when I pray occasionally, I don’t feel the same power of the Spirit as when I do it regularly and consistently…..the whole praying without ceasing thing works. When I pray all of the time and spend real effort to communicate with God, I feel connected, supported, and guided.
I may not always hit my goal, however, the chances improve significantly, and I get much closer, when I create a plan and keep at it regularly.
It just works.
As I work with small business owners I see a pattern. We start out strong setting goals and then the world and the day-to-day get crazy. And we get pulled into the whirlwind. We are the owner, we have to fix it right? We have to sell the business we have today, don’t we? If we do a crummy job with this project, we won’t get the next one. So what falls?
The Excuses We Tell Ourselves
Of course, this is where the creativity comes in. This is how we convince ourselves that the goal was misguided, not us. Believe me, I have either used the excuse myself or heard them many times from others.
….when the economy or industry turns around, then the goal makes sense.
….when I hire the right talent, then we can do it.
….the goal was too lofty anyway, it is a de-motivator, not a motivator, so we need to get rid of it.
….the plans just didn’t work, even though we didn’t really execute them.
What good are the excuses really? They make us feel better for half a second. But in reality, if we aren’t hitting our goals, we are likely still experiencing the same problems that the goal was supposed to fix. Whether that is an inefficient process, or sales that aren’t growing, that pain is still present.
Less Obvious Excuses
Sometimes we can hide behind excuses of progress. For example, let’s say the goal is to diversify my client base, and grow with new clients. It can be scary to be dependent on one or two customers for all of my business. However, if sales are up, it’s easy to feel like we are moving forward.
Someone asks, “How is business?” It is only natural to tell them about how you are up 20% and leave out the fact that it is same big client who threw an additional project at you. That you are even more leveraged by your top accounts and you are so afraid to lose them that you are putting 100% of your resources behind these few accounts. Ultimately, your goal of diversifying and become healthier long-term is on the back burner with no progress.
Who Are The Excuses Fooling Anyway
No one else really cares about your goals, at least not in the same way that you do. By giving the excuses the danger is that it fools you. That it lulls you in to believing that you had no choice but to abandon the goal. It wasn’t you or your organization. It was outside factors.
Then you stop trying all together.
You believe your own excuse.
At least on the surface. But deep down, that general feeling of anxiety, that nagging state of being unsettled, that hole that still makes you feel like you are not winning, is the deep-seeded knowledge that your goals are not being met.
So what do we do to fill the emptiness. We make new promises. We will start again at the beginning of next year. Next year will be the year to get our processes in place. Next year we will diversify. Next year we will build the team.
And the vicious cycle continues to repeat itself.
Be honest, who has goals that started on the list 4 or 5 years ago? I know I have a couple.
We don’t have to play victim to this hamster wheel. We can get off now.
Mid-Year Goal Review
It’s mid-year and it is a great time to review your goals. Here is a quick process to get started:
1.Dust off the plan/list of goals for the year.
2.Create a gap analysis that has multiple parts.
For each goal consider the following:
- Goal :
- Plan in Place: Yes/No
- Did we execute the plan? Yes/No
- If yes, how well? (score 1-10)
- If well, was the plan good/bad? (score 1-10)
We tend to assume that if we are not hitting our goals than we have a bad goal or a crummy plan.
It is more likely we:
- Never really came up with a plan.
- Didn’t execute the plan if we have one.
- Didn’t execute the plan well or consistently.
Sometimes we have a bad plan. But, usually we never got to that step or we failed on the execution. Don’t recreate the wheel. Chances are the first plan is the best plan. I know it is hard to acknowledge that you just didn’t execute, but that is better than having to come up with a new plan when we don’t even know if the first plan isn’t the best.
3.Analyze the gaps and set up action steps to get back on track.
If you had:
- a bad plan well executed, tweak the plan.
- no plan, create a plan and execute well.
- a good plan and didn’t execute, create an accountability plan to make sure you execute.
Commit to Accountability
We own our business which makes us the leader. If we do not hold ourselves and the team accountable, no-one else will. We have to commit to accountability. This means that we need to keep the goal in front of everyone, measure our progress, report on the progress, and consistently work the plan.
The only way I know to stay focused and committed to my goals is to develop a consist amount of time to work on them and to develop specific, measurable actions that must be followed consistently.
Try it. Pick any positive goal and work your plan consistently. See if you don’t have improved results. I would bet that you will almost 100% of the time!