“Let’s go to the moon!”
It might as well have been Mickey Rooney telling Judy, “Let’s put on a show!” Both goals likely seemed unattainable when first considered by those tasked with attaining them.
As an audience member watching the screen we simply saw a speed-through of rehearsals, set-building, costume fittings and voila! Opening night with a packed house was upon Mickey and Judy and all those kids with big dreams of their names up in lights.
It wasn’t too different for those ‘kids’ that decided it was time to go to the moon. More rehearsal. More set-building. But, oh! Those costumes sure were goofy! And then Blast Off! – the show was on the road, per se.
What was the difference that made these unattainable goals possible?
Passion. Determination. A willingness to do anything necessary to get there.
They didn’t know necessarily how they would get them done, but they did. Jack Canfield has a nice little saying about going after really big goals that you have idea how you’ll achieve: “It’s like getting in a car in New York with a goal of reaching L.A. It feels like you’re driving at night and can only see 200 feet in front with the headlights and nothing else. You’ll get to L.A., but you won’t necessarily know how you get there only seeing 200 feet at a time.”
What Kind of Goals?
- The goal has to really matter to you or you won’t go all out for it. That’s big step number one. No wishy-washiness about your drive to achieve a goal. (I bet they had no idea how they’d get to the moon when Kennedy put that challenge out there….)
- Your goal can’t be general or vague. It needs to be very specific. “I want to make piles of money” just isn’t going to cut it. Try: “My goal is to make $250,000 by the end of 2012.”
- How do you feel about insanely tight deadlines? Yuck, right? A funny thing happens with the squeeze to make a tight deadline. Everyone really pulls together. They get stuff done they never thought possible in such a short time frame.
- What are the consequences of failure? If it just means you make $10,000 or $20,000 less for the year (in your mind), then that won’t cut it. (“It’s just money!” your mind is thinking.)
But if that $10K or $20K less means Little Johnny won’t be able to go to the championship game, or Susie won’t be able to go to college, that’s FAILURE! If your mind is concentrated on the specific end fallout of your failure, you’ll have a stronger connection to achieving the desired results.
So your consequence needs to be a big, looming disaster in your own mind if you don’t reach your goal. Maybe the consequence is not being able to take that long-dreamed-about vacation in Tahiti or trip to Italy. Or maybe you’ve had your eye on a fancy new car. If you don’t make that money, you can’t afford to buy the car.
How Many Miles to the Moon?
That goal to make ‘$250,000 by the end of 2012’ will be easier to attain if you take the time to break down what needs to come in each month. So unless you know for certain that amount is coming in your paycheck equally split each month, take the time to lay the groundwork on how you’ll build up to it monthly and quarterly. Perhaps you should map out monthly stated goals?
In January, a slow business month often for many in sales, your goal may be: “I will bring in $10,000 in revenue for January.” But by the beginning of summer, it may be: “I will bring in $32,000 in revenue in June.”
Frankly, one of the only times I’ve actually seen a plan well-used in an emergency (and that’s what I consider a battle – an emergency) is that scene in Apollo 13. You know the one: When Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon realize they have very little time to move into the other unit and ask about a procedure ‘for that.’ They start flipping through their manual and checking off steps to complete so they don’t forget something crucial in a life and death situation.
Of course, only a few minutes later Hanks is seen throwing out the manual, per se, while he uses his trained and innate ability to steer the module into trajectory position by watching Earth outside his window as the ‘fixed object in the sky.’
‘Indispensable planning’ is key to creating the synaptic connections in your brain so that you’ll take the necessary steps to achieve your goal. But, you know, sh*t happens! Engines explode and you suddenly may need a new plan, new synaptic connections. What are the parts to get you there?
Do you know the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting method? (Hint: There’s meaning in the acronym!) Your goals need to be Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and (very) Time-Sensitive!
What makes a smart goal? Only you can know the answer. But let me provide some examples as we slog through a bit more of this topic.
Would it be smart for me to set a goal to write twice as many newsletters next year as this year?
As we all know, I’ve had a few hiccups a few weeks this year in getting them out. (Ahem!) Sure, I should have planned better. I should have had a few more posts in-the-bag that weren’t date-sensitive that I could’ve run in emergencies. Well, yes, that was the plan!
The reality was that things get away from you sometimes. (“Houston, I had a problem!”) So what is a reasonable contingency plan? What is a smart goal for me in newsletter writing in 2012?
I will declare (and you can all be my hold-my-feet-to-the-flames minders of the consequences) that my goal is to publish a minimum of 52 newsletter/blog posts in 2012. There. Now I’ve put it out there as a public goal. That means when I’m extra-inspired I may publish 58 or 60 of them.
Notice how I neatly included the measurable portion of this goal-setting technique? I attached numbers which I will dutifully count off through the year with my goal.
Your turn: How many new customers do you wish to attract next year? How much do you want to increase the average sale amount next year? (How much do you need to increase the average sale amount to make that $250,000 in annual revenues?)
Getting Back from the Far Side of the Moon
Attainability: We’re back to that pie-in-the-sky, go-around-the-moon thing. With the little fuel they had left, how were the going to get back from the other side of the moon?
There are many outside factors to consider. As much as we’d like to say, “Damn the torpedoes (also known as our economy)! Full speed ahead!” is it realistic to set the kinds of goals we did before the world economy tanked?
I’m not saying, “No.” I’m asking you. Many businesses are thriving even though the economy is icky. (Just look at those pie-in-the-sky Black Friday sales results!) What is an attainable goal for you?
20 amps and Not a Bit More!
Poor Gary Sinise. Never got the flu. Didn’t get his shot at the moon. His goal was no longer relevant once he got bumped off the mission. He no longer had a goal, so he checked out, didn’t answer phones or watch TV to know what had happened. Of course, when he learned the astronauts were in dire straits, he got a new, very relevant goal: save their lives through the science and artistry of electricity! (20 amps max. Can you imagine???)
Okay, that’s probably not how he worded it in his head when he climbed in the simulator to figure out the conundrum, but you know what I mean! Suddenly he had an extremely relevant goal to him personally: he could save the day.
If your goal doesn’t have deep, strong meaning and connection to you, it ain’t gonna happen. That’s why the wording and consequences of inaction or failure are so important to think through.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “He doesn’t understand the consequences”? Of course, we use it to describe other people’s actions! We’re certain we always understand the consequences of our own actions. But do we?
If I don’t achieve those 52 minimum blog posts next year, what’s the big deal? So I miss one or two….
Au contraire! The consequence of missing just one blog post is that I may miss out on a potential project with a new client. Lost revenue.
Theoretically, because my newsletter doesn’t land in a reader’s inbox that week I don’t get it sent, she may forget I mentioned a specific skill I have and mentioned two weeks ago because she doesn’t see The Cornucopian in her inbox that week when she has to kick off the project. Instead she sees someone else’s post and calls them.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather make that splashdown with the astronauts on the return. I don’t care for skipping on Earth’s atmosphere and careening off into oblivion. I like it here!
How about you?
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” ~ Walt Disney