I used to hate thinking about and writing down goals, probably because when I first had to do them it was as part of a budget plan I was assigned to create annually when I was a Publisher. That all changed when I first became an agent, though. One of the very first authors I worked with was writing an unusual book on achieving one’s dreams. In order to do that, the author advised, you had to write down ten goals that you were reaching for – things you never thought you would achieve. He demanded that I as the agent on the project go through this exercise just as a reader would. At the time, I was a single mother of a young daughter beginning a new career and not in the mood for dreaming about anything. But I went along and wrote down things I just knew would never happen: increase my gross book sales threefold by the end of the year (in terms of dollars); meet and marry the love of my life within the next two years; buy a house in the next three years; have another child in the next five years…. And every week, he demanded that I review my goals.
Well, the upshot is that I never sold that book (that actually wasn’t one of my goals). But, incredibly, I did achieve every other goal, and within the time period I had laid out. I did sell that amount in advances and more; I did meet the love of my life and we are about to celebrate our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary; I did buy that house in the country; and my handsome son has just turned 20.
So, when I began my own company, I asked everyone I worked with to set short term goals each quarter; these were almost wishes – they should be reaches – and they should be reviewed monthly. Recently, Miriam told me that she has always hated doing goals “with the burning intensity of a thousand suns,” but she has become a believer because the process really does work.
I have now begun asking my newer clients what their goals and wishes are. It’s an exercise that is energizing many of them and they are realizing that setting short term goals enables them to strategize about their entire career.
I wonder whether you set goals for yourself already. And, if not, don’t you think you might begin now?