Where are you going? What are your goals? To whom are you selling? Why are you in business?
These are some of the first questions you can expect to be asked when you begin a new engagement.
The funny thing is, most of us (and that includes me and my company) lose focus on these important questions (or rather the answers) as we get immersed in our day-to-day activities. I’ve told you the story before of when a customer asked me how to set financial goals that were more than just numbers. Well, here’s a bigger picture of how we might address this.
Let’s change the focus.
Who do you look up to? Whether it be in life, sports or business, who is your hero?
Is there a company out there that really sets the standard for what you do? A great competitor that seems to have it all together? Does everything right? Beats you and everyone else in winning business and customers? Maybe you have a vendor or supplier who seems to do everything perfectly. Maybe you have a mentor or an individual you really look up to.
Who is it? What are they doing that is so right? What can you do to imitate them? Learn from them?
I ask this of all of my customers and it always surprises me when they say there is no one. Does this mean they’ve never noticed? They’ve never looked?
To be successful, you must have something beyond goals – and that something is an ideal. An ideal is not a place or a thing. It can be a person. But most often it is a combination of elements that paint a perfect accomplishment; the pinnacle of achievement – for you. It may ultimately not be achievable because it is so perfect. But if you really believe in it, you’ll strive to achieve it anyway. People like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Tom Brady have all been considered the best ever in their respective professions. But none of them have ever said they reached their ideal. They have the reputation for being the best, but they never ceased striving to be better. In reality they reached it, but, in their world, they were always going to be striving for it. They were (and are) living their lives striving toward their “ideal,” not for some tangible goal. Do you remember the advertising slogan that said, “I wanna be like Mike.?” Mike was not a “goal.” He was an “ideal.” I wonder how many great athletes that we have today started with the simple ideal of being “like Mike?”
So, how about you? Can you identify and describe your ideal? I bet you can describe your goals: but can you look way past those and identify your ideal?
What is it?
Who is it?
The best goals are specific, definable and measurable. The best ideals are indescribable but can be pointed to. They are livable and will drive you to accomplishment on top of accomplishment. Striving toward your ideal will drive you beyond tangible goals. Your ideal will give you purpose. And a purpose will give you a life worth living.