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The power of personal goals


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Are you living your life by default, or by design? This is a great question to ask oneself any time, but especially now with the New Year upon us. The fact is that most people live life by default. They continually adjust to changes in their life that are primarily driven by a change in their circumstances or by someone else. It doesn’t mean that they don’t lead a good and purposeful life, but it might indicate that they are continually forced to change and adaptive based on someone else needs. If you spend some time thinking about what you want and write it down, it can hopefully help you live more by design.

In sales, setting and achieving revenue targets has always been a part of the game. But what most people don’t realize is that if you have strong personal goals in addition to the business goals, your motivation and desire to do the tough and uncomfortable things that you need to do will be higher. When you set goals it is important to follow the SMARTS acronym. Goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, with a Time frame and Shared. It is also important to set both behaviour and results goals as a part of the process.

Here are four reasons goal setting can lead to greater success in sales and ultimately in life:

Helps you move outside your comfort zone and overcome the execution gap: The Execution Gap is the space between learning new skills and techniques and putting them into practice over time. Because of our internal comfort zone it is always difficult to implement change. But if you have desire for greater success then you will live with discomfort in the short-term. In many cases personal goals are one of the primary drivers of desire because they can give you something tangible to focus on. If you have a strong desire it is easier to deal with the discomfort of changing or trying something new. If you have clearly defined personal goals you will live with short-term pain for long-term gain.

Change your mindset: Many times goal setting is the first step in changing your mindset. Having the proper mindset can dictate whether you are able to change. If you are not open looking at new or different ways to sell, you probably won’t. I have heard salespeople say many times, “that won’t work in our industry”. They disqualify the approach without even trying. Being open to trying different approaches when they feel new and uncomfortable and you are not really sure it will work, can be half the battle. Personal goals can be the catalyst to developing the right mindset.

Differentiate what activity leads to achievement: Developing a strong set of personal and professional goals can help you determine where to spend your time. So many salespeople let daily interruptions and fighting fires rule their day. If you have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish in both the short and long term, it will help you focus on the right activity that will bring you closer to attaining your goals. Especially in sales, you could spend a lot of time working on the wrong activities or with the wrong people and fall short of your revenue objectives.

Internal motivation is not about driving you to do things when it is easy, it’s about having the desire and commitment to do the tough stuff when you don’t want to. Having a solid set of personal and professional goals can help you focus on the right behaviour to better help you define what you want and live by design.