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Life Health > Running Your Business

How to Set Goals to Achieve Better Results, Faster

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“The minute you get away from fundamentals, whether it’s proper technique, work ethic, or mental preparation, the bottom can fall out of your game, your school work, your job, whatever you’re doing.” – Michael Jordan

The greatest professional athletes in history focused on the fundamentals of their sport to achieve at the highest level. That includes the likes of Michael Jordan in basketball or Tom Brady in football.

The same can be said for achieving business success. If you’re ready to break through to your next level of success in your business this year, you have to get laser-focused on what may seem elementary but is essential.

And one of the most fundamental exercises any financial advisor can leverage is goal-setting. It’s simple, yet powerful. Goal-setting can empower you and help spark your energy and passion.

In this article, you’ll learn a proven process for setting goals that inspire you to take action and achieve greater results faster. But more than that, you’ll learn how to set goals for the right reasons. Goals are more than just something to reach for — they help you grow your business to where you want to take it in the future.

Why Should You Set Goals?

Sometimes, busy financial advisors will say, “I’d love to set some goals, but I just don’t have time.” I challenge this way of thinking with a quote from the great college basketball coach John Wooden: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

Now is your time!

Another benefit to setting goals is that you’ll see more opportunities more often that can lead to achieving the outcomes you most desire.

You have millions of different bits of information coming at you constantly in every moment of your life. But most of this information is only picked up by your subconscious and not fully lifted to your conscious awareness.

Let your brain know what’s important and what isn’t. As soon as you consciously make yourself aware of the goals you want to achieve, your brain will allow information related to those goals to pass through to your conscious awareness.

Where Do I Start?

When you’re setting goals, follow the direction of Stephen R. Covey from his best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” In it, he says, “Start with the end in mind.”

Why is this important? It’s easier to put markers along a path if you know the destination.

If you start your goal-setting today by writing out a 20-year vision, does that mean you’re committed to it for the next 20 years? Absolutely not. Things will change, and so will your plan. But you’ll find that starting with the vision will make the process of goal-setting easier.

Let’s look at it another way. When you’re trying to put together a complex puzzle with hundreds of pieces, is it easier to guess what the puzzle should look like as you piece it together or to look at the picture on the box as a model and begin putting pieces in place based on that picture?

Envisioning Your Goal

If you need help creating your vision for the future, consider your answers to some of these questions:

  • What does your team look like? How many advisors?
  • What are your total assets under management?
  • How many clients do you have?
  • How often do you meet with your clients?
  • How are you growing your business?
  • Where and how are you spending your time?
  • Are you working on the business or in the business?
  • How many weeks of vacation will you have?
  • How much time will you spend with your family?
  • What experiences will you create for yourself, your family, your team and your clients?
  • What will your health and physical fitness be like?
  • What will your personal and professional relationships be like?
  • Will you be volunteering with an organization?
  • What other causes will you support in your free time?

There’s no right answer to these questions — this is your vision. Be creative and think big. Human potential is virtually limitless; set your goals from this state of mind.

The Goal State of Mind

Set your goals in a high-energy, passionate state of being. Don’t set goals if you’re tired, upset or disappointed.

If you’re not in the right state of mind, take steps to get there. Get active. Lift weights or go for a jog. Even running for five minutes will get your blood flowing and increase your energy levels. Watch a motivational clip on YouTube or listen to a song that always fires you up. Do what you need to do to get yourself excited for the future.

Once you’re in this high-energy state and you’ve painted a clear picture of your vision for the future, it’s time to write out your goals.

Setting Your Goals

Now that you understand the importance of having goals and how to think toward the future, you’re ready to set goals.

I recommend organizing your goals into one-, three-, five-, and 10-year goals. Start with the longer-term goals and work backward.

Consider the structure of your team and organization. How many advisors will be on your team in 10 years? Five years? How many non-advisor stakeholders? How many clients will you serve? What kinds of clients? In 10 years, will you have an account minimum of $5 million while the Associate Wealth Advisors on your team have lower minimums? Will you have any additional offices? How many days out of the office will you allow yourself to take? How will you spend your time?

Don’t worry about how you will achieve the long-term goals yet. But as you think about your one-year goals, begin choosing the specific action steps that will help you reach them.

You can have goals in multiple areas of your life. Consider also setting them in the areas like your health, relationships, spirituality and personal economic success.

What to Keep in Mind

As you set your goals, why not go big? Even if you don’t know what’s possible or realistic, don’t play it safe when it comes to your future.

Goals are important because they give you direction and something to work toward. The power of having goals is not in achieving them but in who you become in the process of working toward them.

This is one of the reasons I don’t believe in setting realistic or safe goals. By setting higher goals, you’re setting higher standards for yourself. You’ll be forced to become the kind of person who can achieve those bigger and better goals. And, as you become that greater version of yourself, you’ll be able to serve more value to more people.

I believe that the people who set the biggest, seemingly far-fetched goals in life are the ones who positively serve the greatest value to the greatest number of people in this world.

With years of experience as a financial advisor, J.J. Peller now helps advisors grow their firms in his role as a business coach at Carson Coaching.


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