A young actor had been bouncing around the city for years trying to pay his dues. However, other than supporting roles in several films and TV shows, he hadn’t achieved the level of success he was hoping for during his previous 10+ years working the LA scene.
During that period of his life, he would often drive into the Santa Monica Mountains at night and look out over the city. He’d sit and visualize where he wanted to take his career- who he wanted to work with and what work he really wanted to do.
But one night, while looking out over the city, he did something a little different.
Instead of just visualizing that he had accomplished his goals, he put them down into a physical, tangible form- he wrote himself a check.
In the “To” line our actor friend scribbled his name.
In the “Memo” line he wrote “for acting services rendered.”
And in the amount box he wrote “$10,000,000”
Ten million dollars.
He dated the check sometime late 1995 and shoved it in his wallet. Over the next few years as he continued working the LA scene, the check stayed in his wallet as a reminder of what he was trying to achieve- the type and level of roles he was working towards.
And then, in late 1995, after years of hard work, he learned his latest role was going to net him a cool $10 million. The film was called Dumb and Dumber and our actor friend (who you probably know as Jim Carrey) was finally able to cash his $10 million check.
Why Set Goals
So what was the deal with writing that check? Why did Jim Carrey cut himself a check for $10 million long before he was able to cash it?
For Jim Carrey, that check was the physical manifestation of a personal goal- it was a place he was not at in the present, but where he eventually wanted to be. The goal was his guide.
So let’s talk about setting goals.
Whether in your personal life or in your business, setting goals is a really important exercise that will help you achieve success. Goals represent a point in the future, a place you are going to, a state that does not exist in the present, but that you’d like to bring to fruition.
Goals are benchmarks.
Goals are targets.
Goals are destinations.
My grandfather always used to say that the first rule of driving is “know where you are going.” And now that I think about it, I think that’s a good first rule for running a business, raising a family, living your life, etc.
If you don’t know where you are going, then how are you ever going to get there? That’s why you set goals- so every morning when you wake up, you have an idea where you are going and what you need to do along the way.
Your goal is your destination.
Good goals will help you understand when to turn left instead of right. When to say “no” instead of “yes.” When to stop instead of go.
Without goals, you’ll spend time spinning your wheels on things that don’t matter, or chasing after every opportunity that comes your way. However, if you set a goal, you suddenly have something to measure new opportunities against. If an opportunity helps you achieve your goals, then you go after it with everything you’ve got. However, if an opportunity takes you in a different direction from your goals, then you avoid it. In that sense, goals are tools that will help you achieve what you want to achieve.
So take time to set goals for yourself in your business, your career, your personal life. Without goals, you’ll wake up every morning and just start checking things off a master “To Do” list without any idea where you are actually headed. However, with a list of goals, you’ll have guidance and direction and be better equipped to make great decisions in your life and business.
How To Set And Crush Your Goals
Alright, so you understand the value of setting goals, but how do you put goals together that will actually help you achieve the success you desire? In reality, the process isn’t super easy. When most people sit down to set goals, they often create goals that are pretty useless- ie intangible, unrealistic, or indefinite. At the end of the day, such goals are unlikely to help anyone achieve anything.
So if you want to craft truly beneficial goals, then each of your goals must be: (1) measurable, (2) achievable, and (3) written.
(1) Measurable – You need to be able to quantify your goal. You don’t want to just “lose weight.” Instead, you want to “lose 25 pounds by June 1st.” You don’t want to just “increase revenue.” You want to “increase 2016 revenue by 10% ($400,000) when compared to 2015 revenue.” Making your goals quantifiable will allow you to consistently and accurately monitor your progress. Without quantitative features built into your goals, you won’t truly understand whether you are succeeding. However, with a metric attached, you’ll always be able to know how close you are to success. So get quantitative!
(2) Achievable – If Jim Carrey wrote that check to himself and dated it for the next day, it would have been a useless goal because he would not have been able to achieve it- he was no better able to cash that check the next day than he was the night he wrote it. Similarly, if you set a goal to increase revenue by 1,000% this year when your average annual revenue growth rate for the past five years is only 5%, your new goal is useless because you aren’t going to be able to achieve it. Helpful goals are grounded in some form of reality. When goals are so far out of reach and seem impossible, we tend to ignore them completely. Thus, keeping goals rooted in some form of reality so that we believe they are achievable provides the best incentive to keep working towards them. Make it hard, push yourself, but make sure it’s possible to achieve.
(3) Written – Write your freakin’ goals down. Seriously. If they aren’t written then they aren’t real. You will eventually get so consumed with other things that you will completely forget them. And make sure that you see your goals every day. If you write them inside a notebook that you never open, then you might as well not have written them at all. You need to be reminded of what they are. If you write them down in a place that you will see them every day, they will stay top of your mind and you will continue working toward them. Without seeing them every day, you will be much more likely to get distracted. Tape them to your steering wheel. Laminate them and put them in your shower. Post them on your refrigerator. Whatever you do, just make sure you see them often so you are consistently reminded what you are trying to achieve.
Go Set Your Goals
Now it’s your turn. Take some time today to set some specific goals that you want to achieve in your business and your personal life in the next year. I challenge you to take 30 minutes today and write out at least three goals. Hyper focus this year on those three goals. And if they adhere to the three criteria I’ve listed above, I think you’ll be surprised at how easy they were to achieve!
Would you like additional help with your goals? Click Here to get my FREE guide that will provide you with additional tools and resources for setting your goals!