Goal-Setting: A More Effective Approach
Everyone has to pay the mortgage, but if financial gain is the sole motivation behind your goals, you won’t pursue them with the passion needed to make them a reality. To do that, you need to make serving others your guiding force.
We all know that it’s important to set goals. Unfortunately, the way we think about goals tends to reduce the chance that we’ll achieve them or that they’ll fulfill us.
One of the most common models for goal setting goes by the acronym SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Certainly, it’s useful to have this kind of focus. It’s simple and utilitarian, but almost useless in helping you to achieve something of real significance. What’s missing is the purpose behind the goal. That is, what is the big WHY behind any goal you set? And it’s important to realize that all WHYS are not created equal.
When it comes to goals in the areas of relationship, business, creativity, and, of course, marketing, most of us set goals based on what we want to achieve, what’s important to us. In other words, goals that feed our ego, and that foster self-aggrandizement. This is something that almost everyone misses. For most, goals are about ME, ME, ME. What can I get to enrich or improve my life?
Well, what’s wrong with that?
Look, to some degree a certain amount of enlightened self-interest is necessary. You need to pay your mortgage and put food on the table. But I argue that this should be a secondary consideration regarding any big goal that you set for yourself.
I remember the story of when Steve Jobs was trying to recruit John Sculley to become the CEO of Apple. Sculley was currently CEO of Pepsi-Cola. He asked, “John, do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?”
Indian entrepreneur Kallam Anji Reddy expressed this concept very well: “Everyone has a purpose in life and a unique talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.”
Were Jobs and Reddy being too idealistic?
All I know is that the greatest business people, scientists, artists, and yes, even politicians, are not very motivated by what they can get for themselves, but by how they can help others and make a real difference.
Achieving great goals is not about accumulating wealth (although that may often be a side benefit) but about lifting up others, and creating something of lasting value.
The first imperative of marketing is setting a goal for your marketing. What specifically do you want to achieve? But more importantly, if you achieve that goal, what difference will it make to your clients, your family, and to the world?
When we are so focused on what we’ll get, what we’ll achieve, what we’ll earn, there’s a certain emptiness to it. And no matter what we achieve, it never seems to be enough. If our goals are empty and shallow, how will we ever achieve “ultimate success?”
Believe me, this wasn’t always my attitude about goal setting. I chased money as much as anyone else. But I also discovered that when money was my prime motivator, things didn’t work out too well; the projects tended to flop. But when my focus was on service, things went faster, more easily, with more energy and success.
I recommend that when you think of goals, also think of service as a host of other inspiring people have:
“Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.”
“Earn your success based on service to others, not at the expense of others.”
—H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
“If you create incredible value and information for others that can change their lives—and you always stay focused on that service—the financial success will follow.”
“Over the past decade…while many businesses have pursued what I call ‘business as usual,’ I have been part of a different, smaller business movement, one that tried to put idealism back on the agenda.”
“When your dreams include service to others—accomplishing something that contributes to others—it also accelerates the accomplishment of that goal. People want to be part of something that contributes and makes a difference.”