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The Problem With Setting Goals

Focus on Your Goal, Not on How You'll Get There

Excerpted from Business Black Belt by Burke Franklin

"Don't tell me that something is impossible.
Tell me what it would take to make it possible."

After we figure out what we want, we usually start to strategize how to get it. I'm sure you can do what takes to get what you want, but that may be the very place you get yourself into trouble. Often, we can achieve the same result in a variety of ways. This lesson is about understanding the what and not getting tangled up in the how you will succeed. Otherwise, you might well miss the perfect opportunity for getting exactly what you want (or better).

The phenomenon goes something like this: you establish what you want, then you set about the process of how to get it. Given your resources and knowledge, you develop a strategy, then a plan of action - as crude as it may be. At this point, your energy shifts away from your goal to your action plan. The goal itself is almost forgotten in favor of all the things you now have planned to do.

How often has this happened to you? A salesperson is pitching their product and misses the part where you say, 'Yeah, I'll take one.' That was their goal, but the salesperson keeps on selling anyway. You want to buy. The sale just happened sooner than they thought it would. Some salespeople think that the only way to make their sale is to give their complete pitch and do a series of certain things because that's what it takes to sell their product. 'Yeah, I'll take one,' is often a reaction many salespeople aren't prepared to handle. The salesperson is too focused on how the sale should happen versus being connected enough with you to realize that their goal has been achieved without having to follow their predetermined plan.

A customer of ours wrote a business plan to attract an investor to give him the cash he needed to buy a LearJet to start a jet charter company. While the investors were grilling him, another guy who owned a couple of jets read the plan and decided that his planes would be better cared for and leased more frequently with our customer... instead of cash, our customer got two jets! What if our customer was stuck on the idea that he first needed cash, then he could buy a jet? What idea are you stuck on?

Sometimes, if a better solution comes along that doesn't fit our plans, or it doesn't match our expectations of what we thought would or should happen, we may pass it by. We ignore it. It's not right. (We make it wrong.) It's not going to work. We often lose sight of what we want. While our head is down working our scheme, we often miss the fact that we've achieved our goal, or that it may be down a different path.

Go ahead and make something your goal and start to figure out how you'll achieve it. Remember to keep the result you want as your top priority, in the event that a different way of reaching it shows up unexpectedly.

How to tune your mind for solutions
Let's take this a step further: Think for a moment about the color red. Look around right now for everything that is red. Notice how everything red jumps out at you. Now try it again with the color green. See how easy it is to tune your mind for what you're looking for? Try this: Look at your life and focus for a moment on your problems. What's wrong? (Keep looking around with focused intensity and I'm sure you can come up with a depressing list...) On the ther hand, look at your life and selectively see what works. What's working for you now? Do you usually look for what works or what doesn't work around you? What if you were to consciously tune your mind to seek opportunities and solutions to your problems just like you looked for the colored objects? It's impossible to find solutions while your mind is tuned to problems. It's also impossible to find solutions when you are looking for reasons why your problems are the problems they are. Instead, what are some solutions that might work? In this case, listening may be the mode that will attract the best solution.

When you are having a 'bad day,' try taking a mental inventory of everything that is working in your life. Remember to be grateful to those who provide the good stuff. Acknowledge your gratitude for your 'luck,' what does work, who is doing a good job, that you can see this page, and even that you live on high ground this week.

Anytime you're having a bad day, look to see what you are focused on. See what happens when you shift focus. Change colors. If you have invested a little time in analyzing the problem and clarifying any assumptions, this process of finding a solution or achieving your goal will become easier.

Nature is constantly talking to you - with answers and directions.
Ever wonder why you hear a certain song over and over again? Ever wonder why different people make similar comments to you? Ever wonder why particular situations repeat themselves? Ever wonder why particular situations repeat themselves? Try asking questions without being in a hurry for the answer - and be open to the messages and answers whenever they might appear - they're everywhere.

The idea is that you are looking for a new action to take, a new way of looking at your situation - you must do something different to change the results you've been getting when you do what you are already doing.

Business Black Belt Notes
' Set your goal and remember that you want to reach your goal even if you get there by a different method than you planned.
' It doesn't always take cash to get what you need.
' Tune your mind to look for solutions to get what you want.
' Answers will come, maybe not right away nor in a form you expect-'stay open.

Visit to read more chapters and learn about our business plan software.

About the author:
Burke Franklin is the originator of the popular BizPlanBuilder business plan software and CEO of JIAN, the company behind many successful business management software tools. ( JIAN has sold more than 1,000,000 copies of its software worldwide since 1988.

Overall, Burke's management & marketing experience spans 28 years. With an extensive background in sales, marketing and management, Burke brings a very practical approach to everything he does. In 1995 Burke was elected to White House Conference on Small Business and in 1996 he was nominated for Ernst & Young's 'Entrepreneur of the Year.' Also, Burke is an instrument-rated pilot, and is a second-degree black belt in TaeKwonDo. Burke's highly praised book, Business Black Belt draws parallels from the martial arts and, while sometimes politically incorrect, it is rich in hard-won advice for building and running a business today.


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