How about a 20% sales Increase?
You’re probably familiar with the popular paperback, 100 Things to Do Before You Die. But maybe you’re not as familiar with the backstory. As it happens, in 2008 one of the co-authors, Dave Freemen, fell and hit his head, causing a concussion. He died from that injury at the age of 47. However, at the time of his death, he had accomplished nearly half of his “100 Things to Do” list. Have you done as well? Do you even have a list?
Few of us have stated goals and even fewer make a list. Oh sure, we might drop something a little startling into a cocktail party conversation—“I’d love to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro/learn to ski/become an astronaut.” But even if we are actually interested in skiing, mountain climbing, or flying to Mars, will we ever actually do it? Probably not, but why?
Fear. That’s the big brick wall that’s standing in the way of many of the things you say you want to do. Mainly, it’s the fear of failure. What will people think if you try and don’t make it? This paralyzing fear could be keeping you from moving ahead in your career, not to mention robbing you of a good ration of fun and excitement you might be having. So how do you move past that? Here are four keys to lowering your fear factor and reaching your goals:
- Be realistic
- Start small
- Go public
- Celebrate accomplishment
Be realistic. One of the reasons people don’t reach (or even set) goals in the first place is that they want to shoot for the moon. It’s an all-or-nothing sort of mentality. Yes, it would be great to triple your sales volume this year. But is a 10% or 20% increase more realistic? Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef is an exciting goal, but if you can’t swim and tend to get seasick, that might be quite unrealistic. The problem with unrealistic goals is that, in your heart, you know you’re not going to reach them, so you give up and accomplish nothing. Which makes the next goal all that much more difficult to set or reach.
Take small steps. Back to that sales goal increase. Let’s say that in your present environment a 20% sales increase is realistic. Divide that up into small pieces. How many new clients per month do you need to get? How many open houses, showings, email blasts and blog posts do you need in order to get those clients? What do you need to change about the way you’re doing business? If your goal is to run a marathon, you might start with hitting the treadmill a few mornings a week or signing up for a 5k race in your neighborhood. Set up monthly and quarterly milestones so you can track your progress.
Go public. There’s a reason why people get married in front of a judge or clergyperson. Nothing says commitment like sharing it with others. I know what you’re thinking—“I’ll set a goal of a 20% sales increase, but I won’t tell a soul and then if I don’t make it, I won’t be embarrassed.” No, you won’t, but you’ll also miss out on two important things: support and accountability. Sharing your goals with people you trust and asking for their support is critical to your success. Other people see things you don’t see. They may have valuable ideas to share that would add a whole new dimension to your business. They may know potential clients they will refer to you because they know you’re becoming a high achiever.
Ask others to hold you accountable. Groups like Weight Watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous are successful because they hold people accountable for doing what they say they are going to do. If you’re lucky, you’ve already followed our advice about building a support system. If you have, this is the place to go with your goals. If you haven’t, now would be a good time to start.
Celebrate accomplishment. Kids get gold stars and smiley faces on their spelling papers. So why shouldn’t the grownups have a little reward? When we’ve taken a small step, our tendency is to blow it off as “nothing much” and move on to the next goal. Big mistake. Whatever small goal you have pursued and reached, that accomplishment deserves some kind of celebration. After all, you’ve made sacrifices, spent your time and energy, and produced a result that makes you happy. So brag a little to your friends and family, take a day off, schedule a massage, or pop the cork on some champagne. You deserve it!
“This life is a short journey,” Freeman wrote in his “100 Things to Do” book. He then advised his readers to “get off your butt and create a memory or two.” Or maybe a 20% sales increase? Go for it!