Well, its 2017. Time to make resolutions, turn over new leaves and set new goals… So in that spirit please allow me to share something with you…
I am absolutely terrified!
Let me explain…
Since the beginning of 2016, I have been working quietly behind the scenes, carefully crafting content, researching business models and developing my own intellectual property.
Putting all of my hard work aside, one MAJOR ingredient was missing… Execution!
I was ingesting hours of research and studies per day to help create content for my clients, but I was not executing those skills in my own business.
But why? What was preventing me from doing this?
I thought back to when I was 15 years old and the day I went to collect my GCSE exam results. Although I was never studious, I was confident that I would get the minimum grades (C’s) and squeeze into the next year of higher education.
Oh how wrong I was!
My grades were much lower than expected… in fact, there were so many F grades that only 1 F-word could sum up my feelings… F*CK!!!
I left the building in floods of tears… What made matters worse, my friends were waiting for me at the school gates. My embarrassment was crushing.
So… Why am I scared?
PUBLIC FAILURE… it terrifies me.
My lack of execution was because I was scared of what others would think of my work.
I was scared to put my name to something and open myself up to the possibility of public ridicule.
I feared that if I failed in my business, my family, friends and the general public would consider me a failure.
Last year I realised that I was not alone in this fear, in fact, Arianna Huffington, Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel had all experienced major failure before becoming the world-renowned business moguls that they are.
How I plan to overcome my fear of failure.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
– Michael Jordan
This year I plan to change my definition of failure by taking two actions:
- Sharing my thoughts and documenting my progress, thus leaving myself vulnerable to public scrutiny.
- Setting concrete goals and following through on those goals with small actions every day.
My previous attempts (there have been many!) at goal setting were wishy-washy and lasted about 7 days before I decided to scrap that idea and focus on a new goal or task.
This is a common problem for Entrepreneurs- We often wish to achieve so much with such little resources that we move from project to project without completing one single task to the best of our ability (put your hand up if this is you).
Why have I decided to take goal setting seriously again this year?
Last year I read an amazing book which changed my perspective on goal-setting:
“Content Inc” by Joe Pulizzi. (not an affiliate link) is an absolute must read for all small business owners.
Mr Pulizzi is a very successful Entrepreneur and the founder of the Content Marketing Insitute. His book teaches entrepreneurs how to use content in order to build an audience and convert that audience into customers.
His approach to goal-setting is radically different to anything that I previously read on the subject.
The main difference is that he recommends having a structured 6 point framework with which to set your goals AND to review those goals every day.
According to the Mr Pulizzi, the path to success is 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Figure out your “Why”
Step 2: Write your goals down using a 6 point framework
Step 3: Review those goals every day.
I will show you how I have used this process to create my own goals for 2017
Another Entrepreneur I highly admire is an artist called Miya Bailey. He has a goal planning strategy called “The Economy System”. I decided to add this in as a further step to help you achieve your goals.
Step 4: Create your Ecosystem.
If you are easily distracted, fed up of not achieving your goals each and every year and you are determined to make 2017 your year in excellence, I have an exciting challenge for you to participate in.
If you need that extra push in achieving your own goals this is definitely for you. Read more details below.
Step 1: Figuring Out Your Why.
I have known my “Why” for over 13 years. To this day it has not changed.
On July 31st, 2003, Cheriyah Andon was born to two proud and VERY young parents. I was 21 at the time and had just finished my first year of University.
The first moment I held her angelic 8-pound body in my arms, I knew that I would have to protect and provide for her for the rest of my life.
In 2008 Imani was born and in 2013 Micah came along.
My “Why” is to be a Provider.
As a single parent, my mum did her best to provide me with the things that she may not have had when she was a child. As an Entrepreneur herself, she struggled for many years to pay the bills, provide food for us and keep a roof over our head.
Looking at my children every day is a gentle reminder that it is my duty to provide a standard of living which is equal or above that which my mum was able to provide.
Your “Why” is the catalyst to your success. It’s what keeps your vehicle’s engine running for those few extra miles when your tank is empty and not a single petrol station is in sight.
In order to figure out your “Why”, there are 4 questions you should answer.
The best way to answer these questions is to start thinking about yourself, your home life, your family and finally outside influences such as social circle, your work colleagues, your clients and mentors.
Write down your answers and be as detailed as possible.
Question #1: What does success mean to me?
This answer should be based on YOUR definition of success, not what you see others doing on Instagram or TV. Again, start from home; what makes you a successful father, mother, partner, son, daughter etc. then think about what makes you successful in business or at work? What are your strengths?
If your definition of success is keeping food in the fridge and the mortgage paid every month then that’s fine.
Finally, ask yourself what makes you successful at doing those things or creating those outcomes?
Question #2: What do I love doing / What am I passionate about?
Think about what invigorates you. If you had one thing planned for tomorrow and you had to jump out of bed at 5 am to be able to get it done, what would it be?
Note: You do not have to be highly skilled within your area of passion – if you love it enough you can practise and become more proficient at it later on.
Question #3: If I woke up tomorrow morning and had unlimited wealth, what would I do?
Let’s be honest, money is a big reason, sometimes the only reason we get up in the morning.
Think about it this way, if you woke up tomorrow and had access to an unlimited amount of cash, would you still be as passionate about your business or your job?
If you had unlimited wealth who would you spend time with the most? Where would you go and what would you do? What opportunities would you create for others and for yourself?
Question #4: What legacy do I want to leave behind?
This is a big one and a subject that I think everyone subconsciously is scared to think about.
Ask yourself; What is your purpose in life and what do you stand for? What are your values? How will your family and friends remember you? Who or what will be the torchbearer of your last name? When you are gone, what impact would you have left on people’s lives?
Write your “Why” as a narrative. Here is my version to help you:
“My Why is to be a provider. Being a provider means serving and helping others become better versions of themselves in life and business.
Being a provider means creating opportunities for my family and friends to achieve their own goals and dreams.
It means providing Cheriyah, Imani and Micah with the best possible opportunities in education and the ability to travel the world.
Being a provider means that in 2042 (when I am 60 years old) I can spend every day with my family and travel as much as I choose to.
Being a provider means I leave behind a legacy of well balanced and loving children who have assets and can live on their terms.”
Step 2: Set Your Goals Using This Simple Framework.
We have dug deep and figured out our “why” now let’s get to the fun stuff and plan out our next 12 months.
The framework we are going to use has 6 elements to it and they are as follows:
Business / Financial, Family, Spiritual, Mental, Physical and Philanthropic.
For each segment, you are going to list a minimum of 2 goals.
In order for this to be successful you need to get specific – Be detailed, put dates and deadlines on each goal and bring them into the present.
For example, avoid using “I will” or “I want to” i.e. “I will sell X amount of products per day” or “I want to achieve this goal”
Start each goal with “I have” or “I am”.
For example “I am selling X amount of products per day” or even “Today is October the 16th and I have achieved XYZ objective.”
Using “I am” or “I have” is part of a process of visualisation and making things real.
Here are the 6 different segments:
#1: Business / Financial.
For most business owners, their number one goal is “I am going to make X amount of money this year”.
It’s fine to pull a number out of the air and set that as your desired outcome, but in order for that number to be realistic, you need to get specific- how will you get there? What hurdles will you need to overcome in your business to achieve this target? How do you plan to serve your customers differently this year than the last?
My goal-setting sample:
- “Today is the 29th December 2017, and my turnover for 2017 is £XXX,XXX. I have achieved this by serving my audience and creating world class content. In exchange for the valuable content that I have to deliver to my audience every week, 50 of them have become clients who were happy to pay £X,XXX each for consultancy services and online course products.”
Note that I have listed the date, the number of clients I would need in order to achieve this goal and how I will gain each client.
This is the category that took the most time for me to write and it could have taken even longer.
If you read my “Why” you will see that family and friends are very important to me.
There are so many people in my life that I would like to visit or spend more time with, but it’s impossible to do everything with everyone that you can think of. I decided to keep my family goals simple and focused on my children, my partner and my immediate family.
My goal-setting sample:
- “It’s the last week of July 2017 and Chanelle, Cheriyah, Imani, Micah and myself are waiting for our flight at Heathrow airport. We are taking our 1st family vacation to Florida.”
This may not be applicable to everyone but for me, being spiritually connected and acknowledging a Higher being (God, Jehovah, Allah, etc.) is very important.
In this segment do whatever works for your own personal beliefs.
My goal-setting sample:
- “I will give thanks to the Most-High every day for at least 3 people or things that I am happy for in my life.”
- “I will pray with Micah (my son) before he goes to bed at least 5 times per week.”
The mental aspect of being a business owner is indescribably difficult. We often try to focus on too many things at the same time and end up achieving half of what we intended to do.
It’s important that we spend time on improving ourselves week by week and month by month. I like to listen to podcasts and audiobooks which are either business or productivity related to improving my mental game.
My goal-setting sample:
- “I have listened to 2 business related audio book this month and intend to listen to two more every month for the rest of this year.”
- “I am listening to podcasts which will help me to improve my organisational skills. This helps me to improve my ability to turn down projects and/or social requests which limit my time and deter me from important activities.”
Mental and physical are Ying and Yang. It’s difficult to master both, but making small improvements every day will make a huge difference come December 2017.
My goal-setting sample:
- “It is December 29th, 2017, I have just completed my 240th workout for the year! I have spent a minimum of 1 hour in the gym at least 20 times per month.”
- “It is July 31st, 2017 and I am on holiday with my family. I can comfortably sunbathe on the beach without being conscious of my physique. I am proud of my body and the hard work I have put in thus far this year.”
“God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.”
– Billy Graham.
A good business serves their clients well. A great business serves their clients and the greater community exceptionally well.
Giving back is very important to me. In the past, I have worked with a handful of organisations to serve the homeless and mentor children in care homes and ex-offenders.
Unfortunately, In the past few years I have not been as involved as I would like to, so in 2017 I plan to be proactive and seek opportunities where I can serve my community as often as possible.
My goal-setting sample:
- “It is November and I have just finished delivering my first presentation to a secondary school in the borough of Brent. My presentation gave the children between the ages of 14-15 a step by step blueprint on how to create content and build an audience online. This, in turn, will help those children start to think about direct to consumer relationships and Entrepreneurship”
Deciding on your goals and writing them should take a few hours. If your goals change slightly as the year goes on don’t panic, I have edited my goals over the first few days of the year and I foresee myself continuing that over the next few weeks.
Focus on being specific, realistic and actionable.
Step 3: Review Your Goals Everyday
Consistency + Urgency= A winning formula for goal-setters.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Choose a time every day to rewrite your goals and stick to it!
This could be first thing in the morning, as you sit at your desk or before you go to bed, just ensure that you are consistent and relentless. It should become as habitual as brushing your teeth in the morning.
By December 31st, 2016 you should have completed 365 entries into your notebook.
Next, write the date down at the top of each day’s page.
What’s the purpose of this exercise?
As the days and weeks pass and you rewrite your goals EVERY DAY, you will start to think more critically about the tasks you are executing or the type of work you are involved in.
You will ask yourself
- “How does what I am doing right now impact my goals?”
- “How does this activity help me to achieve XYZ outcome?
- “Is spending this much time in front of my laptop whilst I am at home congruent with my family related goals?”
Asking these questions and actively improving your decision-making every day will revolutionise your business and have a direct impact on the outcome of your year.
It may seem arduous having to complete the same entry day in and day out but think about it like this:
Deciding which goals you should prioritise this year is the hard part.
All that is left is to take 5 minutes per day to write and review these goals daily. The time you save by making better decisions will pay you back in abundance!
Where do I write my goals down?
Every year I create a bespoke notebook for myself, with my name, company logo and a catch phrase on it. Here is my 2017 personalised notebook:
I enjoy personalising my notebook. Every time I pick it up or open it, I feel a special connection with what is written inside and my name on the outside of it. It is a strange feeling but I highly recommend you do the same and invest in one.
The prices are nominal and range from £5 for a soft cover and up to £20 for a hardcover. You can create your own at either of these online shops (these are not affiliate links):
Note: You will probably have to reorder the notebook again throughout the course of the year, so if there is an offer to save money by bulk-buying your own notebook it may be worth investing a little extra.
The Miya Bailey EcoSystem
Miya Bailey is an artist from Atlanta, Georgia.
He also an incredibly inspiring Entrepreneur with a diverse business portfolio which includes, 2 tattoo shops called “City of Ink” an art gallery and studio in downtown Atlanta. He is also a film producer and created an independent documentary which was nominated for a number of awards.
On his social media accounts, he often posts images or videos of himself in the creative process. He recently posted these two images on Facebook which I thought were interesting:
In my experience, the concept of an Ecosystem isn’t used very frequently in business. Miya’s EcoSystem (or Economy System as he calls it) is actually a navigation tool for his business goals.
“Working on my MASTERPLAN for Atlanta’s creative community.
Creating JOBS for visual artists.
I do not believe in that “starving artists” crap… we feed our families
by creating art for a living.
We are the City of Ink Family and this is our economy system for Atlanta
His theme or his “Why” is to provide jobs for Atlanta’s creative community.
This is a theme that he believes in passionately as once upon a time he himself was a starving artist. Additionally, his Economy System is part of creating a legacy in his name and for his family.
Step 4: Creating Your Own EcoSystem
My goals for this year are not as grand as Miya’s and if you are the same then that is fine.
Also, the “Theme” of my Ecosystem is different to the “Why” of my goal-setting. The reason for this is that my goal-setting includes personal goals which encompass my family. The EcoSystem is unique because it is focused exclusively on your business.
Here is how to create your own Ecosystem:
This is where we bring together your business goals and your theme/legacy.
What are the top 4 business/career objectives you wish to achieve this year?
Create a spider diagram on a piece of paper with your name or business name in the middle.
One of your objectives could be to launch a new product or service. Another could be to begin researching a new industry and start creating weekly video blogs to target that audience.
Each objective should be actionable and have a specific outcome related to your business goals.
#2: The Connection.
How do your objectives feedback into your current business model? How are they interconnected with your current services or offerings? How can you leverage your current audience/customers to make your EcoSystem objectives come to life?
#3: Your Team.
Write down a list of people who can help you to achieve those objectives. Take a look through your phone book, email list and social media followers- It could be a family member, an accountant, a recruiter, a graphic designer etc.
#4: Make it Real.
Bring your Ecosystem to life by designing, printing and putting it on your wall. Canva is a fantastic FREE tool to help non-graphic design people (myself included) create professional looking graphics.
It is pretty simple to use, but if you struggle then there is a Tutorial section on the site which will help you get started.
I used the Infographic template under the “Blogging and eBook Designing” section to create my own. Here it is on my bedroom wall:
Iron Sharpens Iron: My challenge should you choose to accept it…
What are you working on this year? Do you have a specific revenue target you would like to reach this year? Are you looking to start your own business? Are you seeking a career change? Are you going to start studying this year?
Whatever it maybe, my suggestion is that rather than doing it individually, let’s do it together.
Let’s make sure that we annihilate our goals in 2017 and move into 2018 (it’s only 358 days away!) without the fear of failure… or even worse hating ourselves for not trying.
Here’s what to do:
#1: Get it done: Follow the instructions above and write down your Why, Goals and Ecosystem. Email it to me here: firstname.lastname@example.org your email’s subject should be: “It’s done! My Goals and Ecosystem for 2017”
#2: Facebook Community: If I receive up to 50 emails from you guys I will set up a special Facebook Community called “The GS (Goal-Setting) Revolutionaries” for us to all participate in. We can review each other’s goals and ensure that we are smashing our targets by having accountability groups.
#3: Meet up: If I receive 100 emails then I have something very special in mind. I will organise a 1-day mini workshop at the end of Quarter 1 (Mid April) in central London. We will be covering everyone’s progress over the first quarter and map out how to crush our goals in the following quarter. This will be free of charge with a number of special guest speakers and complimentary refreshments.
The deadline to join this challenge is the 17th January @ 11.59pm so make sure you get started and join today!
January 17th is known as “Ditch New Years Resolutions Day” with 42% of people not making it past the first month.
Take your time and think through your goals. When you are finished or if you need help, then please email me or leave your comments in the section below. I can’t wait to read them!
Finally, thank you so much for reading this post. I hope it has helped you to create a fantastic strategy which will propel you to greater heights in 2017.