I was talking with a few entrepreneurs recently about goal setting. It’s that time of the year. You pull out the fancy planners and you think about, ooh, this is what I want to see happen in my business this year, and you set forth the goals. (Transcript of audio)
The conversation got really, really deep – Why haven’t you achieved some of these goals already? What’s been blocking you? What’s been challenging you? And what came up time and again – Because it’s hard. Because I start working on things, and it just takes a lot of extra work. Or I’m unclear of what it is I need to do next. Or I don’t block out the time. Or I don’t even have the time to work on these goals. And so it’s just really, really hard.
If you’re coming up against goals in your business that are hard with capital letters, here is a question that you can ask yourself to move past that hard when it comes to business goals.
Why are my goals this hard?
Now on the surface, when I say why is this thing so hard – I’m sure you probably have a very quick answer:
- Because I don’t have time
- Because I don’t have enough money
- Because I’m not sure exactly what it is that I need to do?
- When I get started, it’s just not really working right
That makes total sense. But I want to challenge you to dig in a little bit deeper. Take five minutes. Pull out your journal or talk with a business coach after you’ve had a few moments to reflect on this. Really, really, really dig in deep. Why is this thing so hard?
[02:21] Why you want to dig into this question
So let me give you an example that I’ve seen very commonly in a lot of my entrepreneurship programs. (This happens) when we start getting into the topic of marketing for business
Marketing is when you’re creating awareness. People don’t know what it is that you offer. You’re not actually getting the sale, but you’re letting people know that you have a business and this is what you do.
One of the things that often happen when we get to the marketing section is that people start diving in wanting to take the action steps. But, we often don’t take a minute to think through the strategy – How are we going to do this thing? How are we going to create awareness?
People start diving in, very typically like on social media where they reach out to friends and family. And very, very quickly, they run into all types of hiccups.
If f they’re not familiar with social media, it becomes really hard to create social media profiles and to post regularly. Or if they are posting regularly, it becomes really hard to do whatever the next step is. Now, a lot of times when we step back, and we look at these types of things, there seems to be a surface answer. If I just had more time, then I would be able to get these things done. But I’m going to challenge you to dig a little bit deeper than just taking that surface answer. Why is this thing hard?
[03:50] My example of when I dug into WHY
So I’ll out myself when I got started on social media. Because I can often relate to a lot of people in regards to this type of conversation. Social media at first, when I started using it was really hard. But when I started digging into the reason why it was hard. It wasn’t so much that it was hard to learn technically. Yes, there was a learning curve, and I had to be patient with myself with the learning curve. But that was something that, I, like many others can figure out how to overcome. Just take your time, and learn step by step.
The real reason that it was hard was that social media put me in a very uncomfortable position of having increased visibility around my business. I don’t think that I was thinking about that or really ready for that.
I would go to events and people would remember a post that I made. And I didn’t even know they were following me and then all of a sudden we’re having a conversation about it. It kind of threw me off several times. So I often would find excuses for not having the time to post on social media because this actually increased my visibility.
On the surface level, I told myself, I don’t have time. There’s some truth to that at different points. But alot of it had to do with some of the things that I had to think about as to who I was and what I want this business to do, and how it needed to represent itself. I had to be comfortable with having much more visibility as the leader of this business than what I was adjusted to being able to have. I started my business, doing a lot of work behind the scenes and was always comfortable with behind the scenes. But this new thing called social media marketing – it’s putting me a lot more forward, face forward and out there and present.
Now that was my situation. Everyone will have their own reasons why certain goals in their business are hard. The challenge for you is to be willing to dive just beneath the surface and figure out what is it really.
- Does it take time to learn something new and that makes you really, really uncomfortable? Like you have an emotional response that makes you fearful or makes you uncomfortable or upset or emotionally bothered, whatever the case may be.
And just own that. Become aware of that. (It’s) perfectly fine. Because then you can get some ideas and some tips on how to work through with that.
- Does something come up for you that you don’t even know what it is that you need to work on? Because there are so many things, they all need to be done at once and you’re just totally unclear about that thing. So you get started working on a few things, and then you realize it’s not working, but you don’t know what you need to do in order to be able to make those shifts.
Get present as to why that’s the case. Because I’m betting you’re a really intelligent person. You figured out a number of things over your life. And you figured out things probably that when you initially came to them. You didn’t know how you were going to figure it out, but you did.
- So why is this one so different, what’s really going on underneath the surface?
- What’s coming up for you that is really making this very challenging to work on?
I find a lot of times, for example, with entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs, that you may have a family or a lot of things that you’re being responsible for in multiple roles in your life. We don’t put ourselves forward first, you know, everyone else is always a priority. So then when it comes to the business, and we’re not being successful in this one area in our life, and we’re saying, oh, I need to work on these goals, I need to work on these goals. We often don’t take the step back and say, you know what, I need to start prioritizing myself and this work that I’m doing, instead of coming up with excuses why I can’t achieve those goals.
[07:46] Now, that’s just one, again, there are probably 20 or 30 or 40 different ways of how this will show up.
But I’m going to challenge you to ask this question. Why? Ask it on a very deep level.
When you first answer the question, that first answer that comes off the cuff, write it down. Look at it for a minute. But then ask why. And then dive in one more time and why again and be willing to dive in underneath the surface. If, for example, you use a journal or if you don’t, I think it’s a great way to start, be willing to journal that and write down whatever happens without judgment, without pretense, without anything that you feel that oh, this is something negative, not at all, we’re just becoming aware of what comes up for us
Or if you are working with a coach, whether it’s a group program, or whether it’s a one on one program, have a moment of vulnerability, and share what’s coming up for you with that coach, with that group program.
I’m betting 9 times out of 10, you’re not the only one that’s dealing with that. And that also, the coach or the group that you’re in can help give you a different perspective.
I worked with a client recently, for example, that had a challenge with being able to think about how to hire within the company. And we started breaking down some of the roles and realizing the reason why this thing was becoming hard. Many of the projects -they were just too big right now. So we needed to find a way to start a little bit smaller from a cash flow perspective. But the entrepreneur herself had to really shift how she was approaching that business so that she wouldn’t feel like losing control.
It wasn’t just because of the cash flow, because she felt that she might lose control if she herself was not in charge of everything.
So I hope that this idea really sits in your mind today and that if you start looking at the goals that you want to accomplish this year, in your business, you will take a moment and step back and evaluate the ones that I haven’t done that keeps showing up on my calendar again and again.