“Taking the bull by the horns.” My father used to say this to me when I was growing up. I’d nod and think he meant, “Just go do it.” So I did, accomplishing whatever was put in my path. The problem was I didn’t understand that what he meant was that I could control the bull if I had him by the horns. So for my first blog post, let’s talk about being deliberate.
What does that have to do with you or your company? To me, being deliberate means having a clear goal in mind and setting out to systematically achieve it. Is your goal to add a new line of service to your existing business or double in size next year? Is it to start your own business? Or is it to be at a vice president level by the time you’re 35? Whether the goals are business or personal, here are five thoughts about being deliberate:
1. Regardless of what your goal is, you must have one and take deliberate steps toward it each day. It isn’t going to happen automatically while you’re swamped with your other priorities. If you’re not paying attention, it won’t happen. That’s why the experts say “write it down.” I’d add, “in a prominent place” so that you see it every day. That could be a bathroom mirror or on a screen saver – whatever works to keep it top of mind.
2. This goal also becomes the litmus test decisions are measured against. Does that new offering or opportunity bring you closer to or farther away from your stated goal? When analyzing a choice, start by looking at all the ways this opportunity brings you closer to your goal, and ways it distracts from it. Which is longer? Which ones carry more weight?
3. Be careful not to let the tail wag the dog. A common mistake people make is to realign their goals to fit an opportunity. A promotion into sales may sound great, but can you see yourself doing that in 10 years? Or that opportunity to add a new line of business with the promise of increased revenue may seem tempting, but it may create a drain on capital resources or personnel which you aren’t prepared to handle. It’s okay to make a choice to change your goal, but do so with your eyes wide open.
4. Anticipate obstacles and don’t let them get in your way. If you are lacking a certain skill, or your strength is in a different area, get help. That might mean taking a class, finding a mentor, or hiring someone to handle a critical role for you. The main point is: find the right resource! There is a tremendous amount of energy wasted on doing things the hard way.
5. Reassess regularly. Situations change, life throws curve balls, priorities change and we change. Periodically reflecting upon stated goals helps keep them fresh and pertinent to us.
Remember, goals aren’t written in stone and can change over time. What you want to prevent is waking up in 15 years and wondering “how did I end up here?” Be deliberate. Set a goal and take the steps to achieve it with intent.