Are you Goal Setting to get a job or to run the company? Make sure you’re on the right track.

A lot of people have good intentions when it comes to setting professional goals.  You know the ones that are different from the Christmas dinner and Birthday parties to summer vacations and the like.  They establish goals such as, “achieve career success” or simply, “be a successful business person.” They tell you they know what the words mean and don’t need to write them down. It takes too much time – and the “vision” changes.  These people are somewhat on the right track. They understand that goals act as a roadmap to get you from where you are to where you want to be. They help you define your purpose and keep you motivated to stay on track. So, what do you want?  Broad ambiguous words or positive concrete goals?  With specific goals you can then structure your daily activities to make sure that your behavior is in line with your desired end result.

Let’s go back to my “somewhat on track”, unfortunately, the goals mentioned above don’t amount to much in reality.  They don’t truly define what “success” means.  In fact, a lot of people use success as a “blanket goal,” stating simply that their objective is to “be successful.”  How will they know when they’ve actually reached their goal?   Success is a very subjective term.   It means something different to everyone.  Without clearly defining what it means to you, you’ll be wandering around without a clear sense of direction.

Here’s a short story to help illustrate the difference between “just wanting to go to work to be successful” and clearly defining the steps it takes to create success in the career.  This is a true railroad story.   In the early 1950s, an incident took place on a sweltering summer afternoon alongside a railroad track where a crew of workers was doing some repair work.  A train came chugging down the track and pulled off on a side rail. A window opened and a voice—a man’s voice—shouted out, “Dave! Dave Anderson, is that you?”   It was; in fact, Dave Anderson was in charge of the crew. “Yeah, Jim, it’s me,” he shouted back.

The man on the train, Jim Murphy, yelled out, “Well, come on over here and let’s chat a while.”

So Dave stopped what he’d been doing and joined Jim Murphy in his private air-conditioned railroad car for almost an hour, no doubt happy to get out of the broiling sun.  When the conversation ended, he made his way back to his crew working on the track.  The flabbergasted crew stared at him in utter shock and said something to the effect of, “That was Jim Murphy, the president of the railroad.”

“Yup, it sure was,” Anderson said.

They all gathered around and excitedly wanted to know how Dave knew Jim Murphy, the president of the railroad, for God sakes, to say nothing about he got to be such good buddies with the man…. and on a first-name basis to boot!

Dave explained: “Well, it’s quite simple—when I started with the railroad over 20 years ago, Jim Murphy started at the same time; we’ve been pals ever since.”

Now the crew was astonished as much as they were confused. They wanted to know how it was that Dave and Jim Murphy started working for the railroad at the same time and Murphy rose to such dizzying heights while old Dave was still working on the track in the hot sun.  How in God’s name did that happen?

Dave looked wistfully up into the sky and said, “A little over 20 years ago Jim Murphy went to work for the railroad; I went to work for a $1.75 an hour.”  That says a lot about wanting a “successful career” with the railroad and being able to see the end result and defining the steps to advance your career to be as successful as you hoped and planned for.  See the difference?  After all, both men had good lives.

What about you?  What are you working for?  What are your goals?  Are they ordinary or are they extraordinary?  Better yet, are they outrageously extraordinary?  Now, I’ll offer you a quote, from an unknown source: “If you don’t have a dream that is so outrageous that you couldn’t possibly succeed unless God Himself puts in a personal appearance, you’re not alive.”  There’s nothing wrong being Dave Anderson; but if you want to be Jim Murphy, go for it! You just might wind up getting all the way to the top!

The story makes my point….without written goals and daily review, your vision of the future will constantly shift and change based on your daily whims. You’ll have nothing to remind you of the “big picture.” The idea of being successful one day can mean something entirely different based on circumstances and emotions. There’s no consistency and thus, the goal itself is pointless.  It’s just a word.

When setting your goals, use as many words as it takes to define exactly what success means.  Imagine what success looks like. What does a successful life feel like? Take note of the details and be specific. Carefully select income goals to reflect your idea of success. Even better, create a step-by-step income goal ladder that tracks exactly what you want to achieve at each point along the way. Be as explicit as possible.  Articulating your goals with precision and distinct vision will help provide you with a clear course of action.  Why not start with short term goals to take advantage of the contest each week?  After all, this is your company; TMC is the brand you represent.  Keep yourself on the right track.                                                                                                                        Remember, it’s in your hands.       David Myers