I was listening to a song on the radio the other day by singer / songwriter Brad Paisley. In the song he talks about what he would say to himself if he was looking back to the days when he was 17 years old and writing a letter to look out for the dips in life that cause so much pain. One line in the song talks about the goal of any 17 year old to be Friday night and whatever party was going on at the time. I am sure that was the same for many of us and it certainly was for me. I found it funny how things change in our lives such as goal setting, viewing the future, and so on. Have we changed from those days really?
In my day in high school certainly the goal was to get to Friday night and the party. Looking a week out was not even in the cards. As I got a little older my goals stretched to two to four years down the road. I think that is normal for most folks and many of us that teach goal setting teach 6 months to 5 years depending on the situation, but is that far enough? Where I see many entrepreneurs lacking is that their goals don’t go far enough. They may go out five years but those are working goals. To really hit your vision and keep yourself motivated for the long term you need to go out 10, 15, or more years. What will your life be like then? What types of milestones will you have hit at that point?
Many entrepreneurs because they are focusing on 5 year goals stop if they feel that will be too hard to keep going, when really you have just started. Think about it this way, you’re 40 years old starting your business. You have the recommended 6 month, 1 year, and 5 year goals set. You think that is long term. If you are going to retire at 65 that is 25 years from the time you started your business. So five years is not even a quarter of the way. If you take 5 years to get your business started you will think you’re a failure, give up, and miss on the 15 years of success you could have had. So think of goals setting as far as you can. The 5 year goals are operational goals, they are not achievement goals. Those visions of success at the end will be the same visions keeping you motivated in the beginning.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant. More information can be found on his website at www.outridge.ca