What do you do when you are off track for a goal? Do you think, “I’m so far off track, what’s the point anymore?” Do you give up on your goal? Or do you seek to understand, learn from your journey and start taking action so you can make progress towards your goal?
If you tend to give up or doubt yourself when the goal-seeking gets tough, I’m excited to share this blog with you. I purposely scheduled it for the end of September to also share the importance of a quarterly review. Yes, this is your reminder to engage in a quarterly review if you have not done so already.
But I also feel called to share some of my personal experience with business goal achievement this year. For the last few weeks, I thought about recording an Elite Achievement episode and wondered what messae I should share. I was recording a podcast episode last week as a guest, which is so much fun for me to do. I love showing up on other podcasts as a guest and sharing my passion for goal setting, goal tracking, and achieving goals. Last week, the host asked me to talk about my goals for the year. I shared my goal around being a guest on different podcasts and how I’m excelling at achieving this goal. I also shared my goal to read 36 books and how I’m making progress. Then, I mentioned how I am off track for my business revenue goal this year.
Keep in mind – the host didn’t ask me to talk about being off track specifically. And I certainly didn’t plan to go into this podcast recording to talk about being off track for a business goal this year. It just sort of happened. As soon as the words “off track” left my mouth, I started thinking, what the heck am I doing? Why am I talking about being off track for one of my business goals? Mentally, I started beating myself up for being less than perfect.
What will people think about the goal achievement coach who is off track for one of her own goals? I’m supposed to be the one who has this all figured out. Despite these negative mental narratives, I managed to finish the interview. When we stopped recording, I realized I found a message that needed to be shared.
We are all on different goal achievement journeys. I’m sure there are some goals you are currently crushing, goals you confidently believe that you will achieve this year. And others, where like me, you find yourself off track wondering what happened and why.
In this blog, I am sharing some of the struggles of being off track for a goal and the important lessons I am learning on my journey. I’m also sharing how we can move forward when we are off track. Achieving your goals isn’t a perfect process. You aren’t always on track, and you don’t always feel super confident. But, at the time I’m publishing this blog, we still have an entire quarter left in 2021. This year is far from over, and we can all still progress toward our goals if we learn to get out of our own way!
When I finished that podcast interview and realized I wanted to talk about being off track for a goal, I grabbed a random piece of paper that was on my desk. I started jotting down a couple of thoughts and recalled some passages from books I’ve read recently. It shocked me how easily the content flowed.
I’m hopeful that you’ll be able to use this blog as permission to facilitate your own reflecting and planning process. And that you’ll go into the fourth quarter feeling informed, empowered, and inspired to make progress in the direction of your goals.
One of the biggest struggles with being off track is our desire to give up on a goal or change the goal. Fear of failure shows up, and we find ourselves flirting with the idea of giving up, or letting the goal go, or changing our goal. That fear is often motivated by our desire to stay comfortable.
I get asked a lot when we should change our goals. My response is always, go back to your long-term vision. If the goal you are going after still connects with that vision, consider changing your strategy or adjusting your timeline. If the goal no longer connects with your vision, then you have an opportunity to re-imagine that goal. And to set a goal that does connect with your long-term vision.
In addition to the desire to give up on a goal, I struggle with feeling like a failure when I am off track. A couple of weeks ago, I was inviting women to join the Honor Your Ambition mastermind, and a friend replied to my email and said, “You should be proud of what you’ve done this past year because it’s a lot.” And I thought, well, that was really nice of her to say, but it doesn’t make sense because I’m off track for one of my business goals. I realized at that moment that I was robbing myself of the joy of recognizing where I am this year in business versus where I was at last year — robbing myself of what I have accomplished, what I have put in place, and what I have implemented. I was missing out on the joy by overemphasizing the one goal that I am off track for.
I don’t have a crystal ball that predicts the future. So, I don’t know exactly how this year is going to end. But what I do know is if I continue to overemphasize and over-focus on the one business goal that I’m off track for, I’m going to miss all the great things that I have accomplished this year. Isn’t it interesting how our minds overly focus on the negative? Thanks to this negativity bias, we can lose sight of our growth. We can lose sight of how we are progressing and lose sight of the things we have accomplished. When I recorded my thoughts on this for the Elite Achievement podcast episode, it was a couple of days before I was scheduled to conduct my quarterly business review. I planned to come out of that review session with a couple of clear strategies to implement in the fourth quarter, and most importantly, an understanding of the beliefs that I need to evolve to achieve my goals.
As I go into my review, I’m going to keep four lessons in mind. And these four lessons are lessons that I’ve learned over the last month or two on my own goal achievement journey. They are important to share if you are off track for one of your goals this year.
1. Lesson number one is competing commitments.
Last month, I read the book Go Big Now by Julia Pimsleur. And it was the exact message I needed at the time. I love when that happens. I love when I hear a podcast or read a book, and I’m like, yes, that was what I needed right now. In the book, Julia taught me about this concept called competing commitments. I hadn’t really thought of this before. She describes a competing commitment as “An unconscious pact you have made with yourself to do something that will prevent you from reaching your goal.”
As I went into 2021, I knew I wanted more time in my business workday to create a course, launch a mastermind, and grow my skill set as a podcaster. I wanted to complete this while also continuing to passionately serve my current coaching clients. It was really important to me that I didn’t work super late into the night so I could hang out with my family and enjoy some personal time. But I found that as I started working on my course, the Honor Your Ambition mastermind, and committed to more podcast interviews, my work kept getting later and later and later into the evening. As I dedicated this energy and effort to what I consider to be longer-term projects and initiatives, it started to compete with the goal of growing my revenue.
In my mind, I started to think, where am I going to have time to add more to my plate? I’m already working so late. So, I realized that this year I had set a revenue growth goal, while I had also set the goals to implement different business initiatives that required me to pour time, energy, and effort into them. I’m so grateful that I learned about this concept of competing commitments! I would encourage you to look at the goals you’re going after this year. If there’s a goal that you are off track for achieving, is there something else in your life that is important? Is there another commitment that could be competing with this goal you’re going after? This led me to my next lesson.
2. Lesson number two is what worked last year, might not work this year.
Last year, my first year in business, it was all about the revenue. It was my first year as a business owner, and I was learning how to generate income. I was learning to get comfortable with a different flow of money because I no longer had a regular paycheck coming from a company every couple of weeks. I was really, really motivated to prove that I could make it as a goal achievement coach and a business owner. And in my mind, that proof showed up in terms of revenue. I associated big revenue with big success. Since that was extremely motivating to me last year, I went into this year and thought, okay, that worked really well. I should do it again in 2021. I should not only do it again, but I should also do it bigger, and I should do it better. How often do we do that? We achieve a stretch goal that causes us to grow, and then we think, well, I should do better next year. I should increase it more! So, I did what a lot of us do. And I raised my goal because I thought that’s what I should be doing. I should naturally accomplish more and grow my revenue every year in business. That must be what a successful business owner does. As this year progressed, I realized I was missing that fire in my belly.
A revenue focus lit me up last year. And that helped me achieve that revenue goal that was so important to me. So, what I thought was my most meaningful goal as I started in January, it turns out lacks some clarity at this point in time. My coach is helping me think through why I’m doing what I’m doing and the impact I’m looking to make. She’s helping me determine the difference between what’s uncomfortable and necessary for my business growth and what’s uncomfortable and unnecessary. And ultimately reminding me to go back to my mission and my passion for what lights me up. For me, what lights me up is actually coaching people! I love helping people get clear on what they want to achieve and grow their confidence so they can achieve it. Nothing brings me more joy in my business than when a client reaches out and says, I achieved the goal! It’s this incredibly exhilarating feeling.
So yes, revenue is a critically important business metric. But as I go into the fourth quarter, I’m going to shift my thinking around this metric. The way I thought about it last year is not serving me well on my business growth journey this year. I look forward to going back to my long-term vision statement and re-reading what I am working towards. Going back to that long-term vision statement is going to help me answer some of those questions.
The third lesson feels a bit foreign to me. So, in other words, this is a newer lesson for me.
3. Lesson number three is the power of the universe.
I am used to embracing the idea of increasing your activity, focusing on what you can control, and pouring more effort into achieving a goal. So, when I step back and ask, what is the balance of that effort and activity with the flow of the universe and intuition? It’s a big learning lesson for me.
We have a community box where you can take a book, and leave a book. I occasionally look into the box and see if there are any books that I want to read. A couple of weeks ago, I came across the book Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein. I read her book The Universe Has Your Back last year, so I’ve read some of Gabby’s work. And I remember a client raving about the book Super Attractor earlier in the year. So, I thought, I’m going to bring this book home with me. I started reading it recently, and Gabby is already teaching me so much about our thoughts, leaning into our intuition and how the universe delivers. And that it’s okay to feel good! She’s showing me a different side of the goal achievement process that I’m not as familiar with. I think maybe some of this connects to my desire to meditate more often in my yoga practice. There are many things in my life right now that are helping me embrace flow.
I think back to earlier this year and a conversation I had with my peer accountability partner around my business goals and my business initiatives. I remember saying, “I’m not actively adding new clients right now so I can focus my time and energy on creating a course and launching the Honor Your Ambition mastermind.” As I reflect on that situation, it makes so much sense. Gabby was right. The universe was giving me exactly what I was believing and exactly what I was asking for. And the moment that I stopped believing that I was not actively adding new clients was when I started to get referrals, have new coaching conversations, and new opportunities!
Gabby’s work is an incredible reminder to be mindful of my thoughts and the words I’m saying. To take a step back and ask myself, am I self-sabotaging my own results with what I am thinking, believing, and putting out into the universe?
4. Lesson number four is that the internal pressure is real.
I recognize I am the one pushing myself to grow. I am the one who believes that I need to launch new initiatives, grow my social media presence, have a top-ranked podcast, and be a sought-after goal achievement coach. These are pressures that I am putting on myself. Perhaps it is both the blessing and the curse of being a Type A ambitious business owner. But the stories I tell myself – I’m not doing enough, I’m not growing fast enough, I should be further along – are not rooted in proof. I don’t have any proof backing up these stories I’m telling myself, and quite honestly, they are distracting and likely preventing me from reaching my own potential. I recently shared with my peer accountability partner that the work I am doing right now, to understand how I can celebrate and recognize where I am and what I have built – while still reaching for more – is some of the hardest work I’ve done in my business.
I recently heard a podcast episode called Slow and Steady Growth. The host Stacey Boehman points out that we often see the 1%. So, we often see these massively successful professionals, business owners, coaches, and what they’ve done – this 1%. Then we normalize this massive growth and think, oh, well, that’s where I should be. And Stacey points out that the normal, the majority, are actually experiencing slow and steady growth. And this type of growth will help us build sustainable businesses. So yes, even me, the goal achievement coach, doesn’t have this all perfectly figured out. It feels really vulnerable to admit that because one of the things I help my clients do is close the gap between the goals they set and the goals they achieve.
I’m sharing these learnings and my insights today to help you realize that part of that gap closing process is learning how to keep moving forward when you are off track and embracing tracking, reflecting, and planning.
The process is not always perfect, and achieving your goals is not always easy. There’s that image that we can find online that shows you a straight arrow. And it’s what people think achieving goals is like. Then right next to that straight arrow, there’s a line that curves, goes backwards, goes left and right, up and down, and in all different directions. That is what closing the gap between goals that you’ve set, and goals you achieve is like. And as a business owner, I have multiple goals. So, I need to stop discounting what I have achieved and get clear on defining what is right for me and what success means to me.
How often do we do things in our businesses because we think we should? Or someone told us we should, without filtering those things through our own lens and asking, what am I really working towards? What is it that I’m really building?
I am energized to go into the fourth quarter thinking about three words – serving, connecting, inspiring.
1. Serving because I am passionate about serving my clients so they can develop an achievement mindset, so they can bounce back when they are off track and make progress in the direction of their goals. I want them to be able to celebrate their growth and success at the end of the year.
2. Connecting because I am excited to connect with other small business owners, big thinkers, and achievers. To not only learn from them but to see if there are opportunities to serve them on their goal achievement journeys.
3. Inspiring because I’m going back to my mission to help others maximize their potential and achieve their definitions of success.
In the fourth quarter, I’m going to worry less about the number of social posts going out and more about inspiring my community to learn from our goal achievement journeys, take action in the direction of our goals, and believe in ourselves so we can achieve what matters.
I’ve heard that we teach what we need to learn. For me, I am still learning about progress over perfection. I am learning to move away from shame and judgment and move towards perspective and understanding. And I’m learning the significance of going back to the 4 C’s of goal achievers – clarity, confidence, courage, and consistency.
With that goal achievers, let’s go into the fourth quarter with a renewed sense of conviction towards our goals. And remember that answering the question of why you are off track might just be one of the most important and impactful questions you explore on your goal achievement journey.