Hey goal achievers, Kristin here. Today, I am sharing one of my goal achievement strategies – the quarterly review. I am starting to hear the defeat in people’s voices as they recognize they are off-track from where they thought they would be at the end of this first quarter. So, I am eager to share this process with you because it was a game-changer for my business last year!
Achieving your most meaningful 2021 goals is like running a marathon. You are pumped up, excited, and a bit nervous at the start line. Then, you settle in for the first few miles and think, “This won’t be so bad. I got this.” The mind starts to wander around mile 8 or 9, and you think, “Man, I’ve been running a while, and I still have a long way to go. I am hungry, and my feet are starting to hurt.” Maybe you even start to question why you paid to run this race in the first place. Then, all of a sudden, you are at the halfway mark and feel a renewed sense of energy. A good song comes on your running playlist, and the next thing you know, you are at mile 20. Woohoo – only a 10k left!
Suddenly, your legs feel like concrete, and time slows down. You are convinced you’ve run another mile, only to find out it’s been a tenth of a mile, and you seriously think about laying down on the side of the road. But your family is waiting for you near the finish line, so you muster up the strength to keep moving one foot in front of another. Then you see it – the mile 26 marker – and all of a sudden, you pick up the pace, forget about all of the hardships, doubt, misery and fist pump your way over the finish line feeling victorious, accomplished, and hungry. Can any other marathoners relate?
No matter where you are in your goal achievement marathon, you can benefit from a quarterly review. I am going to give you all the details on:
I’m continually fascinated by the difference between goal setters and goal achievers. I believe we all have dreams in our hearts and desires for our lives. But in my work coaching and developing small business owners, I’ve noticed differences in the way achievers approach goals and how they intentionally shape their mindset.
Achievers have a great deal of clarity, and they work consistently (not perfectly) to achieve their goals. They also regularly grow their confidence and courage. Carol Dweck is a mindset expert and, in her research, has found that people either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. During difficult times, those with a growth mindset are prone to prevail.
With the first quarter coming to a close, are you operating from a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? If you have a fixed mindset, you likely gave up on your goals, believed it’s too difficult to change, and feel defeated. If you have a growth mindset, you recognize now is an ideal time to work on your business and goals by reflecting and planning for the second quarter. We still have three quarters remaining in 2021 to grow, evolve our limiting beliefs, establish new habits and make massive progress in the direction of our most meaningful goals!
I was fortunate to work for a firm that partnered with a powerhouse consultant, Jan Torrisi Mokwa. Jan facilitated our quarterly leadership meetings, and I was always impressed with how she could command the room’s attention and inspire a group of leaders to embrace accountability towards goals. Jan was an incredible mentor and played a huge role in inspiring me to do the work I do today. When I launched my business, I knew that I was going to implement my own version of a quarterly review because of the success our team experienced working with Jan.
I believe reflecting and planning are critical for goal achievement. Each week, I conduct the Friday Ritual, where I write down my weekly wins to grow my confidence and remind me of the progress I’ve made. I note the lessons I learned in the week to remain courageous in the pursuit of my goals, and identify my priorities for the next week.
At the end of the month, I complete a month-end goal review to get clarity on my progress towards my goals, celebrate what went well over the month, and determine the changes I need to make in the coming month. The quarterly review combines some of the weekly and monthly review elements, but it is an opportunity to step out of your business and think strategically.
Without a quarterly review, you run the risk of doing the same things over and over again. The power of a quarterly review lies in pinpointing a few key strategies that will build momentum towards your goal when executed. I re-read my notes from last year’s Q1 review. I remember sitting on my bed (our bedroom served as my office for several months last year) with my laptop and notebook, and walking myself through quarterly review questions. It was painful to look at my revenue progress. I was at 9% of my revenue goal for 2020 three months into the year. I learned at that moment that I needed to make some changes or I ran the risk of finishing the year wildly off from my intended revenue goal. I thought about what I was willing to change from a schedule perspective and what I needed to do from an activity perspective. I left that review session with a clear plan to increase prospecting and initial client conversations.
Taking the time to engage in a quarterly review allowed me to reflect on what was working and what wasn’t working. Instead of sending the same outreach emails, I tweaked my process. One note from my review said, “Offer times – weak emails get weak replies.” That was a game-changer for me the rest of March and into April. Instead of asking people to meet with me to discuss coaching, I offered times for us to meet. This didn’t mean everyone suddenly said yes, but it led to a lot more coaching conversations. I went from sixteen initial conversations in March to thirty-one in April! I welcomed six new clients to my coaching practice in April alone because I was clear on what I needed to do to achieve results.
If you are still not convinced of the power of a quarterly review, how about this? I grew my revenue in Q2 last year by 54% using the format I am about to share with you!
Before we jump into the how-to, let’s address some roadblocks that might get in the way of your review process.
You might be thinking, “I understand the benefit of a quarterly review, but I don’t have the time.” Not having the time is one of the most common excuses we use that prevents goal achievement. When you notice yourself saying that you don’t have time, I encourage you to pause and really ask yourself if that is true. Do you honestly not have time? If so, why not?
There could be a lot of emotions fueling this excuse – fear, disappointment in where you are versus where you thought you would be, even shame and frustration. The feelings of being behind or off-track can falsely lead us to believe we need to work harder. We think, “I should spend the quarterly review time working on my business, driving more activity, seeing more people, making more calls, etc.” But this thinking is exactly why we need to pause and reflect – to understand what is actually working so we can do more of it, and what is not working so we can change and try something different.
Perhaps things are going great, better than expected, and you question why you should invest the time to review. Awesome! I still recommend you take the time to understand what is working, so you keep doing it. Have you ever found yourself stopping something because it worked? I hear this on occasion with clients who say something like, “Oh yeah, I used to ask for referrals that way. I don’t know why I stopped because it worked!”
Reflecting and planning when you are on-track can be an inspiring way to celebrate your efforts and progress, and stay on track throughout the next quarter.
Just how much time does a quarterly review take? I recommend you block 90 minutes to two hours on your calendar to conduct your quarterly review.
I recognize that some of you are managing a lot right now between business, parenting, relationships, life. If 90 minutes to 2 hours feels daunting, try breaking the review up into 3 or 4 smaller sessions. Is watching one less TV show or waking up 20 minutes earlier for some quiet time worth it to be in a stronger position to achieve your goals?
Fear is another roadblock that can prevent you from engaging in a quarterly review. Perhaps you are afraid to confront the reality of your situation. It feels more comfortable to shy away from the data and tracking because you already know you are off-track. Or maybe, you are afraid to do what you need to do to achieve your goals.
If you are feeling paralyzed by fear, I recommend asking yourself – what’s the worst that can happen? Really drill into this scenario and go several layers deep around the worst possible outcome if you review or implement the strategies that scare you.
Next, flip the script. Ask yourself – what’s the best that can happen? In the example I mentioned earlier, the best that happened for me was that I walked out of my review with an actual plan to get back on track for my goals. After going through the review questions, I felt more confident to understand what was holding me back and created a plan to get back in control of chasing my goals. In general, when my clients work through these two questions – what’s the worst and what’s the best – they find that not embracing the fear to go for the potential best is far scarier than the worst-case scenarios.
Start by reading your long-term vision. If you don’t have a long-term vision that excites you, this could be a great time to write one. Reminding yourself of where you want to go long-term is a great way to align the strategies you plan to implement in the next quarter to the bigger picture. It’s also empowering to note the parts of your vision that have come to or are close to reality. If you need help writing your vision, check out the blog post on overcoming vision skepticism. Then answer the following reflection questions regarding your vision:
Next, answer the following questions regarding the previous quarter:
1. What is your most meaningful goal for this year?
2. What progress did you make towards your goal in the previous quarter?
3. Do you consider yourself to be on-track or off-track and why?
If you haven’t outlined your most meaningful goal, sign up to receive my breakout plan. I created this tool to help you think strategically about your most meaningful goal.
Don’t skip over the why part of the last question. Analyzing why you are on-track or off-track is where the gold lies in this process and allows you to develop meaningful strategies to implement in the second quarter.
4. Where did you excel last quarter?
I’m a huge believer in celebrating along the way. Giving yourself credit for what’s working, the progress you’ve made, and the growth you’ve experienced is critical for growing your confidence on your goal achievement journey.
5. What lessons did you learn last quarter?
We are going to mess up and make some mistakes along the way. I’ve never met a successful person that did everything perfectly. Some of our greatest lessons come from failures, disappointments, and setbacks. Once you learn to appreciate the lessons along the way, you can grow your courage to keep pushing through fear.
6. What is no longer serving you (beliefs, processes, mindset, habits, etc.) that you need to eliminate or evolve in the next quarter?
Think about the stories you’ve told yourself last quarter that did not serve you well. How will you re-write those stories next quarter?
Do you have any limiting beliefs that are getting in the way of your ability to execute consistently?
Below are some of the common limiting beliefs I hear in my work with clients:
If you have some limiting beliefs to work through, I recommend journaling about them. Why do you believe them? Where do they come from? How do they hinder you? What do you want to do about them?
I also loved the book – You Are a Badass at Making Money and found it very helpful when working on money beliefs.
Mindset is a critical component of goal achievement. Henry Ford said it best, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” During your review, check in with your mindset.
Once you’ve answered the questions above, outline three strategies that support this goal. Choose one that excites you, one that scares you, and one that is fundamental to your success.
Next Quarter Planning
Now that you’ve reflected on the past and checked in with your mindset, it’s time to plan for what’s to come by answering the following questions in anticipation of the next quarter:
I hope this blog leaves you energized to take time to work on your business or on your goals by conducting a quarterly review. Imagine the clarity you will get from answering the reflection questions and leaving your review session with three strategies to implement in the second quarter. I’ve experienced the power of reflecting and pausing firsthand, and I am excited for you to grow in the direction of your goals!
With that goal achievers, sign up for your breakout plan, read the blog posts and as always – keep celebrating your wins, note your lessons learned, and identify the priorities that will move you closer to your most meaningful goal!