You’ve probably heard the advice that you need to prepare your “30-second commercial” or “Elevator Speech” to introduce yourself. The idea is that you can polish your introduction and practice it so that you don’t have to think when someone asks what you do.
You need to take the same approach to your goals. What’s the 30-second commercial for your goals?
In my network consulting business, I have developed a straight-forward, powerful tag line: “We design, build, and support Microsoft Networks.” Of course there’s lots of details around this, and a conversation may wander in many directions. But when someone wants to know what we do, that’s the answer. It’s clear. It’s specific. It’s brief and easily memorized.
Similarly with Relax Focus Succeed®. We “Encourage Personal and Professional Success Through Balance.” You want the details? I’m happy to discuss them. But this is a concise statement of our goals. Again, this tag line gets right to the point, and it’s easily memorized.
This same approach is very powerful for goal-setting. You may not want to share your personal goals at a dinner party. But if I asked you to name the three most important goals in your life, how long would it take you? It should take thirty seconds. Instead of responding to the question “What do you do?” imagine yourself responding to the question:
What do you want?
Memorizing your business tag line drives your business success. You are clear on what you do. You know instantly, and without thinking about it, what your business focus is. Others can learn this very quickly when they hear your tag line. You can even use it to guide discussions within your business. (Should we start carrying this new product? No, it’s not part of our business plan/Yes, it works well with our business plan.)
Memorizing your big goals will drive your personal success.
In addition to making great cocktail conversation, the memorization process helps you to fine-tune your goals, articulate exactly what you want, and build your own commitment. This happens because the process of memorization requires you to focus, focus, focus on your goals.
|“It’s not your commitment I’m worried about. . . .|
It’s your commitment to your commitment.”
— Kenneth Blanchard and Robert Lorber
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Of course it’s not!
There’s a lot of work in bringing meaning to our lives. Most people flounder around doing what they want and what others want, but never taking time to consider how to bring true meaning and value into their lives. As a result, they are like a pinball, bounced around by forces they have no control over.
Many become bored or depressed because their lives didn’t turn out the way they’d hoped. But they never did the work to create a plan. They never worked the plan. They really didn’t give their lives the opportunity to satisfy them. They just hoped their lives would satisfy them.
Here’s how to get started.
First, take some time to consider the Principles and Values that are most important to you. In other words, what do you care about in your life? Honesty? Integrity? A long, healthy life? Financial comfort?
Don’t just rattle off what you think others want to hear. There’s no point in going after someone else’s view of happiness. It will take some time and some effort to create your list of principles and values. Eventually you should boil this down to a handful of items–no more than five.
Don’t worry if one of your values seems to conflict with your current behavior. For example, if you want good relationships with people but don’t have them right now, that’s okay. This is a list of what’s important to you. As frail humans, we frequently find ourselves at odds with our own ideals.
Once you have four or five values written down, you can begin formulating a vision of what you want for yourself. Perhaps the best way to work on this is to write down whatever thoughts come to you about:
- Your values
- Your life
- What you want
- What you don’t want
- What’s missing
- Your motivations
- What makes you happy
Again, this is hard work. You may be thinking about elements of your life you’ve never really focused on before. Don’t plan to do this all at once. Take you time. Perhaps write down some thoughts every day for a week. Leave it for a few days and then go back.
No hurry. You have the rest of your life!
When you have enough thoughts written down, spend some time sorting through them and putting them in order. What’s most important to you?
Don’t worry if some of these thoughts seem arrogant or selfish or self-centered. This is about you. This is your life and you’re working on your happiness. No one else ever has to see any of this. Sometimes our society makes us feel guilty for thinking about ourselves. Just remember: You also have an obligation to take care of yourself.
After much hard work you can begin working on a one-sentence statement for your goals. Call it a mission statement or a vision statement, or whatever you like. At first this may be a paragraph–or several paragraphs. Boil it and boil it and boil it until you’ve condensed your “30-second commercial” of personal values into a single sentence.
This is not a one-time exercise.
Write down your values, principles, and some thoughts on what’s important to you. Write down your mission/vision statement. From time to time, take it out and read through it. Evaluate whether this still represents your values and vision. Fine-tune. If you don’t have your vision memorized, work on it. It will guide you, but it has to be an automatic response–not something you think about.
Then, at the next dinner party you’ll be ready for the question
What do you want?