Before I talk about setting goals, I want to set the stage by talking about what it means to “think huge” — which is frankly, pretty much what it sounds like! It means to think beyond all preconceived notions… beyond anything you’ve ever done. It means to set goals you don’t YET know how to achieve. It’s “What if?” thinking. One of my personal favorites: “What if I could add a zero to my income over the next 36 months?”
Thinking huge is what differentiates people who achieve mega-success. They also surround themselves with other huge thinkers who help push them beyond their comfort zone; beyond their own limiting beliefs of what they’re capable of doing.
Does this sound like you? As a Practitioner, you went to school, got your degree, opened a Practice, maybe hired an assistant or two, and started seeing patients all day every day. You thought that’s what you were supposed to do. If all you did was look at other dental or chiropractic offices — which is what most people do — they became your only frame of reference. But, that kept you from thinking huge.
How many doctors do you know that started out by asking themselves, “How can I leverage myself? How can I grow to multiple offices? How can I be less dependent on just my OWN time, effort and energy to generate income?” THAT was huge thinking on their part.
Even if you’ve been running your Practice for 20 years with relative success, it’s never too late to think huge about significantly increasing your success and profitability. Start by looking outside your industry for breakthrough ideas.
Now that you’re ready to think huge, let’s think about your goals… which are virtually synonymous with success. Most people make these mistakes when setting goals:
- Their goals aren’t big enough to inspire them to use all of their potential. Huge goals have huge rewards which is huge motivation. Conversely, small goals have small rewards which is only small motivation.
- They believe success should be incremental, versus quantum, so they set only small goals.
- They don’t write them down!
Because the motivation to reach small goals is so… well, NON-motivating… these smaller goals, even if written down, are often missed. It’s human nature — it’s hard to stay focused and apply even the minimal discipline necessary when the reward just isn’t there.
It also human nature to tend to “give up” if knocked down too many times. If you set and miss small goals too many times early in life — maybe while still in school or early in your business career — you become conditioned to think even small goals are unachievable. So when it comes time to lay out goals for the rest of your life, it’s no wonder you won’t think huge. It’s actually pretty ironic that most people OVERestimate what they can accomplish on a daily or weekly basis, but grossly UNDERestimate what they can do in the next 20 or 30 years. We let our “to-do lists” get out of control, but completely choke when it comes to writing the list that really matters.
To help you think huge when setting goals, write a goal as if it’s real for you — as if you’re writing a future headline, a preview of what’s to come. If it feels uncomfortable… you’ll know you’re doing it right! The whole point of a goal is to give you something to work toward — something that hasn’t happened yet. Don’t just let your life “play out” by being passive or reactive — WRITE DOWN “future headlines” that will motivate you to bring to life want you really want for yourself and your family.
This is the best way I know to get started on life goals. Ask yourself this question and make a list of your answers — “What are all the things I want to accomplish with my life before I die?” Yeah, it’s weird to think about the end of your life, but what better way to get you thinking about what you want to do before you get there?!
Now make a second list by asking yourself this powerful question — “What are all the things I would want to accomplish with my life before I die IF I HAD ALL THE MONEY I NEEDED TO DO IT?” Boy does that change your list! It also helps you zero in on your genius, which leads you to identify goals you ought to set for the rest of your life, based on your passion and area of excellence.
If you’ve surrounded yourself with the right people, they’ll help you by asking the tough questions — questions that make you think hard about who you are, what success means to you, what you want out of the rest of your life, and why. They’ll also help hold you accountable to yourself for doing what you say you’re going to do.
Once you’ve set lifetime goals, “work backwards.” That is, given where you WANT to be in 30 years, where do you NEED to be in 3 years? And what do you need to be doing TODAY to make that happen?
- Write down goals for the next 3 years: the top 5 things that you must accomplish over the next 36 months to stay on track with your lifetime goals
- Then write down the 12 quarterly goals: the top milestones you must accomplish each quarter to stay on track with your 3-year goals
When you break it down — and WRITE IT DOWN — into manageable chunks like this, and have a trusted person helping to hold you accountable, you will be astounded at what you can accomplish in the next 36 months… and the next 36… and the next!
To wrap up this series on the “Secrets of the MOST Successful,” let me reiterate from our very first blog post in this series: only 1% of the population has written goals for all aspects of their professional and personal lives. They know that “success is not an accident” and follow the principles I’ve discussed in this series of blog posts. Most importantly… you can follow them too! It’s an old adage — “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”
So do something different… so you get something significantly better!