For years I was ignorant about the need to write down your goals. It look back on those times now as the dark ages (I’m not joking).
Then in the late 1990s, a very forward thinking boss of mine at the radio station where I was working, put me on a Franklin Covey productivity course. I took to it like a duck to water and have almost obsessively – formally – planned every area of my life ever since.
This is no laughing matter. I will readily declare to anyone that if I hadn’t written down my goals over the last 18 years or so, I wouldn’t have achieved a fraction of what I have achieved.
Why? Because the goals have given me focus, direction and set urgency.
We’re all getting older. We’re all going to die some day. Why spend years wishing you’d achieve something, when you can set out a plan to achieve it and use your goals as a kind of lifelong sat nav – showing you the best route to your desired destination.
I’m writing this article on the train to Manchester, where I’ll be doing a Discovery Day later with an ambitious new client. One of things I know we’ll be talking about is how the small actions you take each day, need to be guided by a clear vision, goal and strategy.
I’ll be drawing this on a flip chart:
Daily small activities
Too many people focus only on the bottom two. The tactics and the stuff they do every day.
But you need to make sure the vision, goal and strategy are in place first. Because otherwise the actions you take each day will not get you closer to your goals. They will just fill your time.
The vision is the intangible daydream of the future. It sets the direction you want to move in.
Big lofty dreams are good. Our brains are very good at thinking ahead, and then turning that dream into reality. It’s how we’ve dragged ourselves out of caves and shaped the entire environment around us, despite a billion challenges along the way.
I’m a visual person, so bring my vision alive with a vision board. It’s the wallpaper on my MacBook Air, meaning I see it several times a day. I don’t mind sharing the current one with you… just not on a web page as it’s full of images I found online, rather than bought. And we all know how that will end…
(If you really want to see my vision board, email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll email it back to you)
There are seven elements to my vision board, illustrated with photos I have no emotional connection to, but have purchased from a stock image library ☺.
A clear deadline
At the top is my deadline – 31st December 2020. These are my big life goals, yet they only look three and a half years ahead.
Three years is a long enough time to plan ahead, I reckon. Who knows what the world will be like then.
Besides, most of us over estimate what we can achieve in a year, yet underestimate what we can achieve in 3 years.
An indication of my goal
By the end of 2020, I want a £10m property portfolio… a total net worth of £5m… and a personal income of £100,000 per month.
Let me be clear… I am a very long way away from those goals today. And all that cash and wealth is much, much more than I really need.
But I believe in setting stretching goals… you act bigger if the goal is bigger. And ultimately, you’re more likely to get the lifestyle you deserve.
There’s a great book about this called The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone (the Audible version is fantastic – read by him personally, full of passion and little ad libs).
Image: Houses under construction
The picture at the top left of my vision board is houses being built.
I’ve become very serious about growing my property portfolio using a build to rent strategy.
Because you have to turn cash into assets to create long-term wealth.
I intend to create and protect three generational wealth. I want my future great-granddaughter to raise a glass to my memory long after I’m dead and thank me for giving her a great start in life. And thank me for tying it all up in trusts so she couldn’t blow it all at the age of 18.
This picture represents the houses I will have built by 2020 (not personally… you wouldn’t want to live in a house I built… there are severe weight restrictions on all the shelves I’ve put up in my house!)
Image: Aspirational holiday home
Next is a picture of the posh villa in Marbella I will own by December 2020.
Implied with ownership of this home is 10 weeks a year abroad every year, to enjoy it.
Image: My next home
My future house is in the country. It’s utterly quiet and peaceful apart from birdsong.
There’l be a triple garage for my cars. There’ll be a home cinema, swimming pool, hot tub, gym, bar and games arcade.
You should come round for a G&T in about three years’ time.
Image: My next car
Be still my heart.
This is the car I want to be driving – the Tesla Model S P100D. That’s the electric supercar that does 0-60mph in 2 seconds.
Y’know… it’s good for the environment.
Image: Do some good
The final image is about “doing some good”.
I’ve neglected my community and charity work over the last few years, and am plotting a really big project where I “give back” in an appropriately big style, to a cause I’m deeply passionate about. It will be around the area of helping people start businesses to improve their lives, and their families’ lives.
It needs a few more years in the oven till it’s ready, but it’s so important to me that it appears on my vision board now.
Create your own vision board
I recommend you spend a day away from your business, with your other half – phones switched off – reflecting on what you want from your life together over the next three or four years.
Remember – your business is there to give you that lifestyle. That’s one of the main reasons for having your own business.
Pick a small number of big things you want to achieve. Find some pics online that reflect them (and give you a good emotional reaction).
Then find someone on Fiverr.com to Photoshop them together for you. A wallpaper on your computer is a good idea. Or just a picture on the wall opposite your desk.
You need to place your vision board somewhere you will see it every day.
And remember – your vision (your intangible dream) directly affects the goals you pick. Those goals directly affect the strategy you choose. Which directly affects the tactics you need.
Which ultimately guides the daily small activities.
It’s the little things you do every day that get you closer to your goal. So long as you’re doing the right activities.