QUESTION: What is the best way to set financial goals and actually follow through on it?  I have been in this business for 12 years.  I set goals and most of the time I do not hit it.  Any insights? – George, Atlanta, GA 

ANSWER: I am envisioning clients, my own recruiters, and myself, bluntly, when I have done this.  I know if I am adrift and set goals that I do not follow through on, the goals are not something I am really passionate about making happen.

Maybe I went to a meeting and one of my buddies who owned a recruiting company – this is what used to happen, these are elements of true stories – Joe is at the meeting and says, “Hey Mike, yea, I brought on 5 more recruiters.  We have brought on these great key accounts and blah, blah, blah.”  Another recruiting colleague has put in a new database and an ATS system, an applicant tracking system, etc., etc.

I come back to the office after this meeting and there are like a thousand things that I want to do, or I think I want to do.  You go to these conferences and the great thing about going to conferences is they are really motivational and get you reenergized.  That is all fantastic.  The problem for me was getting reenergized in 100 different directions of which I could execute well on none of them.

What I started doing each time I go to a conference is ask myself, “What do I want to take away from this experience?”  This became a process of really getting clear on where I wanted to be and where I was taking my business so that I knew what things to look for at the conference.  

So, if Joe talked about the benefits of this great applicant tracking system, well, if mine was okay, I am just going to congratulate him.  I am not really going to pay attention.  But if Steve or Mary are talking about hiring recruiters and getting them off to a quick start and part of my strategy is to grow my hiring, I am going to tune in to what they did. 

When you look at setting your goals, I would challenge you to get really clear on the outcome. If you were a client of ours, then I would look back and (1) I would help you test it, (2) then we would really look at, this is what you can try to do yourself, what holds you back from getting that?  What has held you back in the past?  Is it a knowledge-based thing?  Is sloth, laziness?  We are all a little bit.  That is fine.  You are being cool with yourself.  Is it a lack of focus?  A lack of knowing what to do that is getting in the way?  Generally, it is a combination of all of them.

Then I look to execution, I do not know how to ____ (fill in the blank).  What is a source of information for that?  Is it a conference?  Is it some streaming videos?  Is it a coaching program?  Whatever.  But it goes back to that question, you need to test what you want.  My gut feeling is somebody in a situation where they are consistently hitting a similar number every year is they are content, financially especially.  Maybe not happy, maybe not what they want, but content.

Any new level of revenue, I do not care if you are going from $1,000 to $10,000, $100,000 to $200,000, $250,000 to $500,000, or $500,000 to $2,000,000 business, you cannot get to the next level with the knowledge you have now.  The knowledge and experience you have now got you to that level.  It does not mean you need outside help.  You can do it all through trial and error, but you are going to need new experiences, which means you are going to need to take on risk, meaning you are going to screw some stuff up.

A lot of people, because we are so programmed by society and our parents, seek out safety and security.  When we are content we do not take risks.  When you went off on your own, you probably took some risks because there was probably something you really wanted.  I know I am getting really deep here.  You need to go back to what did you really want, and then be honest with yourself, is that enough?  No judgment, but do not say you want to get to $300,000 if you are at $150,000 and you do not want to change anything because that is out of alignment.  

The more I have studied others, and especially myself, taking myself from level to level to level, it is about different levels of awareness.  It is about taking some risks.  

A lot of people feel to get to a new level they need new capability, which is true, but they try to develop the capability first before they make their commitment to the new level. I think the way that the universe works, the way God works, whatever your belief system is, I was always taught God meets you in the field.  I think the universe meets you in the field.

Awareness and capability do not show up without the commitment to get them first.  If you look back, if you want to test that in any part of your life where you went and did something different, you probably are going to find a moment where you made a commitment. Maybe you got a little bit afraid, right? But, you worked through that fear because no matter how big, no matter how small, the capability came.  You probably had to do some stuff.  You know, you probably screwed some stuff up.

So George, great question.  Thank you so much for submitting that.