Where do you start?
It’s so confusing, working out how to achieve your goals.
Let’s take your dental practice for example.
You want it to be successful without constantly struggling for patients. So you decide to increase your patient base.
But there are so many options. If you narrow it down to doing marketing, where do you start?
There’s Google Adword campaigns, Facebook advertising, and regular old-fashioned (pre-internet!) advertising.
If you just want to increase our social media presence, you can do Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube … or one of what seems like hundreds of other options available.
How do you know what will resonate with your target audience? Will they love tweets or images or videos?
And if you decide to just use Facebook, it seems like you have to be an expert in ‘organic reach’ to get it to work. Or risk making a fool of yourself.
Or worse, risk wasting your time on something that may not be successful.
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed. To think you need to do it all. And all at once.
Or to start on one track and find yourself miles down some rabbit warren, in a different direction.
So you end up researching Facebook training courses when what you really want is a full appointment book.
And here’s something you may not know. It happens to almost all business owners.
Nearly all of them suffer from overwhelm and indecision because there are so many choices. And so many people claiming to have the answer.
But here’s something else you might not know. It doesn’t have to be this way.
You can avoid drowning in a sea of overwhelm, and avoid spreading yourself too thin.
You can be smart by getting laser focused.
Don’t try to achieve everything at once. Remember, a successful dental practice wasn’t built in a day. You have to keep chipping away at it.
The best way to do that is to restrict yourself to one big goal at a time. Do you want to increase revenue by a given amount? Do you want to increase the size of your business?
It’s far better to do one thing right than to do lots of things poorly.
Whatever the goal, limit yourself to one big – but achievable – thing. And make sure it’s measurable.
How much revenue – exactly – do you want? What size business – exactly – are you aiming for?
And the important question: when do you want this by?
Whatever you decide, restrict yourself to one big, clearly defined goal, at a time.
Use A Top-Down Approach
Break your big goals down into smaller pieces so you stay on track
If you want to increase your revenue by a specific amount by the end of the year, how will you know you’re on track in a month, or three months, or six months?
The answer is to create milestones.
Pretend you’re writing a contract for someone else to achieve this goal. What would you expect them to accomplish in three months, six months or nine months?
Setting twelve-week goals is my favourite way to work. It allows enough time to accomplish great things because the deadlines are close enough to force you to take action.
The beauty of twelve-week goals is that they allow a one-week breather in the quarter, before tackling the next challenge!
Take The Shortest Path
Looking at each milestone, what is the quickest and easiest way to get there? How can you make the biggest impact on this goal, using the least amount of time, effort, and resources?
It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be a big impact. Remember the 80/20 rule.
Twenty percent of customers bring in eighty percent of sales. Twenty percent of the world’s population controls eighty percent of the wealth.
So find the shortest path and stick to it. Each time a new task appears, or a shiny new object distracts you, ask yourself: ‘Will doing this help me achieve my goal?’
If the answer is ‘no‘ then be strong. Shelve the idea for another time, or ditch it altogether.
Stay on the shortest path to achieving your goal. Once you achieve this one you can start on your next one.
Find The Next Step
If you start to slip into overwhelm, stop and think.
Ask yourself, ‘What is the single next step I need to take?’
Not the next dozen steps. Just the next single step.
Focus on taking that one step. It might not seem like much, but remember,
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. – Lao Tzu
That’s right. One step – and that means no multi-tasking.
In fact, Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London studied 1,100 workers at a British company and found that multitasking with electronic media caused a greater decrease in IQ than smoking pot or losing a night’s sleep.
So, think about your end goal. Focus on the one step and breath. If you”re not sure what the next logical step is, take Tim Ferriss’ advice and ask yourself “ … which one of these if done will make the rest the relevant or easier?”
Know that you can do this.
Calm Yourself Down
Keep yourself calm, particularly around your team.
When you’re stressed and running around trying to get everything done in the shortest possible time, you are your staff’s worst enemy.
Your stress rubs off on them and it doesn’t do either of you any good.
No one works at their best, stressed.
We all achieve a great deal more when we’re calm. Unfortunately, many high achievers are prone to tension and nerves.
If this rings a bell, implement a stress management program for yourself.
I don’t mean anything fancy or extreme. But try meditating or practicing mindfulness, do a little regular exercise and watch your caffeine intake.
Make It Fun !
Remember that your business journey should be fun, not just hard work.
You can achieve your goals far sooner if you get focused, keep calm, and stay on track. But don’t forget to have fun, even while you’re striving to achieve your goals.
Don’t allow yourself to slip into overwhelm. Don’t allow shiny new objects to distract you from your goals. Don’t allow confusion to creep in.
Instead, set your goals, harness your team and reach your destination.
And most of all – believe in yourself.
You are capable of achieving great things. As long as you do them one at a time.