By Jonathan J. D’Oleo
Most people think they have goals. Think about it. Everybody is interested in being successful, having good relationships and money in the bank. But goals are much more than a collection of interests, they are possessions to be possessed. How many great books do you own that you have never read? Chances are there is more than one book on your shelf taking dust with its pages begging to be touched and its wisdom waiting to be discovered. Even though you rightfully possess them, their true worth and value are unbeknownst to you until you read them and apply what you read in your everyday life. Only then will you truly possess your possessions.
It is the same with goals. You have them in one corner of your life and more often than not, they are left at the mercy and vagaries of time and circumstance as they accumulate layer upon layer of dust even as you sometimes play the same old blame-and-excuse game of defeat and mediocrity. But it does not have to remain that way. Layers of dust can be removed from great books just as your goals can be brought out of their peripheral and languishing state and be tuned-up to take center-stage in your daily life.
In the process of doing so you might sneeze a little or maybe even develop a severe, yet not mortal allergy as the particles of old dust make their way up through your nostrils and sting you with the truth of the clock’s relentless tick-tock. That is when you come to the unprecedented realization that there is no matter, space or time to spare in the continuum of a purpose and goal-driven life whose aim is to thrive and not merely survive.
It is this sudden flash of the obvious that prompts you to articulate and pursue your goals SMARTLY - in a Specific-Measurable-Achievable-Relevant-Timely-Liable-You fashion. Yes, that’s right - Specific-Measurable-Achievable-Relevant-Timely-Liable-You form the acronym SMARTLY. You’ve probably heard about SMART goals before. At D’Oleo Analytica we have turned the adjective into an adverb by adding L-Y at the end. We believe that setting your goals SMARTLY takes you from simply having goals to actually getting them.
Everything starts with the question of what you want to accomplish. Describe it with utmost specificity: place, shape, color, size, smell, weight and dollar sign. To get the ‘what ’done, you must get it systematically measured through productivity indicators. Mind that I bid you to measure productivity, not mundane activities.
Productivity is defined in a functional way as the amount of outcomes and outputs per unit of input. Activities, on the other hand, are not necessarily functional. They are rather mechanical referring only to inputs without regarding the effectiveness of these in bringing about the desired outcome. Hence, you must be on your guard not to confuse activity with productivity for they are not always one and the same.
With regards to the question of achievability, is not meant to put limits on what you can accomplish, but rather it is designed to help you play to your strengths. If you are a natural performing artist, then it is more realistic and achievable for you to become one of the top ten performers in a particular genre within the next ten years than to become an astronaut in the next quarter century.
In determining achievability, talent and preparation are key elements to weigh and consider. Goals that are harnessed into one’s strengths successfully come into fruition for they focus the individual and attract the right opportunities to unleash one’s brilliance and performance-ability.
As to relevance, it is meant to attach intrinsic meaning and a true sense of urgency to what you want to accomplish. How important it is that you get that promotion, start writing that book, marry the woman you love, become an independent business owner, take your company public, have $20 million by the time you retire, or get elected to public office?
Friend, you have to pursue your goals as if your life and the lives of many others depend on it. Imagine the difference you can make, consider the thousands you can bless and the millions your legacy can inspire. Now, after acknowledging the relevance and clout built into your goals pursue them now in the present tense regardless of your past and the future will take care of itself.
Many say “but, oh! my goals are too big to pursue them right now in this very moment.” I say that is precisely why you must begin today. Break your big goals into small fragments and put them together daily, piece-by-piece with the full picture visible unto the eye of your mind. Before you know it your goals will be palpable, meaningful and wealth-generating realities.
You must establish a sensible frame of time in which you want to see your goals accomplished. A deadline keeps your inner-thrive alive even as you realize the aim for which you thrive. As you SMARTLY depart from one career milestone and arrive at another your life will be a collection of successes capable of blessing and inspiring dreamers and achievers generation after generation.
Goals and the means whereby they come into fruition must be held liable to an ethical core of universal values. In the pursuit of success we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds or be willing to compromise our morals for the acquisition of power, wealth or title. Anything that promises to come your way through unethical means is designed to ultimately destroy you however attractive it may look. Steer clear from such things by making your goals liable unto principles as opposed to power and popularity.
Most people know when they were born, but not everybody comes to know why they were born. In establishing your goals SMARTLY you must come to know why you were born. You mustn’t worry so much about what people say you must pursue. You must, first and foremost, consider YOU. What is your distinguishing factor? What is it that moves you and fully capitalizes on your God-given talents? Answer that question and you will become a life-size exclamation mark amongst a sea of question marks lingering over the heads of a majority of people who dare not even ask, less so answer the forsaken question.
Now, let us review SMARTLY:
Specifically what is it that you want to accomplish?
Measurability, don’t forget, is a key element in achieving full productivity.
Achievability is a question of playing to your strengths.
Relevancy is pursuing your aims as if your life depends on it.
Timeliness is about setting deadlines that keep alive your inner-thrive.
Liability is about holding your dreams accountable to core universal principles.
You alone can decide to answer the question of why and live a purpose-driven life.
SMARTLY pursuits squeeze the juice out of life and keep your efforts from being tangential. Grounded at the core of your unique set of talents I encourage you to use this paradigm as a key that unlocks the door to your full potential.
The author is a financial advisor, business consultant, and President of D’Oleo Analytica, Inc