Setting clear, measurable biz goals is important. We all know this. So I won’t give you a zillion more reasons why you need them.
But there’s something that’s even more important than mapping out your biz goals. And it’s something I don’t see talked about nearly enough in entrepreneur blogs.
It’s a lesson I (thankfully) learned this year. And it was so profound that it’s my takeaway lesson — in life AND business — for all of 2016.
The lesson I’m so grateful I learned this year
One Thursday afternoon this July, I was sitting at my dad’s dining room table furiously pounding out a sales page for a client.
Summers are always busy for me. Many of my clients love to launch in the fall, and this summer was particularly crazy — in the best, most exciting way possible.
Around 11am, my dad came into the dining room and said, “Hey, Whitster. Any chance you can take a long lunch break? It’s a beautiful day, we could eat outside.”
Every single pragmatic brain cell said “no.”
I had more work than I could handle. I had deadlines that I needed to honor. I had a client call scheduled for 2pm that afternoon.
But something in my gut told me to go.
I emailed my (superstar) client Julie asking if we could reschedule our call. And she — in all her awesomeness — quickly wrote back with a supportive “of course! Enjoy lunch with your dad. We can talk anytime.”
So off we went.
We picked up sandwiches and drove to this hidden spot my dad called “The Gorge.” I’m not sure of its official name. An avid fly fisherman and all-around nature lover, he spent as much time in this place as he could.
It really is a peaceful little slice of heaven, The Gorge. We sat on what he called “Picnic Rock,” ate our lunch, and talked.
Nothing big. Nothing fancy.
Just a girl, her dad, a tuna sub, and some magical scenery.
(This smile was basically the vibe of the afternoon…)
Why does this little story matter so much?
Well, my dad passed away a few weeks ago.
One of my main coping strategies has been focusing on gratitude for all the wonderful memories we have together.
And that afternoon at The Gorge? It’s at the top of my gratitude list.
I’m glad I got to spend a relaxed afternoon with him in his favorite place in the world.
But even more than that, I’m glad I put him first. I’m glad I showed him that he was first.
That little memory has given me so much comfort over the last month.
And while I’m so grateful for the experience, I’m kind of freaked out at how easy it would have been to miss. How close I was to saying, “nah, another time” and burying my head back in my laptop.
That’s where traditional goal setting needs an overhaul. If I focused on my biz goals that day, I never would have stepped away for one of the most treasured memories of my life.
How do we reinvent “business goals”?
When you have your own business, it tends to be harder NOT to work than to work. Harder to prioritize me time than biz time. Harder to say “no” than “yes” to business.
But you started your biz to do things differently, right?
Sometimes better, sometimes (admittedly) worse, but ALWAYS different than the status quo.
So your goals should be different, too.
The status quo is that work comes first. It’s the big rock that has to go into the bucket before anything else. And personal, family, and friend time should settle into the little spaces surrounding that big rock.
I don’t agree with that logic. Like, not even a little bit.
Work is important, no bones about that. Especially when you’re doing meaningful, light-uppy work that you love.
But if that work doesn’t enhance our LIVES, we’re doing it wrong.
If our biz goals don’t help us have the lifestyles and moments that give life meaning, we’re chasing the wrong metrics.
The moral of the story
There are some blog posts that I write because I think others need to read them, and the occasional post that I write because I need to write it. (Oh, hello, ersatz post.)
I can’t decide which type this is.
I hope this serves as a reminder (for both of us) to prioritize your life, rather than simply your business this year. That there are far more important things than blog subscribers and website traffic and dollars. That meaningful moments can slip by so easily if you’re not careful.
When you’re setting your biz goals, be mindful. Be flexible. Embrace the big picture in addition to the details that we as entrepreneurs live and breathe by.
And most importantly, don’t push yourself so hard that you miss memory-making, spur-of-the-moment lunches.
I believe that business success and life success aren’t mutually exclusive. That’s my “something different” that led me to start my own business.
My 2017 wish for you is that your goals enhance ALL areas of your life, not simply your business.
Can we talk about it?
I always love reading your comments, but I’m feeling it extra today.
If you have a special strategy you use for setting meaningful goals, please share it in the comments!
I’m using PowerSheets this year to consciously map out my goals and I’m really liking the process so far. But keeping the work-life equation balance is a daily choice, so it’s gonna take more than pretty PowerSheets to stay on track.
It would be awesome to hear how YOU keep life in the mix as you plan out your biz goals. Please share your best tips or mindset tricks in the comments!
join the convo
How do you incorporate flexibility into your goal-setting?
What is ONE of your biz goals this year?
Have you had an experience where you put your biz goals to the side and focused on something more important? Share your story in the comments — I’d LOVE to read it!