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The first 3 months of 2021 are coming to an end. Maybe you’re kicking butt on your goals or maybe you feel like you’re falling behind where you’d intended. If either of those are you, this episode is for you!
If you slow down just for a moment to complete a quarterly audit of your business and goals then you will keep your path straight to hit those annual goals. This whole idea of starting fresh January 1st is effective because we realize that it doesn’t matter what happened the year before. It allows us to have a completely fresh start and the opportunity to make it a great year. I don’t know about you, but I love the mindset that comes along with starting fresh. There is opportunity and motivation.
We can take that concept of starting fresh and apply it to each quarter instead of the entire YEAR. We think of quarters as mini-years in my business. So April 1st is a fresh start to evaluate what went well and what needs to improve.
I always joke that I love the last week in December more than any other week of the year because it’s this calm time after the holidays to plan and prepare for the fresh start of the new year ahead. I actually go through a mini version of our annual goal setting process at the end of March in the same way I do at the end of December. It’s never too late in the year to dream a new dream or set a goal!
The mistake a lot of people make is they’re waiting until December 31st to look back at their year and course correct. So they’re spending an entire year repeating the same mistakes without learning from them.
Have you seen that movie from the 90’s with Bill Murray, Groundhog Day? My family and I quote that movie ALL the time. If you haven’t seen it, basically Bill Murray wakes up on Groundhog Day, then falls asleep that night, wakes up again and it’s Groundhog Day…again. Everything that happened the day before happens again. Over and over and over, every day he wakes up, it’s Groundhog Day and everything happens the same way every day and nothing really changes. I do not want you to have Groundhog Day years in your business where year after year, everything is kinda just the same.
How do you prevent the ‘Groundhog Day’ year?
You do this audit at the end of every quarter. You treat your quarters like mini years, where the 1st of a new quarter is like a new year and a new chance to achieve your goals or set new ones! You’ll make faster progress when you track more and course correct more frequently.
I love the airplane analogy used by Brian Tracy, he says,
“Life is like an airplane journey. From the time you take off, you will be off course 99% of the time. All airplanes are off course 99% of the time. The purpose and role of the pilot is to continually bring the plane back on course so that it arrives on schedule at its destination.”
You must be prepared to make continual course corrections just like the pilot. Just as an aircraft faces headwinds, downdrafts, storm fronts, wind shear, lightning and unexpected turbulence, you will experience the same in the pursuit of any worthwhile goal. So it’s those small and frequent course corrections that will land you at your intended destination.
I’m not a pilot. I don’t know anything about being a pilot, but I know that they have all those gears that tell them what’s going on. And they use those as a guide to know if and when they are getting off-course. What if you think of the lessons that you’re learning in your business just like the pilot who are looking at those things saying, “We’re off-track a little bit, let’s course correct.” What if they are just guessing, “Okay we are going to Los Angeles to New York City and we know that we need to head east…and let’s go!” That would not work. They need to look at all of their gadgets, things, and learnings to know if they are starting to get off-course, they can course correct and start getting back on track.
Working smarter not harder is such frequently used saying that it’s borderline cliche but it’s so true. When you take the time to look back and learn, you will hit your goals faster.
Ok now I’m going to take you through exactly how we audit our quarters. Ready? Grab a pen and paper and let’s get after it!
How to prepare for April 1st?
First, you need to look at what your goals were for Quarter 1.
If you did not set goals for the quarter, divide your annual goal by 4 and that was theoretically your goal for quarter 1. So if your 2021 annual revenue goal was $100,000, then your Q1 goal wouldv’e been $25,000. If your 2021 client bookings goal was 40, then your Q1 goal would’ve been 10. Makes sense?
I do this process for my business goals and personal goals. On the personal front, I have a goal to read 30 books in 2021 so that would be around 7 or 8 books in Q1. So without any feeling or attachment, just write down what your Q1 goals were (whether that is loosely or specifically). All goals—business and personal.
Let’s move on to step #2
Now you’re going to write down what actually happened in relation to that goal.
Did you hit your goal? Yes or No. Keep this factual, don’t dive into the “why” just yet. Next to each goal write down if you achieved it or not.
So let’s say your annual goal is $100,000, which means your Q1 goal is $25,000. And let’s say you made $10,000 in Q1. So you didn’t hit your goal and what you actually achieved was $10,000. Again, we are keeping this piece factual. So go through your goals, write yes or no, and what actually happened with that goal.
Now, let’s look at step #3 what happened and how to learn from the experience.
This is critical, you guys. This is the most important piece. Please don’t be ashamed if you didn’t hit ANY of your goals, okay? We’re looking at this like a scientist—put on the scientist hat, remove the feelings, and just look at this objectively. What worked, what didn’t work, and why not? Look at this like it’s someone else and not you. What would you tell them?
Mistakes teach us what doesn’t work. When you view mistakes as education or a learning, you’re able to get creative and innovate. So for each of your goals, ask yourself, “What happened along the way that kept me from hitting this goal,” if you didn’t achieve it. Was the goal WAY too big? Was it a time management issue? Was it a lack of resources or preparation?
Let me give you a couple of examples:
One of my personal goals is a date night with my husband 2x a month in Q1. We actually did hit that goal, but I learned that to be successful we need to plan way ahead not only for childcare, but also what we will do on the date night and just getting it into the calendar.
Another example would be, you might have had a goal to hit 1000 IG followers in Q1. So if you didn’t hit that goal you can say, “Okay, was this goal WAY too big? What kept me from hitting the goal? Did I post consistently? Was I engaging with other accounts? Was I prepared to hit this goal or was I just throwing out a number and hoping for the best?”
Write down “what worked and what didn’t” next to each goal.
Hear me on this: PLEASE don’t over think this, this process is a learned skill and it takes practice.
I did this process with my family one time and they all said, “Whoa, mom’s answers are so good! How did you think of that? I can’t do this,”—they were so amazed that I was able to pull insights from this experience so easily and quickly while it was a struggle for them. And I quickly reminded them I not only do this process every quarter, but I do a short version every week and most weekdays—I have a lot of practice. The best way to do this is to just start and get the answers that are best for you right now!
So at this point with what you’ve written down to audit Q1, you have:
- What you planned to happen in Q1
- What actually happened in Q1
- Your learnings from hitting or missing your goals in Q1
And now you need to start looking forward—how will you adjust your behavior or actions and move forward with your annual goals in Q2?
You might need to change a goal and that is okay! For example, if your revenue goal was $100,000 for 2021 and you made $5,000 in Q1, you might want to adjust your annual goal. Or maybe you made $50,000 in Q1 and you need to make your annual goal BIGGER! Now is the time to create your Q2 goals based off of what you’ve learned in this process. Each month and each week, refer back to these goals when you’re planning how you’ll spend your working hours.
You know that fresh feeling that comes along with Monday morning or January 1st? Let’s bring that back for April 1st! Remember, if you slow down just for a moment to complete a quarterly audit of your business and goals then you will keep your path straight, just like an airplane, to hit those annual goals.
If you’re a student inside either of my courses, you have a detailed goal setting process in your student portal called the goal setting workshop. This workshop was for creating annual goals, but you can most definitely use it for your mini-year aka your quarterly goals too.
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My friend, if you have a passion – it’s not an accident. Not everyone loves the thing that you love… whatever your passion is, it’s there for a REASON. Take this time, course correct a little bit, get out there, and smash your goals because that passion is there for a reason. You have the ability and the obligation to serve people with that passion. Get out there and make it happen! Have a great week!