Is it just me or does it seem to be the decade of goals? The personal development/inspirational speaker/best self movement is well underway. And yeah, sure, I’ve had a taste of the Kool-Aid (by the way, it’s pretty damn good). Have you noticed that every other conversation, social media post, book, podcast, reality TV show, etc. seems to focus on goal setting, goal casting, goal planning sessions, goal tracking…? We are living in a goal setting society. Okay, okay, I’m just as guilty as the next person, I love goals! But there is a major difference between goals and results.
Goals are cheap. The new goal is execution.
Goals have become cheap, ubiquitous. My three year old has goals at day care and my great-grandmother has goals with her knitting club. I have goals, my team has goals, my wife has goals, my coach has goals, my competitors have goals, my goals have goals! But goals are meaningless without action, without execution.
Napoleon Hill said, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” And while I’m not about to argue with a great thought leader like Napoleon, I think we need to take it a step further. A goal is definitively better with a deadline. But that is still too theoretical. Goals are still nothing without a plan of action and then executing on that goal every day. It’s important to write down your goals, but if that’s all you do, you’re totally missing the point. We’ve got to stop spending time talking about what we are going to do in the future and get focused on what we are actually doing today, right now.
Goals are just the bait. Goals are there to get you into action. The goal creates new thinking, gets you to ask bigger and better questions, which spurs a different action, and the action leads to a different result. You must change your daily habits in order to change any result you want in life. No change. No new results. No growth.
I can’t tell you how many conversations I have with real estate agents who have the goal of getting out of production, building a team, building a business, and moving into a pure leadership position. Love it. That’s a great goal. And if that’s really what someone wants to do then I’ll help them get there. The problem is, these agents put this goal on a two year deadline and think that by setting the goal, it’s just going to somehow magically appear. That’s definitely not how it works. In fact, once that goal is set the next 5-7 years become even more intense. Once that goal is set, it’s time to grind.
By grind, I mean execute. Let’s stick with the real estate team example (though this applies to any business). If an agent does, in fact, want to build a business and succeed through others, then they need to first prove that they can do it themselves. Even if it is just them and an administrative assistant, they have to lead themselves first. Prove they can sell real estate like the best of them. Lead generate 14 hours a day (while your admin picks up the pieces and starts putting them into some semblance of order so that you can start duplicating and teaching other agents how to do what you do). That is execution.
Once you’ve proven that you can perform, it’s time for your next move. This is usually when your income significantly increases and you have to decide it you want to be self employed or build a business. Being self-employed means you’re in it every day. If you step away from the business at any time, income stops. If you want to build a business, then you must learn how to succeed through others. You’ll need to make peace with a certain level of income and put the rest back into systems and people in order to build your business. You’ll have to up your leadership game and learn how to lead yourself by focusing on personal development, business strategy, and more. That is execution.
And you’ll have to be doing all of that while maintaining production (i.e. sales). There is a tipping point where you are able to step back, but it doesn’t happen overnight. You will have two jobs for a period of time and not many people are able to withstand the pressure, the grind, the long hours, the mental and emotional fatigue, and the responsibility that it takes to move from doing to leading. It can be years. 96% of businesses fail in the first year because of this. But if you are one of the few, the mighty (and I know you are since you are reading this), then you’ve got to get to work. You’ve got to be lead generating for sales and lead generating for talent. You’ve got to be creating a culture of growth and opportunity and inspiring your team to think bigger every day, while also handling client calls and ensure your client experience stays top notch. You will have to constantly increase your leadership lid, paint the vision and think strategically, while also rolling up your sleeves and getting tactical with your team. You’ve got to master extreme time management and be laser focused on exactly what you need to do every week, every day, every hour, every minute. You will live and die by your calendar. That is execution.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re not worried about the goal. You know the goal is an ever moving target (it’s your job to move it!), and that all that really matters is execution. You’ve been able to step out of production (5 years later) and are leading a large team of talented sales and operations staff. And if you thought it was hard before, it’s about to get even harder. Leadership, like goals, is seen as this sexy thing to aspire to. Leadership is not sexy! Leaders must give all the credit to others when things have gone well, and must take all the responsibility when they don’t. As a leader and owner of your business, your employees now employ you. You are there to guide, direct, refocus, and support them in their work. What time and money you used to spend with clients and generating business, will now be spent investing into yourself and your team. Reading, listening to podcasts, attending industry conferences, and thinking becomes your job. That is execution.
I think the whole execution part is lost on a lot of people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting to talk about goals and plans for the future. But talk is cheap. Action is everything. Let your goals and vision for the future inspire you to execute. The new goal is execution.
I have a daily reminder of this journey in my office. EXECUTION comes first. Then you will need GRIT to execute every day (enthusiasm is everywhere, but endurance is rare), then HUSTLE in order to grind through the grit stage, and finally you are able to enjoy a LIMITLESS life because you committed to execution first.
What to dive deeper into this topic? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and request the link to purchase a webinar I recorded called How to Get Out of Production.
What are you going to execute on today?