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To wrap up our series of blogs on goal-setting, I wanted to take one last big-picture look at the subject. And this one is huge! I’m convinced it is the key to the entire topic.

We’ve covered how to set them, shown why they’re important and given you real-world tools to help you get them done.

But there’s still one question that needs to be answered.

And, quite frankly, it’s a question I just don’t have the answer to. Sorry. I’d really love to help you, but when it comes to this one question…I just can’t.

  • It’s not something I’ve found a resource for.
  • The Internet–in spite of having an opinion on literally everything–is strangely silent on it.
  • And there isn’t a thought leader, life coach, or goal-setting guru alive who can give you the answer either.

Honestly, the only person in the world who can even begin to attempt to answer this question is you.

The #1 most important goal-setting question that only you can answer is:

(Drumroll, please…)

“What do you really want?”

That’s it. Just five simple words.

It’s almost insulting, isn’t it? I mean, you’re a small business owner up to your eyeballs in tasks. You’re probably somewhat of an expert in your field. You’ve likely achieved some measure of success…or at least you’ve seen enough potential in your particular venture to invest as much as you have. And here comes some guy telling you the most profound goal-setting question you could ask is what do you really want?!


And here’s why you need to answer it: you won’t be able to achieve any real goals until you do!

Without a clear vision–without an end to strive for–you will wander aimlessly from one arbitrary “goal” to another.

You need a good core reason for why you do what you do. Something that gets you out of bed in the morning beyond profit, or doubling the size of your team. Maybe it’s the freedom to leave work at 5 p.m. and eat with your family every night. Maybe you want to be able to give generously to a cause that’s really important to you. If you don’t have something driving you beyond profit, it’s hard to stay the course during the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. The question may be simple but the answer takes some serious thought.

Start with “what do you really want,” and work backwards.

Here’s how it can work:

  • Q: “What do you really want?”
  • A: “I want to live on a sailboat, free to travel wherever I want and stay as long as I want.”
  • Q: “Ok. What do you need to do to make that happen? What have others who are already successful at that done to get there?”
  • A: “Well, the Skipper and Gilligan are the only people I know who sort of tried it, and they only got stranded and somehow turned a three-hour tour into 98 episodes.”
  • Q: “Learn from their failures, then. What else?”
  • A: “I guess I should:
    • Grow my business, hire people who I trust to run it and maybe sell it off one day so I can have the freedom to live on the open seas.
    • Relocate to where there’s an ocean.
      • Research East Coast versus West Coast
      • Research cost of living
    • Learn how to sail.
      • Read books
      • Take a course
      • Join a club

You get the idea.

The big hairy audacious goal (a.k.a. “BHAG”…thanks, Jim Collins) that answers “what do you want” immediately creates doable action steps (and maybe even sub-sub-steps) as soon as you identify it. Each one become its own mini-goal, to support your ultimate goal.

Work backwards far enough from your answer and you’ll have a very achievable game plan to make that goal a reality.

In our blog post on the Wheel of Life, we looked at seven major areas of life that make up who you are. If you ask yourself “what do I really want” in each of those areas and follow the process we’re talking about today, you will likely:

  1. Create more goals in seven minutes than you ever thought possible before.
  2. Find yourself beginning to check off one small goal after another in the days and weeks to follow.
  3. Discover natural and unstoppable momentum as you build up mini-victories.
  4. Ultimately (with enough time, effort, and accountability) crush your BHAGs in all seven areas!

You can do it. At Patrick Accounting, we see small business owners like yourself chip away at their goals every day. Many of them are financial (since that’s what we specialize in), but even those are connected to the rest of the “spokes” in their “Wheel.” So we often enjoy a front row seat to their success in all areas of life.

In Your Corner

We’d love to partner with you to help you make your goals a reality. Contact us through our website or on the phone at 901-755-5858 in Memphis or 501-834-5757 in Little Rock, and let’s see what you and your business can do!

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