The following is adapted from Retail Pride, The Guide to Celebrating Your Accidental Career by Ron Thurston
Take a look at your current goals, on an individual, store, and company level. Are there any that make you feel uncomfortable, a little nervous maybe?
If not, you’re not dreaming big enough.
It’s human nature to stay in your comfort zone and create goals that you know you can achieve, but why would you settle for that? The problem with setting small, easy goals is that while they feel safe, they’re also boring. They don’t excite or inspire, and they limit us.
Have you ever wondered how much you would improve if you swung for the fences? What would happen if, in all seriousness, you doubled, tripled, or even multiplied by ten the targets you set for yourself and your team?
If you want to inspire your team to draw on their best selves and reach their full potential, you need to set individual, store, and company goals that are outside of your comfort zone—goals that are challenging but not unattainable.
What Happens When We Set Big Goals
When we begin to set goals that are outside our comfort zone, a few incredible things happen.
We Think Differently
First, we start to think differently. Instead of repeating our standard thought patterns, the ones that are too easy, we get serious in every aspect of our life that affects our goals. We know that what we were doing previously won’t get us to our new, bigger goals.
As an example, in the summer of 2019, I decided that I wanted to write a book. It was something I’d never done before and was definitely outside my comfort zone. I didn’t have much experience writing, but after I set the goal, I started thinking differently about how to achieve it. For months, I took writing classes every Monday night after work. I found the best publisher for my type of book through recommendations, exploratory calls, and research. Most importantly, I dreamed big that it could really happen.
We Act Differently
The realization that our goal could really happen inspires us to act differently. Big goals demand that we change our behavior. They require us to learn new skills. We may need to adapt our circle of friends so that we’re around people who support us while we make progress toward our objectives.
The next step toward writing my book was to act differently, change my routine, and find a group of people to support me and hold me accountable. In October 2019, I attended a weekend-long immersive authors’ workshop, where I got serious about the content. During this weekend, I met a group of other future authors, all of whom were incredibly impressive and had great stories to tell. This new group of friends, all of us on a similar path, has been the exact new circle I needed to achieve my goal.
We Do More and Become Better
When we work toward bigger goals, we will do more and become better. Even if we fail to achieve our giant stretch goals, the shift in mindset will lead to improved performance and make our standard goals much more accessible.
The journey to complete my book required me to do more and become better. For example, I changed my morning routine so that I could sit quietly at the kitchen table every morning at 6 a.m. and write before I went to work. I asked for feedback, shared ideas, and became more focused. Now, having finished writing, I can confidently say that, although setting big goals can feel overwhelming at times, it’s incredibly rewarding.
How to Achieve Big Goals
Now imagine an entire team of people setting and pursuing bigger goals, while simultaneously offering one another support. What could that team achieve? How big could they dream?
Things are getting more exciting now, right? There’s a fine line between exciting and overwhelming, though. To keep your goals firmly on the exciting side, they need to feel achievable. There are several things you can do to make even the biggest goals feel more achievable.
Focus on Daily Work
Big goals tend to be long-term pursuits, but the way you reach them is by focusing on the daily work. For example, you might intend to sell a million dollars’ worth of product over a year. That sounds intimidating, but breaking it down into small daily bites will make it feel less scary. Smaller, achievable goals that lead to something bigger keep you feeling positive and motivated.
Encourage Everyone to Participate
Everyone on the team must have the autonomy to create personal goals under the auspices of the team umbrella. Their contributions are critical when setting big goals for the store or company because it takes everyone playing the game to win. Each person can then spearhead initiatives relevant to their role that will support higher team objectives.
Here are a few questions to help start the conversation on setting bigger individual goals:
● What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at, and what type of work is essential to you?
● What would your career look like if you had the power to make it any way you wanted?
● Imagine yourself in the future. You have achieved great career success. What have you accomplished? What does your life look like?
● Where would you like to be in your career in five years? In ten years? In fifteen years?
Help Each Other Get There
No matter your role on the team, it’s your responsibility to support everyone around you to help them achieve their goals. There are several ways you can do this:
● Hold regular one-on-ones to find out how things are going for each member of your team.
● Show your team that you’re open to questions and offering guidance.
● Support people by giving them advice on how to achieve their initiatives.
● Help your team define milestones or benchmarks as they work toward group and individual goals.
Dream Big, Achieve Big
We are all capable of more than we think. When we have the courage to set goals outside of our comfort zone, we begin to discover what is truly possible.
We rise to the level of our goals. So if you want to achieve bigger things, you need to dream bigger things. I never thought I’d be an author, but I set a goal to write a book, and now here I am, a published author. And I did it while simultaneously leading a retail fleet of stores toward their best results in years.
When we set big goals, we start to think and act differently, doing more and becoming more. Working together as a team and supporting each other, we can then achieve incredible things.
For more advice on setting retail goals, you can find Retail Pride on Amazon.