I so love the beginning of anything new. A new week. A new month. A new year. A new notebook. A new pencil. A new house. A new project.
It’s like a clean fresh slate laid out before you ready to be done right. It doesn’t yet have any eraser marks or crossed out words. It’s shiny, new and perfect but has not yet experienced what life has to throw it’s way.
So someone as idealistic as myself can be easily setup for failure when we aren’t careful with those expectations and visions we have with something new. Take my daughter’s Easy Bake Oven for example. I was giddy thinking of her opening this and seeing her very own oven and all those pretty boxes to make her cupcakes and cake pops and whoopie pies. And boy was she ever excited!
Through the holiday season we tried a few recipes and she found pure pleasure in the experience. Mixing herself. Using her own bowls and utensils. Pushing the pan into the oven. And then carrying the finished goods around for everyone to sample. And then we got to the glorious cake pop box. Perfectly round, perfectly iced and decorated cake pops glistened on the front cover. We tore open the package and followed all 27 steps with her reading each one all by herself. The anticipation was building and she could hardly contain herself. Then we got to the step where you roll the balls and dip them in the chocolate coating and the whole world fell apart. Literally. We had cake pops split in half and fall into the dip,unretrievable by human hands. The ones that did survive the dipping looked like pieces of, well, I won’t even use the word but will let you see for yourself.
(Warning – proud mama bragging moment) I found a way to turn this into a barrel of laughs. My kids are big fans of Tobuscus (a YouTuber who is so talented I dare say he’s worth the time) who has a video series called Cute, Win Fail. So they busted into laughter when I was witty enough to say “FAIL! That’s an EPIC EASY BAKE OVEN CAKE POP FAIL!” and we all fell on the floor in laughter. We now have the “Easy Bake Oven Cake Pop Fail” line logged in our re-use memory bank and pull it out whenever we need a family chuckle.
But….my melt-down-inducing-perfectionist children could have taken this in a different direction because it didn’t turn out like they were expecting. Thank goodness after 4 kids I’ve finally learned some healthy ways to ward that off at the pass. But it did get me thinking. How stinking disappointing is THAT? Why would they show us such perfectly impossible cake pops on the box? You are setting kids up for ultimate failure. No one could even get close to that with the ingredients and tools they provide. (Of course if they showed our doggie piles of chocolate, who would buy it?)
Isn’t this what we do to ourselves with some of our New Years Resolutions? Even if you say you don’t do resolutions and call it something else you are still thinking of some goals at the beginning of the year or at some point in your life. And sometimes we dream up the most ridiculously impossible targets.
I’m going to stop drinking coffee and all caffeine and all sugar. Now. Instantly. Cold turkey.
I’m going to join a gym and work out at least 4 times a week.
I’m going to read the bible in a year (hey don’t laugh. That’s not as easy as it sounds and I know pastors who admittedly set and did not attain this goal.)
When we set goals for ourselves they should be SMART. yeah, yeah, yeah. Everyone has seen this and I’m not going to re-do that post. (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound. Read more on this topic from one of my favorites Michael Hyatt.) The part that I find so hard to get right is the “Realistic”. This is truly where we are taking a leap of faith. Or it requires us to clear the way in our life to make it realistic.
If you’re going to they gym 4 times a week, what is coming out of your schedule instead? Is it worth that trade off to you? If it’s not, you won’t go.
If you’re not going to eat those foods, what are you going to eat instead? are they available in your house, car, office and every place you eat? If not, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
Don’t read this as “DON’T SET BIG GOALS” because I’m as much of a fan of BHAGs as the next driven person
(Big Hairy Audacious Goals – Jim Collins, another fav of mine)
But how do you know when your goal is challenging enough but realistic enough to make happen? How do you know you haven’t just written on the first page of that clean new journal something representative of the picture perfect cake pops as opposed to something that will actually describe a change in your life this year?
Here are some thoughts to ponder as you craft (or re-craft) your goals this year…..
- What are all the steps to achieve this?
- How much time and money will each step take?
- When will I carve out the time and budget to do it?
- Do I know how to do each step?
- Where will I find the resources I need?
- Do I have connections to the right people to help me do this?
- Is my spouse supportive?
- What is truly driving me to make this change? Do I want it bad enough that I will make all these adjustments?
- What might throw me off course and how can I avoid it?
You know what is at the root of this email for me? MISERABLE FAILURE.
I have failed over and over and over at goals and resolutions to point of feeling discouraged and cynical about any goals. Some of you have failed so often you fail to even set them and continue to live in a complacent, static, no growth world because you don’t want to feel the pain of failure again.
Don’t quit on failing.
Failing helps us to learn. But fail less. And fail smarter. Fail because something more important came up and took its place. Fail because you learned something big about yourself and a skill you thought you had. But don’t fail because you didn’t think it through enough with your own thinker. Learn to fail, but better.
A Lesson from a Past Life
Let me use one last very tangible example…. I spent years in direct sales companies. I won’t mention which one but you know what I’m talking about. Candles, jewelry, purses, etc that are higher priced than retail but you can’t find anywhere else and you sell to your friends and family. This business can be VERY successful. I climbed to director in 9 months while working full time and pregnant and delivering baby #4.
The formula works. But you must have your eyes wide open going in.
You must sell. To sell you must ask people for the sale. You must not feel bad about asking for the sale. It’s a skill you can learn and super valuable in all aspects of life. That’s a win 🙂
But once you run out of friends, family, neighbors to sell to, you must reach out to strangers to hit your numbers. You must get out and market yourself. You are NOT going to replace your (teachers salary, nurses salary, insert the job you despise and want to leave to stay home with your children) if you do not talk to a LOT of people. In sales, you get 80 – 99% rejections before you get a sale. That means you must work through a lot of no’s before you make a yes. All before the 30 day promo period ends for your bonus. Pressure is on in that business.
Secondly, let’s assume you reach those numbers. Does your life look like you thought it would time wise? Maybe it’s more flexible but to talk to that many people takes time and those parties take up evenings and weekends away from your family. And if you have to get out in front of strangers that means spending some marketing dollars for shows or advertising and you need a website, etc. So it’s more than just the $50 starter kit fees.
The point is…..be realistic about YOUR LIFE and WHAT’S DRIVING YOU when you set your goals
I won’t go on because I think you get the picture. Is having $10,000 in sales per month and reaching Diamond Executive level a realistic goal? Your upline is going to automatically say yes so don’t ask them 🙂 They are they to encourage you and that’s good but you must…..Think for yourself. It very well could be a realistic goal for you but you must factor in the time, energy and money you need to put towards that goal to attain it. Design the life you want with the priorities you want to achieve that goal. For some of you, direct sales with the right company may be perfect so don’t think I’m knocking all of them. I’ve just seen too many women sold out and burned out and disappointed by a vision painted for them without all the realistic details filled in. I was disappointed over and over again as I watched women come in with a dream in their hearts but not understanding all the steps and resources it would take to get there. No amount of mentoring or coaching from me (or any mentor) is going to do this exercise for you. it’s a time for reflecting in your heart on what you want and how bad you want it to adjust for those time and budget needs. Not down to the $.05 or even $5 or even days. But in the ballpark enough to know how it will affect your lifestyle and adjust your priorities accordingly.
Set the right expectations for yourself. Design YOUR goals and win, win, win!
Latest posts by Lori Mercer - WifeOnFire (see all)
- Family First, FDIC, or Both? - April 20, 2018
- When Fire Life Meets Fire Wife Entrepreneurship: how to stay married - June 14, 2017
- Ways to Honor a Retired Fire Wife - March 24, 2017