Set Goals, Not Too Many. Mostly Personal.


Set Goals, Not Too Many. Mostly Personal.

When I was invited to sit on a panel for Women’s Entrepreneur Week, I was asked to sum up my business advice into a few words. I thought this was impossible. I mean, have you met/read me?! But one of my favorite food pontificators, Michael Pollan, came to mind and inspired:

Set goals, not too many. Mostly personal.

Of course, I have paragraphs upon paragraphs of explanation but we didn’t have the opportunity to get into it there, so let’s try it now.


Set Goals,

This part should be obvious. If you don’t have a measurable goal, how do you know when you’ve reached the end of the rainbow? I and others have written endlessly about SMART goals, so I won’t waste more time on that now. Put a pin in the idea and let’s keep going.

Not Too Many.

When it comes to dreaming big dreams, it’s pretty easy to want all the things.

Ex. I want to go public with my business while running marathons, being home for dinner every night, and reading one book a week. (No, this is not a real example. I don’t think marathons are healthy. (But cookies every day totally are. 😉))

Keep dreaming, friend. No, really. There’s no way one life can handle all that all at one time. Big life goals aren’t going anywhere, but think about what you can handle right now. If your kids are little, perhaps now is the time to be home for dinner and maybe just do 5Ks. If you’re on your own, put the pedal to the metal for work (and listen to audiobooks on your commute – that counts, too!)

Anytime we make too many plans, we are doomed to fail in all of them. Start small, start focused.

Oh yeh, speaking of focused… if you suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome like me, having a short list of goals may help you with life choices.

Let’s say your life goal is to focus on family, but you’re presented with a dream job. Caveat – it requires 50% travel. Nope, doesn’t fit the life goal.

You want to learn French this year. A new neighbor from Quebec moves in. They invited you to dinner on a night you normally workout. Go to the dinner, practice your French. Strive for your goal.

Mostly personal.

In case you missed it, I frame all my goals as personal goals. I spent my first 18 years watching my parents slave over jobs that were soul-sucking and vowed never to be in that position.

(Admission – sometimes you just have to work for the money. That’s fine and that’s noble. Make the money so you can enjoy the rest of life. That’s what my parents were doing and, in the end, I think that was perfect for them.)

As a small business owner, it’s pretty obvious and easy to frame professional goals through a personal lens, but it works for corporate America, too.

When I was in my twenties, working in association management, I wanted to be the boss ASAP. I knew I could move up the ranks if I put on the best meetings and grew our membership. So my goal wasn’t technically “get promoted”. Rather it was “grow membership by 20%” and “increase attendance by 50 people”.

On the other hand, once I got married, my work-related travel bug was cured, and planning and running meetings across America no longer did it for me. Instead, I found a job that was more home-based, allowing me to save my travel plans with Randy and/or friends for fun.


I picture this someday being chapter one of a whole book on how to win in small business (first I’ve got to make sure I’m winning!), but for now, hopefully, this gives you some food for thought. Or at least a little explanation if you were in the workshop and wondering what I meant.

Can’t wait to hear what your goals are. Let me know how I can help cheer you on!

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