This is the time of year when insurance professionals are focused on finishing the year strong and reaching all those goals their company has set for them. It’s also the time we begin to think about next year. We think about what goals we’d like to attain, how we’re going to do things differently in the upcoming year, and the mistakes we hope to avoid.

As a coach, I’m always in favor of people setting goals and developing a game plan to reach them. We stand a much greater chance of reaching a goal when it’s properly developed and it’s written down. A properly written goal is a S.M.A.R.T. goal. In other words, it’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, and Time-specific. Additionally it should be stated in positive terms. As an example, don’t create a goal such as: “I won’t be disorganized in the coming year” but rather one stated: “I will organize my time better this year.” If we examine this goal, keeping the SMART concepts in mind, we’d ask: Is it Specific? (No) Is it Measurable? (No) Is it Attainable? (Yes) Is it Rewarding? (Maybe) Is it Time-specific? (No) A better version of “I will organize my time better this year.” would be: “I will develop a system for scheduling my day by January 15th.” Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Time-specific. Whether this goal is Rewarding depends on what benefit you’ll receive by being more efficient.

Let’s take the goal-setting process one step further by refining a production goal. Often I’ll have clients tell me they have a goal of reaching a certain income level in the coming year. We’ll use $100,000 as our example. If the goal is stated as, “I earn $100,000 this year.”, it qualifies as a SMART goal. The problem is that while it may be a SMART goal, it isn’t a useful one! It is a necessary goal (stating an income target) but it isn’t sufficient to help you get there. While setting a goal of reaching $100,000 (or $200,000 or $500,000) is important, not setting activity goals that support the attainment of your goal is like planning to climb Mt. Everest without planning all the steps along the way! A key, therefore, in attaining a big goal is to set goals for the steps that will bring you there. For instance, if you know your conversion ratios you can set the appropriate activity levels which will allow you to reach your bigger goal.

Clearly not everything stands in your way towards success. By identifying the one or two issues which are obstacles, you begin the process of eliminating or reducing the bottlenecks and impediments to your progress. Rise above the average. Don’t strive for mediocrity. Strive to be the best you.

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Written by Michael Beck, “Head Zookeeper” at , a marketing strategies website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun! Receive a FREE program on recruiting & prospecting success at:
Permission to reprint with full attribution. © 2008 Exceptional Leadership, Inc.