As we approach the end of another year that saw continued economic hardship, global chaos, and an endless amount of concern over the future, have you asked yourself “What do I want to accomplish next year?” It might not be a pressing thought right now, but I suggest you begin to think in terms of next year’s accomplishments. As October approaches, I begin to begin the process of assessing, prioritizing, and planning next year’s targets. During this time I look over my 2013 scorecard and assess my progress towards those things I wanted to accomplish. If you have never set goals but would like to start, I would suggest picking up a copy of my latest eBook Strategic Goals: The DNA of Personal Success.
This book lays out the framework for developing strategic goals and teaches you about the implementation process. It contains information about scorecarding which is the process used to quantify the quality of your actions. It also provides insight into identifying and achieving a sustainable target. The time to plan for 2014 is now. So what types of goals do you set for the coming year? Well, I would suggest you develop goals dealing with three specific areas. First, you have to set a financial goal. There is no area of life that is untouched by finances. If you begin with the assumption that every area of your life is supported by financial activity, you must ensure that you have a strong financial plan. A financial plan involves two specific areas of strategic planning.
Part of your financial planning needs to be focused on the basics of budgeting and debt reduction. This area of finance might be better served by a financial mentor. This would be a professional who provides financial coaching. The second part of financial planning involves investment and estate planning. Here you need to establish a team of professionals who specialize in several core areas including legal, investment/retirement planning, and budget/debt management coaching. Before settling on a professional service provider, I recommend conducting as many interviews as you can to find the professional that will meet your needs. Do not settle on the first professional you find. There are many resources available to identify legal services that focus on estate planning. The best resource to find the legal help you need is the American Bar Association. You can visit the American Bar Associations website to get legal help in any state: http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm.
For investment/retirement specialists, I again suggest interviewing several investment advisors until you find a planner who has the following three qualities. First, does your financial planner listen to your dreams and aspirations? Financial planning is about positioning yourself to achieve your dreams. If an advisor fails to listen to you, then you will fail to achieve the desires of your heart.
Second, does your financial planner have the heart of a teacher? Sean McComber, a Certified Financial Planner™ for Key Financial Group out of Frederick, MD said “Though many people think about financial planning in terms of the technical reports and products that are the tools of the trade, a great Financial Planner must have the heart of a teacher at their core – able to empathize with people to understand their motivations, willing to educate them about how to make the most of their opportunities, and compassionate enough to guide them through a lifetime of choices to reach their goal of a life well lived.” The planner needs to take the time necessary to teach you about the strategic direction of the plan.
Third, the planner should be willing to answer any questions about how compensation is calculated. As a client, you have the right to know how the planner is being compensated for the work being done. You need to have confidence that this person is more interested in you and your dreams than in sales goals, investment products and commissions.
Developing the financial strategy, which meets with your expectations, will take some time. Therefore, it is important to work with a life coach who provides both personal development and financial mentoring. A life strategy will motivate you to make better decisions concerning how you manage all aspects of your life. The natural outflow of personal strategic management is the ability to make better decisions. Making better decisions will position you to achieve your goals. In these two areas of financial management, budget and debt management and financial planning, you need professionals who work together to provide financial stability.
The second area to set strategic goals is in the area of professional development. Let me define professional development for the sake of this conversation. Professional development is development that moves you towards a sustainable target within your life. This target could be of a personal nature such as starting your own business or writing a book. You do not have to be currently engaged in the profession you are seeking to develop. You can be, but it is not a prerequisite to, developing a strategy for professional development. For example, I work a normal corporate job Monday through Friday for a bio-tech company. However, I recently attended a global conference for life coaching in Tennessee to grow as a life coach for The Vita-Copia Group, a life coaching company I started in 2011.
Professional development is about achieving the sustainable targets you have identified in your life. You could pursue professional development for your current employment. However, I would suggest you pursue that type of training on the company dime. For the sake of argument, I would challenge you to set strategic goals to develop yourself in areas that you are passionate about; areas outside of your current employment responsibilities. Consider this type of training to be personal-professional development.
The third and final area of strategic goals should be personal. These are goals that focus on something you desire to achieve. One goal I set in this area is to read books on leadership and investing. I am not a great reader. For me to actually finish a book in a year is good. However, I have chosen to set a personal goal to read six books in 2013. For me, it is not just about reading the books that are important, it is also about applying the knowledge gained through my reading. So the strategic goal to read six books in 2013 on leadership and investing is coupled with the goal to incorporate that knowledge into my life. That is called personal development.
You can set strategic goals in many areas of your personal life. Starting an exercise program, serving at a local ministry, or spending more time learning how to play an instrument can all be positive personal development goals. The key to a strategic personal goal is to challenge your mind to grow. Learn new things and then take that knowledge and glean wisdom. What is it about what you learned that makes you a better person who can then go out and impact the world for good? That is the purpose of a strategic personal goal.
So what are you waiting for? Begin the process of setting your 2014 strategic goals. And when you have developed your strategic goal, feel free to leave a comment on this blog describing your goal. If you want to develop an accountability partner to help you achieve this goal, email your goal to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will check back with you throughout 2014 to see how you are doing. If you want to learn more about life coaching visit http://kenrupert.com. I can help you set in motion the actions that will assist you in achieving your strategic goals.
Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Strategic Goals: The DNA of Personal Success at Amazon’s Kindle Store. You can also pick up a copy of Planned Excellence: How to Achieve Greatness through Strategic Planning at Amazon.com