Unleashing Entrepreneurs:  The Paradox of Goals

unleashing entrepreneurs

Would it surprise you to learn that some of the most successful entrepreneurs (those in the top ½ - ¼% income-earning arena) struggle with setting and accomplishing goals?  It’s a dirty little secret that isn’t openly talked about, but it’s true.  Here the three most prevalent concerns we hear about goal setting:

  • “I never know where to begin.  I either create a goal from out of nowhere, aim at a slightly bigger version of the same goals I did last year, or I just pick something because I’m supposed to.  Ends up being a waste of time.”
  • “Setting goals narrows my focus and prevents me from opening myself up to other possibilities, so I don’t do it.”
  • “I either can’t hit some goals because I set them poorly or the goals change along the way - which means I can’t report a win there either. ”

What’s a superior model for goal setting so it’s less of a confidence killer, and a more rewarding experience during the period where you are chasing your goals?   Here are the five key elements we’ve recognized to improve your enjoyment and achievement with goal setting:

ONE:  The Goal-Law Combination

“Goals” are fixed items while “laws” are the underlying behaviors, mindsets and activities that must occur consistently to achieve the goal.  A good combination for a goal and law example is a marathon.  The goal might read, “on such and such date, I will run the Chicago Marathon”.  The law may be,  “I’m creating a lifestyle of health, positivity, and discipline with a heavy focus on getting lots of sleep, a clean diet, and daily, cardio-centered exercise.”

TWO:  The Anatomy of a Goal

Second, we believe strong and achievable goals follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal format developed by George T. Doran.  The S.M.A.R.T is an acronym begins with the “s” to address that goals must be Specific.  Second, they must be Measurable.  They also have to be Achievable, they must be Reasonable, and finally good, solid goals must be Time Related.  

THREE:  The Power of Laws

Third, it is important to craft laws of behavior attached to the goal that serve as statements of truth.  The byproduct is that you’ll more enjoy the time period before goal achievement and even hasten the goal into manifestation by virtue of emotional alignment with the future state.

Example:  Instead of only addressing the fixed target:  “By 2018, our revenues will be $15MM”.  Try adding something like this, “We enjoy a disciplined and well-supported sales culture that enables us to grow towards a $15MM revenue target. ”

FOUR:  The Waypoint

Fourth, set smaller milestones, what we call Waypoints, that can punctuate the path.  These are not merely a way to break the goal into smaller steps…they also provide the opportunity to look back at progress made and celebrate it.  

FIVE:  Surrender and Allow

Finally, once you’ve documented your goals, remove from yourself the focus on trying to hit the target and instead place your full attention and passion on being in a mindset that allows the goal to arise.

Become the person and the company that conducts the activities your bigger vision requires before you arrive and you’ll dramatically change the experience and outcome potential.  

The Goal

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. Henry David Thoreau, American author and philosopher

The paradoxical thing about goals is that they plant a seed in our minds that essentially says, “When I get here (accomplish this, make this, do that) things will be better”.  To avoid that danger, enjoy the ride, and achieve more with a grace and confidence – remember to plan carefully and build a goal format that helps you, your team (and your ever-attentive mind), view this moment as the best and most powerful place to begin.

Jon LoDuca is President and CEO of The Wisdom Link and resident Goal Herder

The Four Energies

the four energies

Where’s your business focused?

For most of you following my blog you know that high-performance entrepreneurs fascinate me.  I am just as interested in the more obscure stuff as I am the specific tactical activities that drives performance.

When it comes to company culture, one of the key observations I’ve made over the years addresses FOUR ENERGIES where a company can place its attention.  

So, which one is best?   

Trick question. They’re all important.  What’s critical is that there is a state of balance.  Getting out of balance with these four is where companies begin to struggle.


Out of Balance:  Thinking the business is there to serve YOU.  Feeling entitled with clients or the team, putting your needs first to the exclusion of others…OR trying to serve the business so much you let it run your life, deplete your energy, life force, and creativity.

Balanced:  Looking out for yourself by getting paid well, taking time off, remaining healthy and aligned with your greater purpose.  Operating in the business in accord with your personal Prime Function.


Out of Balance:  Obsessing over the competition and placing so much emphasis on them that you are distracted from the real competition – your own limited focus and ability to execute.

Balanced:  Staying aware of who is in your space and what they offer.  Understanding how players in your space are communicating and how they out-sell your team when they do.  Not allowing the team to obsess.


Out of Balance:  Either caring too much and then, like any co-dependent relationship - creating dysfunction OR neglecting their unique needs altogether and expecting them to remain loyal and active.

Balanced:  Respecting and enjoying your clients.  Serving them with passion and enthusiasm and yet holding the line on boundaries.


Out of Balance:  Becoming fearful of them, angry with them, or overly permissive with them.  The worse sin here – neglecting the team by abdicating the leadership role.

Balanced:  Supporting the team, looking out for their needs and creating value by eliminating obstacles and enriching their professional experience.  Driving their performance by igniting their passions.

Here’s the perfect balance of all FOUR ENERGIES as I’ve witnessed it:  A company where the clients are passionately served by a team who are supported and encouraged by a happy and enthusiastic entrepreneur who doesn’t sweat the competition.

How do you balance?

Generals and Entrepreneurs - Thoughts on Your Role

Washington aside his mount Recently I was speaking with a client about his time, energy and focus. We were discussing how thoroughly burned out he and many entrepreneurs are. And for good cause, this guy has the weight of the world on his shoulders. A business partner with cancer, another key employee with a chronic illness, tight cash-flow, the busyness of life, travel, running a staff, and all the rest. He was running on empty. "Ground down to a dull point" is what my mom used to say.

My suggestion was for him to take a day off. Now. Get a massage, see a movie. Tune out. His reply was no surprise: "Well, I can't right now but I will in a couple of weeks". My take on it? He needs his rest NOW in order to lead effectively. Taking a break is not a reward for good behavior but rather a necessity so that he can make solid strategic decisions. "Your company needs you!" I hammered home.

Here's the upshot. There is a reason that the generals of yore slept in tents and rode on horseback. Generals couldn't allow themselves to fatigue. Generals (and business leaders) fill an entirely different role than a foot soldier and no matter how noble it might be to suffer right along with the men, sleep in a foxhole or run yourself ragged; it's irresponsible. If your job is to direct others' efforts right into the line of fire you have to protect yourself, your judgement, and your ability to creatively solve problems or people can be harmed. Get over trying to be "one of the gang" and remember that you have to lead from a position of clarity, perspective and problem solving. Get rested, do what you need to in order to protect yourself, and then be heroic with your judgement - not your time.

Sounded to me like something a few of my clients would benefit from hearing.

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