Here is an edited version of an article that first appeared in Smart Business Magazine. I wrote the article to advance the idea that when your values, financial goals and actions are linked, the outcomes can permeate your life in positive and powerful ways. It also describes a process that we use with our clients at Singer Burke and Company. I share it with you here as a way to begin an exploration of values and life goals. –Matthew
“There’s nothing quite so immediately energizing as the intermediate goal of a tough, firm deadline.”
– Aikido Master, George Leonard
Founders of great, enduring organizations share a common characteristic. They have a strong set of personal core values, and the remarkable ability to bring these values to life, and translate them into action. These leaders know that the simple act of making a written commitment to a goal can cause a surge in clarity and energy. And the more the goal is in alignment with their core values, the more energy that will flow from the commitment.
Through the use of a highly effective tool called Smart Goals you can articulate your personal and professional core values, and bring them into alignment with your actions. The result is a uniquely high octane fuel to power positive, constructive change in your personal and financial life.
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can-begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” – Goethe
A Smart Goal is one that is:
…and can be directly related to your strategic vision (the big picture) to ensure that there will be alignment between your actions and the most important principles of your life.
A strategic vision consists of three elements:
- Mission Or Purpose – This describes your fundamental reason for existence.
- Core Values – These are timeless and unchanging, unlike practices and strategies which are changing all the time to adapt to present circumstances.
- Overall Goals – These are the “big goals” that encompass the ideas found in your mission or purpose, and that need to be broken down into specific action plans or Smart Goals.
While it is important to do the work necessary to create a vision statement and core values, it is equally important to translate these principles into concrete action. TheSmart Goals approach does just that by providing a framework for moving forward.
We are what we repeatedly do.”
Once you have articulated your core values it is time to analyze how you currently spend your time and energy. Action plans can then be created to close the gap between who you are and who you want to be. The Smart Goals process can help you design very precise behaviors with specific timelines that are motivated by deeply held values.
Aikido master George Leonard recognizes life’s realities, and opportunities, by observing: “The gift of an externally imposed deadline isn’t always available. Sometimes you need to set your own. But you have to take it seriously. One way to do this is to make it public. Tell people who are important in your life. The firmer the deadline, the harder it is to break, the more energy it confers… .”
Creating alignment between values and action is the best way to get there. Using Smart Goals is a smart way to begin.