Continuing the series
With this week’s topic “Make Goals”.
Drum roll please!
And…here we are. This is the long awaited 38th in the series post finishing the series! So, I suppose the heading to this ought to read: Ending the series. At any rate, this is it, the end of the line for my subset of the 100 wisest words series. I don’t know if you’ll miss it, but I myself will now have to start coming up with my own fresh topics each week. So, part of me will definitely miss it!
It’s kind of ironic
I didn’t plan it this way, but the irony is not lost on me. 40+ weeks ago I made a goal to write a weekly blog based on a list of “wise words” published by someone else, and here we are as I reach the goal with a post about making goals! I promise it just happened that way.
What is a goal?
The term “goals” gets batted around a lot, but before setting a goal it is important to know what it is, and what it is not. A goal is big and time sensitive. It is not an objective (those are the steps you take to reach the goal), a resolution or a mission. A goal is something “out of the box” that you are trying to achieve. You should have goals set by week, month, year, 5 years and 10 years (as an example)
OK, so let’s dive in. Why is it so important to set goals? The short answer is; without goals you’ll never know when you’ve achieved what you set out to achieve. As author Bill Copeland says: “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”. And that is just what many people do.
How does making goals help?
There are several things making a goal will accomplish. Goals give you focus, help you stay motivated and measure progress, they help you stay motivated and ultimately help you achieve more. Of course, just setting the goal is only the first step…you have to take action to achieve the goal once it is set.
It’s like driving
I like to compare goal setting to taking a road trip. Before you jump in the car and head off down the road, you need to have a destination in mind. Just driving around until you see someplace you want to stop will only waste time and money. And with fuel at $5.00 a gallon (or more in some places) you can’t sustain that model. No, you must have a destination selected before you even walk out the door to get in the car!
But the goal itself is just not enough
What good is it to know where you want to go without some idea of how you plan to get there? Again, like driving, simply saying “I plan to go to Los Angeles” and then driving around aimlessly hoping eventually you’ll wind up in Los Angeles won’t work. You have to map out the trip. And, yeah, I know with a GPS in your car it’s easier but stick with me here.
The first step
The first step in goal setting, believe it or not, is knowing where you are NOW. If you want to go to LA, establishing a starting point is paramount! Following directions from Atlanta to LA doesn’t work if you are in Billings, Montana. And yeah, I get your GPS figures that out for you but don’t get stuck on that, the whole driving thing is just an analogy.
One BIG goal, many smaller objectives
You may have heard it said that the way to eat an elephant is: One bite at a time. This is also true with goals. Let’s face it, big goals are not achieved in one fell swoop (now THERE’S an oldie for ya!). Big goals are achieved one objective (bite) at a time.
Once you have decided on a BIG goal and know where you are at in relation to that goal it’s time to look for intermediate objectives. A series of smaller “goals”, if you will, that lead to achieving that big goal. Let’s go back to that trip from Atlanta to LA by car. Getting to LA is your big goal, but now you have to map out your route, and since you know it is going to take several days you’re going to have to figure out where you’ll stop to rest along the way.
You pick a route (a series of highways) and then decide how many hours per day you’ll drive and figure out where you’ll be along the route when you need to stop. In those locations you’ll make sleeping arrangements…maybe family, maybe a hotel, maybe a campsite…it doesn’t matter as long as you know ahead of time so you’ll have a place to rest.
Now that big goal doesn’t seem quite as daunting. You have smaller, objectives (intermediate goals) to achieve along the way that keep you moving toward your bigger goal. So, you don’t have to worry about LA on day one, you only have to worry about reaching your first stopping point. You set objectives that are reasonable, measurable, and achievable. Achieve all your objectives, and you achieve your goal! Easy right!?
Not so fast!
What if something interferes with an objective, or you change your mind about wanting to go to LA along the way? In our example, what happens if your transmission decides to blow out on day two? In those cases, you need to re-evaluate and replan. It’s as simple as deciding if LA is still your ultimate destination (it is in this story) and then set objectives anew from wherever you are at.
Goals are not stagnant. It is important to periodically review your goals and decide whether they are still goals you want to achieve. The goals are yours, so it is perfectly reasonable to drop a goal and add a new one…let’s face it LIFE HAPPENS, and we need to adjust when it does.
As a freelance business owner (face it, your VO and acting career is a freelance small business) it is imperative that you set goals for yourself and your business. Without goals, you’ll never know if you’ve become “successful” (as you have defined success for yourself). What do you want your VO or acting career to look like next week? Next month? Year? Decade? Only you can answer these questions for yourself, and I would bet there are as many right answers as there are voiceover artists and actors.
Set some objectives for yourself. Want to become an A-list actor? Ask yourself what steps you need to take to get there. Will you need training? Maybe a degree? Just like our trip from Atlanta to LA (which is a trip many VO Artists/Actors want to take, BTW) the first step is to determine where you are in relation to that goal. Find a coach who can evaluate your talent/ability (someone who won’t pump smoke up your…well…backside). Then, based on that honest evaluation, map out the objectives along the way to get where you want to be. Get training, get an agent, book some student films, then a couple Indie films and finally some 5 or less roles and co-star roles. Whatever it takes. And then FINALLY…keep at it…keep your eyes on the next objective and routinely evaluate if your ultimate goal is still right for you. There are many forks in the road, and you MAY want to take one!
It’s your journey
And only you can map it out. It doesn’t matter (to anyone but you) what your goals and objectives are. What’s important is that you HAVE them and are tracking them. So: Make Goals!