Just because you’re “hitting the target” doesn’t mean it is something you should be aiming at.
Goals are supposed to have targets along the way. All goals. Sales, yep; audience development, you bet; market growth, surely; process efficiencies, absolutely. And so on. But, are you sure you really want that target in your sights?
I recall seeing a warning sign for hunters in East Texas. It showed the silhouettes of two animals—a wild hog and a black bear. The silhouettes are quite similar. Shoot the former one, you get bacon and ribs, but shoot the latter and you get a healthy fine. Both could be targets and seem the same, but the results are quite different. So it is with targets we set for our personal and professional goals.
The size and shape of the target is exactly that of the hunter’s prey. The hunter lines up the shot. Bang. The prey does not go down. Again, he shoots. And again. Still, there are no results other than being accurate because the target is actually a life-size steel silhouette of the animal that is actually desired. If the goal was to get food, the hunter is greatly disappointed, but if the goal was to improve skills for when those skills are critical, the shooter has succeeded. Set targets for skill development, and different targets for skills application.
Don’t be the one who sets a target and refuses to stop “shooting at it” because it looks exactly like what you want.
“My target is to get 2,000 names in my e-newsletter address list because I’ve been told that is the minimum that I need to be effective and to grow my reach for marketing my services.” When that becomes the target, you might collect names in sloppy ways and/or add people who enjoyed chatting with you about one thing or another, but are not really prospective clients. Sure, the person may be number 1,999 on your quest to 2,000, but that does not make them a real target if your goal is to produce income instead of “building a list.”
“My goal is to become more effective in meaningful conversations in during short interaction periods.” That is a worthy goal that many more people should have. To develop empathy and connection in short time spans is a valuable and rewarding skill to develop. Perhaps the target for this goal would be “two meaningful conversations at each chamber business after hours.”
For a hunter, targets can be for practice or for putting food on the table. In your personal and professional life, be more clear, certain and intentional about what is actually a target, and what the target is for…practicing your skills or “bringing home the bacon.” Don’t keep shooting at a target just because you can hit it … make it one that you really want and need.