This is an amazing era of small business and entrepreneurship booms. Everywhere you turn, it seems that local, family owned, and small business is on the rise and flourishing. We love the little unique shops full of personality. We love supporting people close to us. Chances are, you yourself have your own ideas that you are bringing to life and making a living from.
We live what we love and love what we do. (And all that Jazz)
This brings us to another new and thriving market: influencers. Or as I like to think of them: people who tell small business owners what to do. Kind of like a boss who doesn’t pay you, but instead asks you to pay them.
And what’s the first thing these all-knowing, magnanimous holders of wisdom will tell us to do? Simple:
Personal goals. Short term goals. Long term goals and marketing goals and strategic goals and and and.
Does anyone else feel like a failure in business if they didn’t set the right goals at the right time? Well, if you do, here’s some relief for you: STOP MAKING GOALS! Go ahead, and just don’t do it (do this instead).
I have always (as in, my whole life) refused to create New Year’s Resolutions. I also refuse to set goals in much the same way, and for many of the same reasons (which I am happy to share with you free of charge).
1. First of all, Goals fill us with a false sense of accomplishment. “What’s that? You’ve decided to lose weight this new year? You must be a motivated and health conscious person!” Well, how many people actually follow through? In my opinion: almost none. A person who is health conscious and motivated doesn’t need to wait for new year’s or write down a list of goals in order to live a healthy life. They just do it.
If something matters to you, you will do it.
2. On the other hand, we are prone to set goals that are too easily accomplished, and so they hold no real value to us. “Next year I want to shoot an elopement in Iceland, and book x-amount of weddings.” And so we do. And then what? How has that contributed in the long run to who you are as a person. We are not driven to real growth.
Which brings me to
3. We tend to set the wrong goals, or our goals are not genuine. Since we hear it from so many different people (set goals set goals set goals), we feel we HAVE to set goals. So we sit down and force something out. We try to do our best and think it through for the long run. But let’s admit it, these goals are not genuine. They didn’t come from our own initiative. Chances are we didn’t think them through well enough and they really don’t lead to the kind of life we want to have lived in the end. So much hassle and frustration, which could easily be avoided.
So what then? How do we do this thing right?
The other day I received an email, targeted to photographers, with the goal to inspire and educated. (I love learning). The email talked about a Creative Manifesto. This concept is not new to me; it’s the same idea that I taught in a parenting class at a local resource centre, when we would encourage the girls to write out “vision statements” for their families.
A Creative Manifesto is a statement, short and to the point, that focuses on WHO WE ARE as individuals. Who am I in my core being? What is most important to me? What values do I hold to?
The reason behind the focus of these statements being WHO I AM, and not WHAT I WANT TO DO, is that we understand the truth: People will act according to their nature.
Therefore (which is one of my favourite big words, btw) knowing who you are means knowing how you will act, and so you can see where you are headed. And if you don’t like the way it looks, you need to change your heart before you can change you works.
Hopefully my views of myself and my work can help inspire you to do some deep soul-searching also.
So what do you think? Are you ready to throw goals out the window, or do still think they are essential. I’d love to hear some different opinions and have some constructive conversation on this (maybe) controversial topic.