Become A Business Magnet: Oh No! Surgery Next Week. And I’m not ready …


By Saralyn Collins


Relax! Actually I’m not really having surgery next week. But I was just speaking with a colleague who is. She outlined all the steps to accomplish so she could be completely ready to take the time off without agonizing over everything that needed to get done during her recouping time. She was working at a faster and more focused pace because the deadline of her surgery was approaching. She wanted to make sure her business was all in order and would not suffer while she took a short time off to recuperate.


ScreamThat brought to mind a similar technique I have used in my coaching – both with myself and with clients. I taught my clients to organize and work their week as if they were leaving for vacation in 10 days and had to make sure all critical elements were completed so they could actually take some time off without worrying constantly.


It’s astonishing how focused and directed you can get about your work if you are leaving for vacation or… if you know you’re having surgery next week. You suddenly know to focus on those elements critical to your business growth – things that will suffer if not completed by the time you leave – for the cruise or the hospital!


So here’s my question: What would happen to your business if you worked like this every day… or even just a couple of days a week? How much more would you accomplish and how much faster would your business grow if you were totally focused on those critical growth elements that simply had to be done?


The New Year is traditionally a time to reflect on where we are in our lives and to think about improvements that we’d like to make. It seems obvious that the first step in choosing appropriate New Year’s Resolutions/Goals should be to define specific goals for what we want to achieve in the coming year.


So … if you were leaving for vacation in two weeks, upon which goals would you focus and devote your time and energy? Do you know which ones are critical vs. which ones are important?


I have to confess. All this talk about setting goals for the New Year makes me nervous. I’ve taken just about every course, read just about every book, listened to numerous tele-classes, and attended multiple workshops. I teach my clients the value of written goals. I teach them how to differentiate between critical and important!
I’m a huge fan of goal setting, but I’m no longer convinced that traditional goal setting works for everyone.


Confession time! No matter how hard I try, I’ve never truly been successful at the traditional method of setting and accomplishing long-term goals. I’ve tried – I promise. I’ve worked at it so hard and usually make some small steps toward success. But alas, sooner or later, I’ve moved back to doing things in ways that work best for me.
That does NOT mean I have not been successful. Quite the contrary! I just had to find systems and processes that worked for me … and “traditional” goal setting did not give me what I needed.


We all have things (goals) that we want to achieve in our lives—getting into better shape physically, building a successful business, raising a wonderful family, writing a best-selling book, and so on.


One technique of traditional goal setting is to teach you to set a goal using the “SMART” method.


S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Actionable
R – Relevant to your big vision and to your life
T – Time frame for completion



OK, I agree that goals need to have most of those elements. But here’s where the problem comes in. After you set these amazing goals, you are taught to “keep your eyes on the goal”… as if that will get you closer to accomplishment—just because you keep that goal pictured in your mind all the time.


Now I’m a visual person, so keeping my “eye” on something makes sense to me. I love vision boards and that type of project. They are so valuable to many people plus sometimes, you just need something to visually remind you why you are working so long and hard!


But I do NOT agree that “keeping your eye on your goal” is the way to make it come true. That “Goal” is merely the RESULT of a PROCESS. You do not focus on the “result” – you focus on the process and all the daily activities you have designed that will move you naturally to that end result.


A concept called “outcome-based thinking” changed everything for me. This is a method where you determine the “outcomes” you simply must have from an activity in order for it to be worth your time, energy, and money. (Those are the three things against which all activity should be balanced.)


By tying goal setting to outcome-based thinking, you find yourself more apt to have designed a schedule to work with those items of great importance as they come up. You learn how to prioritize tasks and how to complete them. You work effectively as if you were going into surgery next week … or vacation in a few days!


One of the greatest values of OBT is what happens when the outcome is clearly understood. When you become clear about the outcomes you must produce, as you engage in that specific activity, you know to change your LANGUAGE and your ACTIONS toward the accomplishment of that specific outcome.


When this happens, each activity in which you participate, has meaning, purpose, and moves you much closer to the accomplishment of your larger goal. You get ready to go on vacation next week!


I am convinced that OBT directly affects the difference in “working hard” and “working smart.” While hard work is a prerequisite for any successful endeavor, entirely too many people work hard all week and yet at the end, can only think of how tired they are and how little they have actually accomplished.


Result Oriented vs Activity Oriented


You’ve heard of “The Hamster Syndrome” – just picture that hamster running the wheel over and over and over. At the end of day, it is exhausted and worn out… and still in the exact same place as it started early that morning. Sound familiar to you?


By applying OBT to each activity before you spend time on it, you have become result oriented and not activity oriented! Now THAT is working SMART!


None of this is to say that goals are useless. I still believe and teach they are critical. When used correctly, they can be very useful.


However, I’ve found that goals are good for planning your progress and outcome-designed systems are good for actually making progress.



You don’t have to be failing in business for a coach to be of value to you. If you need guidance in setting the right outcomes for a more successful 2014, contact Saralyn at 828-649-8011 or Visit her website here. You can also learn many of these strategies each 3rd Thursday at the Biz Magnet Lunch & Learn.

Written by Saralyn Collins