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Five critical questions to help you meet your goals

As we prepare to enter the second month of a new year, now is a good time to reflect on where we stand in relation to the goals we made for ourselves back in January. Are we on track? Have we given up yet? Hopefully not!

Since 2001, I’ve worked with more than 400 companies to help them grow and prosper in some of the worst economic times in U.S. history. The key to growth in such turbulent times, I’ve learned, is centered on not only on the goals we set for ourselves and our companies, but the ability to stay the course in relation to those goals.

And by staying the course, I don’t always mean hitting a goal dead on — sometimes, it’s OK to change the aim as you go, as long as the final destination is still positive growth.

Einstein famously said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same consciousness that created it.” A major part in staying the course is being able to acknowledge just what Einstein was talking about – understanding that you cannot solve a problem by doing the same actions or thinking the same thoughts that got you into a problem in the first place.

So, how do we change our thinking? How do we find a new way of doing something—a way to stay our course and meet our goals for the year? With more than ten years of experience working with companies to set and achieve business growth goals, I’ve learned exactly what it takes to do just this.

You must change your view point, gather more information, do more research, and ask a series of tough questions. What’s more, you must be prepared to answer these questions thoughtfully, honestly, and with a willingness to change your habits.

1) What really matters? Get good at focusing on the key issues and not getting bogged down in the details of things that don’t matter. What do you really want to do? How do you want to impact your clients? Your employees?

2) What’s the aim/outcome? In order to get where you want to go and stay on track throughout the journey, it’s important to address this first – you must outline where you want to go and what you want the end result to be. Make sure you can verbalize this.

3) Why? Why do you want to do it? Why is it important? Why are you inspired? If you get to the point of origin of the idea, you set yourself up to stay on track and achieve your goals. Tony Robbins says, “Reasons come first, answers come next.”

4) What’s most important to you? The world wants customization, you can’t treat one situation the same as the one before it, but if you’re not asking this question it means you treat every situation the same as the one before it.

5) Who else cares? Who else cares about your company’s mission, vision, helping your employees grow? This takes a lot of thought – you need to take the time to find the other people who care about you, your business and its direction. Find ways to cooperate not compete.

Understanding and verbalizing the answers to these five questions is better than understanding a value proposition or elevator speech—this is what will set you and your team apart from the competition.