Find Your North Star: 4 Insights for Goal Setting

The North Star (or Polaris), located directly above the North Celestial Pole, holds a lot of meaning. While it’s not the brightest star, it’s easy to locate. As an actual, noteworthy, and reliable point in the night sky, it’s a significant symbol for guidance and achievement.

Consider these examples. For centuries, ships relied on celestial navigation, guided by the North Star. In addition, the North Star offered hope and freedom for the enslaved during abolition. While you may not be crossing literal seas or lands, the idea of finding the North Star—your North Star—can highlight the value of goal setting.

Having a goal, no matter the size, is crucial for reaching success in any venture. Imagine attending a meeting or announcing a new policy without any idea of your end goal. Not only would that be confusing, but it would also slow down productivity—and possibly hurt the collective morale and trust of your team members.

Instead, setting your sights on a goal, or North Star, offers you and your team a clear vision. Once you understand the significance of goal setting, you’ll be able to set realistic and ambitious goals with ease. Below are four insights to shine light on the value of goals—and lay a clear path toward your North Star of success.

Insight #1: Start with Clarity in Mind

First, clarity for your goals is vital. If you don’t know where your business is going, it’s impossible to achieve real progress. And without a clear roadmap and explanation, a goal could appear unnecessary or out of place to your employees.

For example, you wouldn’t choose a random number of sales as your goal without taking the time to research what makes the most sense for your firm’s success. Nor would you ask your employees to waste time in unnecessary meetings or to duplicate work processes. If you’re setting up a product launch, though, you’d ensure your item sells well by clarifying how to get those sales. Start your goal-setting process by clarifying the steps needed to get where you’re going.

Insight #2: Determine Direction and Details

Next, having a sense of direction when goal setting is crucial. Imagine a child’s birthday party with a piñata: blindfolded youngsters swing wildly in hopes of breaking open all the candy. While this is fun for a celebration, it’s not the way to set goals!

Making sure you’re heading in the right direction with goal setting is key—instead of swinging wildly in hopes of getting it right. Knowing the what, why, and how of a goal points you in the right direction—and your sense of direction increases as you focus on the specifics. So, rather than setting vague goals that generalize your vision, you’ll want to aim for specific figures, dates, and other details.

Insight #3: Build in a Margin for Error

Third, you need a margin for error. If you’re a free thinker, having clear, specific goals laid out may feel like painting yourself into a corner. But look at it this way: no matter the goal, you’ll likely run into some obstacles you weren’t expecting. As a business owner, you’re navigating economic, cultural, personal, and even perhaps political landscapes that could impact your business in ways you couldn’t anticipate.

This is why leaving a margin of error is so critical. When done expertly, goal setting leaves room for the unexpected. Instead of feeling blocked in, try to see that wiggle room as a pressure valve, similar to a “rainy day” fund. Allowing a margin for error means there’s room for exploration and spontaneity.

Insight #4: Increase Your Motivation

Finally, motivation matters! Mindtools describes the power of setting goals as having “long-term vision and short-term motivation”. While this is the case for many goals, it’s worth aspiring toward goals that build your motivation—from start to finish.

Achieving your goals doesn’t necessarily have to be hard, but it can be challenging for any number of reasons. If you don’t have enough fire, passion, and desire to achieve a goal, the process is likely going to be a lot harder than it has to be. Committing to goals you don’t really want serves little purpose.

Stick to goals that you want bad enough that the decision to do what you need to do, in order to achieve it, is easy or easier. Create goals you desire with your heart, guts, and soul – those goals that inspire you to do the work required. These types of goals will get you excited and motivate you to achieving them.

As you refine your goal setting, it will become easier and easier. Plus, you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment with each step toward your goal. The stability that comes from quality goal setting allows your North Star to stay front and center.

Bringing it All Together

Remember, you’re setting your business and team up for success by clarifying your goals, determining your direction and details, building in a margin for error, and increasing your motivation. By tuning in to what matters most, you are more likely to gain your team’s trust and achieve your goals in the timeframe you have set.  

Before closing, here’s an extra insight. Remember that setting goals can come in different forms. There are seemingly endless ways to approach this process. Recognize the versatility of goal setting as part of what makes it so valuable. It’s about as customizable as it can get! And use the insights covered here as a reference tool as you develop your own. After all, there’s more than one way to track your North Star.

Do you feel like your business has plateaued or you are sick and tired of being sick and tired? Could you use a shot in the arm to make even more progress on your goals? Consider working with The Accountability Coach. I’m here to help you accelerate your results, so you can enjoy your ideal business and ideal life! Reach out today for your complimentary consultation.

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