If there is one piece of universally accepted business advice, it may be to set goals. Not far behind would be to be sure that your goals are written, specific and measurable. And then we’d probably get to the advice about setting them high and building stretch goals -- goals that are achievable, but will be difficult to pull off.
Personally I’m a big believer in goals and stretch goals but as an investment manager and financial adviser, I am frequently talking about managing risk, setting realistic expectations and being a prudent investor. Don’t go for the home run. Take reasonable risks, earn an appropriate return for taking those risks and generally go for slow and steady returns in a diversified portfolio.
Perhaps true for investments, but perhaps not for charitable fundraising! Through the efforts of many great friends and our family members, we were able to raise over $7,300 for cancer research. For us and our event, it was a record haul. The annual fundraising event has grown from a few hundred dollars, to $1,000, to over $3,000 last year and then we more than doubled our donation from last year! It was a smashing success by every measure. Last week, we delivered our check, took our pictures, delivered all the thank yous and as we were talking about next year, I went into expectation setting mode and started to say things like it would still be great if we do the $3,000 again next year, just in case we can’t repeat the performance, yada, yada, yada.
Well, the good friend who runs the event would have none of it. “Absolutely not, we have to get bigger and raise more every year! Next year, WE WILL BE BIGGER". And you know what? A funny thing happened on the way to the parking lot. Instead of talking about how to repeat the $7,000 we immediately started talking about ways to grow the event even bigger and raise even more. Stretch goals are as much about attitude as they are about execution. We started to think about how to grow rather than just protect and repeat what we had done. After a bit, it almost resembled a plan! (We'll talk about planning and execution another day) But that is exactly what happens when you set any goal, you start trying to figure out how you are going to achieve that specific goal. As we brainstormed about it more, the ideas started flowing, the excitement grew and we now believe that next year will be bigger and better than ever. Attitude started it all.
Everyone should certainly have investing goals and a plan to achieve them, but if you haven't revisited your personal, professional, civic or charitable goals in a while, give it a try and don't be afraid to stretch, you might be surprised how achievable they really are.
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