Question: I am very goal-oriented and set very specific objectives for myself. I meet my goals fairly consistently but I just don’t think I’m making the kind of progress personally or professionally that I desire. Any suggestions on how to step up my game?

Answer: Conventional wisdom says that we should always set goals. We’re also told to set “stretch” goals – that is, we need to set objectives that may be attainable but with considerably more effort than normal. Setting goals and achieving them – especially stretch goals, can produce a very satisfying feeling. But think about this for a moment. Is it our goal to simply be satisfied? Or do we want to accomplish amazing things?

Setting and meeting goals doesn’t usually allow us to accomplish amazing things. Let me clarify something here before you get the wrong idea. There is nothing wrong with setting goals and in fact, it’s a necessary process in business and in our personal lives. The differentiator is the mindset we hold about our goals. When we focus only on achieving the goal . . . we probably will. But if we use the goal as a minimum standard for achievement we open ourselves to the possibility that we might accomplish something even bigger and better.

I have been practicing this concept for a number of years and the results are not incremental. Let me explain. Earlier in my career I spent a lot of time visualizing the results I was pursuing. And most of the time those results were realized. But after doing this for a while, I came to understand that by only working to achieve my goals I was actually limiting myself. So I began setting goals in a manner I called Minimum Achievable Standards (MAS). This didn’t mean I set minimal goals – a very important distinction. I made sure that the objectives were realistic and sometimes even of the stretch variety. But then my focus became on how I could become more creative and innovative to perform the task at hand. I really didn’t worry about the goal at that point because I knew it would be achieved. The real question became how far beyond the goal could I go. The results have been exponential ever since.

Goals can be inspirational or perspirational. We can work very hard to achieve our goals. Or we can use goal setting as a springboard to soar to amazing new heights and beyond.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.



Question: Sometimes when I’m trying to make decisions I begin to have doubts. There are so many external factors that could impact my decisions. How do I get past this paralysis?

Answer: We are so inundated with information these days it’s easy to become overwhelmed. And when we’re overwhelmed the paralysis you reference sets in. Sometimes rather than becoming paralyzed, this crush of information causes us to reach false conclusions and we act irrationally. The best example of this is the stock market. The day starts out with good economic news and the Dow Jones Industrial Average soars. So does the NASDAQ and the S&P 500. Early in the afternoon word of political issues in a foreign country cause a major reversal and the markets close substantially down. The next day, the markets rebound and close higher. How can a seemingly unrelated event in a foreign country have that much impact on our economy and on our financial markets? It shouldn’t and it really doesn’t.

It’s all just noise. Markets move on fear and on jubilance. Neither really makes much sense. But we’ve become conditioned to volatility in the financial markets and the overload of information permeates the rest of our lives causing similar volatility in our decision-making process . . . or just paralysis.

It’s important that we recognize noise when it’s present. The best way to do this is to have a clear understanding of the goal or objective we are pursuing. That goal has attached to it a series of decisions that must be made. Is there information that we sift through that might have a true bearing on this goal? If we always measure against the goal we can then block out the noise. For example, let’s say that my goal is to renovate an historic building in a small town and convert it to apartments. A lot of data will come flooding at me every day. I’ll hear about political strife in another country; political strife in our country; the stock market rose/fell 200 points; oil prices may be rising; a competitor just abandoned an historic renovation project (what does he know that I don’t?); interest rates may increase; the cost of lumber may increase; new regulations may be implemented by OSHA, and my favorite restaurant is closing. What to do?

I focus on my goal and I quickly process the information deluge. Of course there are a lot of unknowns, but if I’ve properly assessed the risks of my project, I have a mitigation plan for things like rising interest rates and higher material costs. The rest of it . . . I ignore.

Life is full of noise. The trick is to turn it into white noise that is in the background with no discernible impact on our daily lives. We do that by remembering our goals, our assessment of the risks and our plan to mitigate those risks.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.