01:42 – Setting Goals on January 1st
For most of us, January 1st is not only the start of the new year, but it is generally the day when we take a good hard look at our lives and set goals for the year ahead. Many people make a promise to themselves they are going to achieve their goals, but unfortunately this is the day when most promises are made, only to be broken. Does this sound like you? How many times have you set a goal for yourself and before you know it, it’s been thrown into the too hard basket? It was just too overwhelming, or maybe you didn’t have a plan of action to help you achieve your goal, or you just didn’t have the mental focus and commitment level you needed in moving forward? Perhaps the goal was a big-ticket item and a little too ambitious for the stage of life you are at now?
Usually, goals are focused around family, improving health and wellbeing, exercise more, eat less, building relationships, addressing finances, creating abundance, improving quality of life. When you set your goals, what areas of your life do you think about? Do you think about what you want for your life? Perhaps you want to smash that audition, improve your vocal range, have more students, upscale your teaching job, or maybe you’re thinking about starting your own voice studio business?
03:26 – How I set my goals
For me, I love January 1st. The first day of every new year feels like a new beginning and I feel that I’ve been given a chance to wipe the slate clean, reflect, re-calibrate and start over. I love looking back on the previous year and checking off my goals. It is amazing when you can do this and see everything that you have actually managed to accomplish. Sometimes you forget about those smaller milestones. And if there are things on my list that I haven’t been able to achieve, I am never hard on myself, I just re-evaluate those goals to see if they are still relevant.
Here’s some good news! If you still haven’t spent the time to really dig deep and you haven’t done the soul-searching to figure out what you truly want to achieve in 2021, it’s not too late. It’s never too late to figure out your goals and to go after them!!
But don’t waste time, today is the day to think about the things that you want for a better future. It’s not too late to think about how you can have more clarity, energy, courage, be more productive or how you can best serve others, be it your students or members of your family or even your voice community? It’s time to think about your relationships and how you can connect with others in a more meaningful way, and not just on a superficial level?
Whether you’re quitting a bad habit or picking up a healthier one, wanting to find a pathway to a better version of you, it is important that as you set about chasing those goals, you have a strategy, some kind of a plan to protect those promises you are making to yourself. You need to take care of those goals and protect them the way you would your family. Don’t make your goals homeless.
05:40 – Achieving your goals
You know, everyone has the ability to make their goals come true and you can absolutely achieve every single one of them. However, many people mistakenly believe that goal setting simply means putting a goal on paper, setting a date for completion, marking off checkpoints as they occur and then starting all over again. Such a mentality hinders people from success because a goal isn’t a one-time thing that you eventually scratch off a list. Setting a goal is really about changing yourself for the long term. Goals aren’t short-term, quick-fix things; they are fixed and immovable destinations that show the world who you want to become or what you want to achieve.
06:38 – The facts about goal setting
So in this podcast, we are going to get to the core of why you’re having trouble implementing your goals and identify some necessary steps for you to take charge of your life. But before we launch into that let’s look at some interesting stats:
Approximately 80 percent of people never set goals for themselves even though they claim to understand the importance of goal setting in order to improve their life. This is especially true among people who are not involved in some sort of business or entrepreneurial endeavor that promotes goal setting.
Even more surprising, is that the 20 percent of the population that actually does set goals, roughly 70 percent fail to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. And when you take into consideration the fact that many of these goal-setting people strive for easily attainable, small goals, it’s a wonder that anyone accomplishes anything remarkable at all in business and in life. Wow!!! It’s scary really!
07:58 – Traps to avoid
But before you rush out and set random goals, you need to know what traps to avoid. What follows are the most common reasons why people fail at achieving their goals. I am not going to delve into the first few as each one of these are self-explanatory and include:
Fear of success and/or failure
Lack of commitment to the goal
Analysis paralysis, many people let questions and doubts paralyse them
Lack of clarity around the goal
Having too many goals
Lack of self-worth
Lack of motivation to change
There are a few other very significant reasons why people don’t achieve their goals and these are the ones that are not often discussed. These are all related to a lack of understanding about the goal-setting process. Avoid these roadblocks and goal attainment will be yours. So let’s look at how we can best set ourselves up for success.
09:23 – Start now (step one)
Number one you need to start at the present.
And what that means is that when you set your goals, you need to start from now, that is the present by looking at what your strengths are. Identifying your weaknesses? And that will give you an important clue as to what you can do better at in your life? Look at all the mistakes you’ve made, and then turn those around to reflecting upon what are the lessons you’ve learned from those mistakes? What do you need to do to move forward, and to ensure that you don’t make those mistakes again? Change your mindset on all those times that things didn’t go as you planned for them to go and learn by those lessons. Weirdly, I love making mistakes and I tell all my students to embrace every mistake they make because they have just been given an exclusive opportunity to learn and grow. As a kid, when I was at school, some of the teachers were so cruel and they would hit us with the cane when we did something wrong or punish us somehow if we didn’t know the right answer. So I grew up being scared of making mistakes and that was a bad thing because it was stifling my growth. When I finally learned for myself, through the school of hard knocks that I was actually learning something by making mistakes, having a fall, experiencing failure. Not only did I learn through my own life experiences, but I learned how to make better choices in the future. Most importantly, learning for myself made me feel grateful for those times of failure, hurt and discomfort and gave me an overwhelming sense of appreciation for my accomplishments.
So, my friend, you need to take a look at where you are at now in order to set the right goals for yourself. Yes, exactly where you are right at this very moment in time.
As you are stepping into the future, you cannot do this without grounding yourself in the present moment. You need to look back before you can look ahead. It’s like reading a novel. When you are in the middle of reading a novel, and you put it down, even for a moment, you don’t just pick it up again and start reading it from some random page, you pick up from the exact spot from where you left off. Otherwise, the storyline will make no sense to you if you do that, it’s very confusing because you have missed out on key events that will help you make sense of what is in the future for the characters and how they came to be there. And that is what your future will look like. You narrative will also be very confusing.
Let’s look at another scenario, If you are teaching a new student, do you randomly start teaching them whatever you feel they may need without listening to them first? Don’t you access where they are at when they come to you, and you ask them to sing so you have an understanding of their strengths, their weaknesses. How you proceed in the future and your teaching objectives for that student and what areas of voice they need help with is determined by their current skill set, their past training and experiences? Where your student is at today, will determine how you proceed with them. Likewise, your life journey always starts at your current location. You cannot chart your path forward if you don’t know where you are starting at right now.
So take this challenge and check out where life’s journey has taken you and evaluate from there. I urge you to check out the lessons, the highlights, the hardships, the mistakes, the opportunities and how each of these have shaped who you are today. If you are have trouble remembering past events or have just simply chosen to forget some of them, just scroll through your photos, text messages, go onto your social media and check out your posts. This is the best way to jolt your memory.
So instead of racing into the next phase of your life, look at your past first. Do you need to slow down, or do you need to step it up? Take the time to see what areas of your life you need to focus on. Doing this work will give you clarity. If you don’t have clarity, you can’t make the right decisions in order to move forward. Your destination needs to be clear – something you can visualize and describe to others. Without such a clear view of what you want in life, you’ll be forever changing course and falling short of your potential.
14:18 – Focus (step two)
Number two – Focus
is really important! This is as important as commitment. You need to have the mental focus on the goal or the ambition that you desire. People achieve their goals through focus, commitment and hard work. For me personally, I don’t worry about whether the goal is realistic or not. To me, I believe that if you have a goal and your heart is committed and your mind is focused there also, you can do it, you can achieve anything. So don’t let anyone try to tell you what is realistic and achievable for you or not. Don’t let people around you hold you back. Let your results speak for themselves and show others what is possible.
I always wanted to be a professional singer, but I was told by the nun’s at my school, that it was not a career option for a young woman to pursue a profession in the entertainment industry. At that time women were expected to become secretaries, school teachers, nurses, hairdressers, housewives and mothers, not entertainers. I wasn’t even allowed to sing in the school choir because they told me I was way too loud and my voice didn’t blend in with the other singers in the choir. I didn’t have that pretty angelic voice, I was more like a 14 year old Tina Turner. So what did I do instead? I focused on my dream, practised every day and joined a working band, performing five nights a week at the age of 15 while I was still at school being taught by those same nuns that told me to forget about my dreams. I didn’t need to sound angelic to be in this band and could belt my heart out without being ridiculed by people from my school. I had the last laugh and they didn’t know it but I was earning more money than any of my school teachers.
The lesson here is don’t let the people you meet and you share your goals with tell you what is realistic. If was the case, I would never have become a professional singer. I would never have attended my first audition that led to my first job performing as the lead singer of a professional band at the age of 15 years. I got the whole “who do you think you are”, even from my parents? “You think you can sing? You’re just a kid, you’re good for nothing”. For me I had to make it work because I had no plan B, I was committed to being a singer from the age of 5 and at the age of 15 years, I put in the mental focus and achieved my goal. I wanted it so badly.
As a child growing up, I was also told that I was dumb, that I was stupid, lazy and good for nothing by many people around me, including some of my family members, so I didn’t go to university straight out of school. But what did I instead was, I waited till later life after my 35 year professional performance career. I set the goal and developed the mental focus, and proved them all wrong. Well kind of… I still don’t have a bachelor’s degree, but guess what? I have a master’s degree and 18 months ago I was awarded a PhD!!! Can you imagine the reaction I received when at age 55 years, I told people that I was going to undertake a PhD? Not only did people not understand why I would wan to do it but few believed that I could do it! I proved them all wrong!!! So what I am saying is don’t quit, don’t delay, and don’t get distracted. Stay true and focussed to what it is that you want, to set the intention and the goal. If anyone tells you that you can’t do it, Run a mile as fast as you can!!
Find the people that you know that are willing to share the journey with you and will help you stay focussed. They can be friends, colleagues, family members, spouse, housemates, just anyone who is willing to come along for the ride. Shout about it. Tell those people you are on a mission. Enlist them as officers on patrol when you lose focus and you’re slipping back into your old ways or not moving forward new goals.
19:16 – Competency (step three)
Number three is competency
You need to develop the competency and the skills that are required of you to achieve your goals. Many people fail at their goals because they don’t know where to start and sometimes this means developing new skills and acquiring new knowledge. If you don’t know where to start, you need to increase your competency and you have to go all in with your learning, no matter what your goal is. Education is knowledge and knowledge is power. When I decided to develop a property portfolio, I began attending property seminars, listened to webinars and read publications about investing in property. When I wrote my book on CCM singing voice pedagogy, I went all in with my learning in order to create content for the book. I didn’t just go out without knowing what I was doing and having no plan on how I was going to write the book. If you have a big ticket goal especially, you need to put all your chips into learning.
Your goal may be “I want to open a successful voice studio”. If you don’t know where to start, what are you going to do about it? Do you let the voices of self-doubt inside your head take over or do you develop that mental focus to go and learn what it is you need to do to build your studio and create the income you need and want to sustain your lifestyle. You may just need to go and educate yourself and develop the appropriate business skills, learn how to manage finances and tax obligations, how to market your studio and, how to write a fool proof business plan. You may need to find the resources to upgrade your knowledge in all those areas. You can find online courses, starting with a webinar, there are a bunch of podcasts, read books about wealth creation.
You can increase competency by going out and surrounding yourself with a network of people who can guide you. Find those who have been successful, speak to your network of specialists in those key areas, such as your accountant, find a mentor, someone who has owned and operated a successful studio and ask them how they did it. What were the five key moves they made in order to become so successful? Put yourself in a position where you increase the probability of making those goals happen by networking with others who have done it before and go and learn from them. Just a side note be sure that if your goal is to own and operate a successful voice studio business, it is not enough to go and learn about singing voice pedagogy exclusively. Being a great singing teacher, doesn’t mean that you are going to be an amazing business owner. It is no point knowing everything about the voice if you suck at running a business and mismanage money. It is an entirely different skill set.
So don’t rush out and put all your money into your start-up costs, have money to invest in your commitment to learning. You must create this mind shift, to becoming open to learning in order for you to be able to consume information, upgrade your skills and implement this knowledge.
If this is what you need to do, I urge you to stop watching Netflix and random YouTube videos now, and only consume instructional videos. Stop reading random fiction books, only read books related to the goals you want to accomplish. All your focus and mental power needs to go into the learning department for achieving your goals.
23:25 – Working in steps (step four)
Number four is working in steps
Now a goals can either be short or long term and then there are the simple goals that we set regularly when we plan what we want to accomplish for that day, that week, or even that month. Those are usually fairly easy achievable goals, such as, tidy the office, send an email, do the bookwork. I said they were easy, I didn’t say they were things we enjoyed haha!!
Usually a long term goal can take about three to five years to achieve. Thinking about the big picture is important, especially with long-term goals and envisioning your success can help keep you motivated. However, if the goal is too big, then you can work in step ups. By stepping up it means that you start with a really small more achievable goal and then you step up to your bigger ticket goals. I suggest that a small goal would be one that is a short term one that is usually reachable in one to three years. And they can often be used as the little pit stops along the way to our long term goals. Okay so let’s go back to the example of the goal being you wanting to own and operate a successful teaching business that gives you a sustainable income.
Let’s make this goal more clear and simple and define your goal as being that in five years you want to be the owner/ operator of a voice studio generating $100, 000 net income per annum.
Now that goal in itself is not easy but achievable and of course the actions you take to try to accomplish your goal will play a huge role in whether you reach it or not. Now the way you formulate that goals is extremely important too. Achieving that long term goal will be made easier and far more achievable by setting smaller short term goals along the way. These smaller, planned steps will help you stay on track, focused, giving you a sense of accomplishment along the way. And most importantly, this will help you to overcome any unforeseen obstacles along the way.
So once you have set your long term goal, step back and plan how you are going to achieve it by working backwards. Work from the end goal and work out say five major moves with deadlines that will inspire you to stay on track. In the example of growing your studio business that first move could be writing a business plan. The second could be recruiting 5 new students this week, then shift the goal post to ten over the next month, until before you know it there are 50 new students in that first year of opening your business. At the end of your second year, you set the goal to have 100 students and you are going to employ another teacher. By following this formula and by working in small increments, you have reached the $100,000 you need to maintain a sustainable income and live the lifestyle you desire for yourself and your family.
So what I am talking about is not basic goal setting, it is a big ticket item, and may still seem overwhelming. For you setting the goal that you are going to recruit 50 new students in your first year, when you don’t have your first one can feel totally unrealistic. I can assure you that it is entirely possible. I know! I did it. I started my own teaching studio with only 3 students and within three months, I had 75 students signed up for lessons and had to employ another teacher. I couldn’t believe it!! But better still, within 5 years of owning and operating that studio and having to move three times to keep up with the growth of the business, I had 300 students and had 12 teachers, two cleaners and a PA and bookkeeper. I ended up selling that business when I discovered my love of academia. I did all this with no formal teaching qualification but what I did have was a vision, a plan, a focus and the drive to learn how to be successful.
So if your vision is too big, just break it down to smaller more achievable chunks, so that you are not setting yourself up for failure. Break those chunks down into steps, tasks, activities and deadlines. And be sure to make those components movable too and once that specific goal is achieved, step up to the next level of difficulty, then continue to step up until you arrive at your destination. As you go, you can step up the team around you as I did. When you set that bigger goal, don’t think you have to take the bull by horns and step up all at once. Work on those little things, stick with it and go for it.
29:27 – Check in regularly (step five)
Number five is to check in regularly
Goals require commitment and dedication. There’s no other way around it. Once you have defined both your long-term and short-term goals, your regular goal check-in process is the perfect time to consider if the path you’re taking to accomplish your goals is valid. It’s okay to make changes and modifications, as long as these support what you set out to do. Life changes and so will your goals. Your goals may need to grow up , just as you experience personal growth.
Putting this check in idea into practice can help you stay on track to achieving your goals and keeping you focused. And you can’t expect yourself to work steadily toward a goal without any type of reward along the way. Not only is that bad for your morale, but it can diminish the power of the entire process. As you do your regular check in’s take time to celebrate every success for every goal, no matter how big or small. As you plan your goals, attach a specific reward to each. The reward should be in alignment with the amount of work you have put into that goal.
Take time to check in and acknowledge the fact that you have accomplished a goal. Don’t forget, its therapeutic to cross items off when they are completed. Remember the time and effort you invested, savour the feeling of completion and refresh and renew your enthusiasm before you continue.It will build your confidence and commitment and make it easier to keep pushing to reach those large-scale future goals.
31:26 – Overall conclusion
Finally, Goal setting is a potent tool that can help you to turn dreams into reality, boost your self confidence and feel a real sense of achievement in your life. Your goals can help you to channel your energy, talent and resources in a specific direction so that you can make the most of your life.
Goals require commitment and dedication. There’s no other way around it. You don’t need to spend hours, Some things are just not meant to be rushed so my suggestion is to try to commit to spending at least 15 minutes a day to doing something that moves you closer to accomplishing your goal. These small steps lead to a big change.
As cliché as it may be, stay positive as this kind of thinking can empower you to reach success. If you consistently think negatively, you may be sabotaging your entire goal process.
32:34 – Glo Atanmo’s Story
Whenever you feel discouraged…think of this story.
Glo Atanmo talked about how a Chinese bamboo tree takes five years to grow. It has to be watered and fertilized in the ground where it has been planted every day. It doesn’t break through the ground for five years. After five years, once it breaks through the ground, it will grow 30 metres (90 feet) tall in five weeks!
Sometimes we do not see results and we no longer have the will-power to keep going. Most times it is a long and lonely process instead of supportive and contained. Embracing the challenges and responsibilities wholeheartedly and not only in the arts arena, but in your entire way of life and I guarantee you that your determination will light the way for others to follow.
Thank you for listening today. I hope this episode has inspired you to Learn the simple discipline of goal setting and this practise will help you in all areas of your life as well as helping the students you serve who will also benefit from the changes you plan to make for your future. It is time to experience your best life.
Remember that singing is a higher form of self expression, not just in song, but in life. It is not just about a voice, not just about your voice. It is about a voice and beyond.