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One of the goals of Artisanry Co. is to provide a supportive community of makers and mentors to help with the business side of the creative process. One of the ways that this community benefits is from our virtual coffee sessions where we meet online to discuss various marketing tactics and themes in the artisan industry.

We were recently joined by Charlie Jackson, an established executive coach, who shared thought-provoking words on creative wisdom and mental health. In this blog, he expands on the power of the mind to discuss the process of setting (and achieving) goals.

Focus on the process

Around 20 years ago whilst coaching a client I asked him “what next?” career-wise.  He replied, “I think I’d like to work abroad.” I asked, “Do you think you’d like to work abroad, or do you want to work abroad?”

After a few minutes of reflection, he replied, “Yes, I want to work abroad!”

Within six months he was opening a new hotel in Australia and has since worked in Dubai and in the Middle East and Africa Region. “I think I’d like to …” is non-committal. “I want to …” is a commitment, a goal that he could pursue and has done so successfully.

Around the same time, I was using juggling as a means to coach coaching with a number of client groups. There are two elements in juggling – throwing and catching. One is a process and the other an outcome. So, which is which?

The answer, of course, is that throwing is the process and catching the outcome.

Unfortunately, most people initially focus on the outcome i.e. catching, as they are frightened of dropping the balls. However, when they begin to focus on throwing correctly, i.e. the process, the balls start to land where they become catchable.

By focusing on the outcome, they mess up the process and therefore do not achieve their objective of being able to juggle. Similarly, with goals, set a clear desired outcome (goal) and then focus on the process towards its achievement.

begin following dreams coffee mug

Understanding goals

So, what are goals?

Defined variously as ‘the object of a person’s (or business’s) ambition or effort; an aim or desired result’ and, ‘an idea of the future or desired result that a person or group of people envision, plan and commit to achieve.’ I rather like the latter dictionary definition.

If you wish, you can trace the emergence of business goals back to Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory at the end of the 19th Century by applying engineering principles to the work done by employees on the factory floor.

More recently we had Management by Objectives from Peter Drucker in the 1950s, SMART goals by GT Doran in 1981 to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and OKR (Objectives and Key Results) in the 1970s. All more or less related to achieving business-wide goals.

Most people will have set goals or resolutions at some time in their life. Either to lose weight, get fit, read more, run a marathon, learn a musical instrument, etc. Before too long, many will have given up on them for various reasons.

We’re then back to “I think I’d like to …” rather than “want to.”  You will have no shortage of literature to read on setting goals and how to achieve them. My advice to you is to first research the literature on how best to set goals and achieve them, remembering that these may have worked for the author but will not necessarily be best for you.

Then figure out what will work for you. Make sure your goals reflect the level of desire required to achieve them, then get on with the process of achieving them!

turn dreams into reality poster

Ask yourself these questions

And remember it’s not a case of “one size fits all.” This, for example, is one approach to goal setting based on my experience of over 32 years in business:

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why am I in business?

What is my core purpose for being in business that will inform my current and future goals, ensuring that they will benefit myself, my customers, the environment and the wider communities with whom I engage? Authenticity and integrity are key here.

  • Who will be my target audience(s) and how will I attract them?

I suggest setting long (12 months) and short (3 months) term goals creating a business “pipeline. Update this regularly.

  • How will I continue to develop my core strengths to continue to be attractive to my current and future customers?

This could include what you chose to read, people from whom you can learn, new experiences, etc. to expand your thinking and creativity.

  • What financial goals do I require to meet to stay in and develop my business?

Whilst operating from my core purpose.

Closing Thoughts

In summary, here are the key takeaways;

  • Be clear about your purpose
  • Identify your outcome i.e. your desired results
  • Check your level of desire and belief i.e. “want to” rather “like to.”
  • Focus on your process/plans to achieve your short-term goals i.e. “throwing” rather than “catching.”
  • Stay flexible but disciplined in your process towards achieving your desired results

And finally, remember a future goal (desired result) will usually occur as a thought and most often in a quiet moment as opposed to sitting down trying to access one.

And, if it works for you … hold that thought!

Charlie Jackson

July 2020

Mentorship and guidance is a large part of the Artisanry Co. community. It works hand-in-hand with the creation and sale of locally made products. We’ve started the countdown to the launch of our online shop. Find out more about how to join and get your products featured.