There are as many ways to move closer towards a business goal as there are goals out there in the world, but would it surprise you to know that climbing out of a car window might help you be more resourceful and set you up for success?
I recently chatted with Lynn Thomas, CEO of Thomas Consulting, who helps identify employees at high risk of leaving their jobs (not through a window!), and helps the employer map out a plan to encourage them to stay.
Lynn’s own goals include growing her business tenfold, creating a financially secure retirement, and successfully navigating a new phase of parenting her daughter.
When you want to achieve something new, you need to be willing to do things differently. You need to expand your comfort zone. Clearly passionate about goal setting and maintaining a continuous growth mindset, Lynn has made a pledge to do two things that take her out of her comfort zone every day.
Expanding the comfort zone
Lynn: “When I do things that I find uncomfortable, I learn new things. I adopted a philosophy from Tom Peters (a thought leader on excellence in management) who said that most people drive to work the same way, go to the same restaurants at weekends, and hang out with the same family and friends. If everything you do is the same, how will you come up with new ideas?
When Tom goes to the airport, he buys magazines that he has never heard of before, because he maintains that he is just reinforcing what he already knows if he buys what he has bought before.
Based on his ideas, I do two things every day that I’ve never done before. Recently one of them included climbing out through my car window because that was a bit weird and definitely something new!”
I was captivated by Lynn’s thinking. These ideas are a fantastic way to expand your mind. I wanted to know how she applied these to goal setting.
Lynn: “It makes us more creative when we do things we wouldn’t normally do, and over time you have to be creative to think of something you haven’t done before while going about your everyday life.
I borrowed another strategy from a friend of mine, Scott Jones (who invented voicemail). He comes up with 20 solutions to every personal or professional problem. Anyone can come up with one or two solutions; the first five are easy, but they probably won’t be extraordinary. I find that once I have 20 solutions or 20 ideas to help me reach my goals, I can combine a few of the different ways and create something that really is ‘wow’.”
Twenty solutions might sound like quite a lot if you’re new to finding ways to pursue your goals. I wondered if Lynn ever struggled to think of 20.
What to do if you get stuck!
Lynn: “If I feel stuck, I start tossing things out. I’ll go round my home or office and throw out or donate anything I don’t need. Movement helps me create space for the answers to come through. Positive affirmations also work really well for me. I might write one out 100 times to really build it into my mind. I stipulated that one goal needed to come true within three weeks, and it did on day 22. It shocked me, but it showed me how powerful focused affirmations can be.”
People actively use affirmations every day, whether they’re positive or negative. For example, we might keep telling ourselves we’re no good or we’re brilliant at a particular task; either way we are reinforcing the belief and our self-identity.
We can choose to see ourselves as a success or a failure. It’s clear which camp Lynn believes in, and she is on her way to even greater success (with big goals).
Balanced goal setting
Lynn: “I recently joined the TEDx programme and Strategic Coach® (coaching for growth-minded business owners) because I want my business to expand to ten times its size.
I want to be financially secure when I retire, and, on a personal level, my daughter is now 20 years old and I want to support her through college and grad school. For me this is about redefining parenting as my daughter grows into adulthood. What is supportive and what is controlling? My goal is to be collaborative, supportive and to champion her without being controlling or dictating.
She’s got her own ideas and opinions; we each play to our strengths. It’s a dance!”
It’s fantastic that Lynn also has a family-oriented goal; balance is so important and a concept that I talk more about in the updated version of my new book for service-based entrepreneurs Think Simple, Win Big: How to Build the Business of Your Dreams With a Few Simple Goals.
Lynn is in pursuit of great goals, with some unusual strategies to help her reach them (climbing out of car windows and finding 20 ways to solve a problem or reach a goal).
I wanted to hear her golden nugget, something that she thinks everyone should know.
Lynn: “To be fully who we are, we need to learn to play big without trying to take over other people or be aggressive. I think the middle of those two things is being assertive, and this is where people can stand up for who they are and what they believe in, in an appropriate way. I don’t sit back and hope and wait for my turn. I want to live big. When we play small, everybody loses.”
And isn’t that the truth? Everything is about balance and bringing the best of who we are into the world. If you’re a new service-based business owner looking to share your brilliance, check out my new book; it’ll give you a nudge in the right direction while making sure you remember to make time for beer (yes really!).