Several years ago, Cozen O’Connor lawyer Dave Walton sent me an email that  explained many things I teach. I met with Dave on a recent trip to Philadelphia and wanted to share his email with you.

I read something last night I thought you would like and appreciate. Before Stewart Cink’s victory last week, his golf coach told him: “Don’t confuse your goals with the reward.”

It means that the goal is not victory, that is the reward. The goals are based on a one shot at a time approach: take the right approach on each shot; make each shot count; visualize each shot; be consistent on each shot; use the right swing thoughts, etc.

Applied to what we do, this means that the goal is not to have a $2M book or to have financial security. Those are the rewards. Our goals are the small steps we need to accomplish everyday in order to get the consistent $2M book. It’s akin to a saying: Think big, but focus small.

I hope you are well. And thanks for all your help.

When I practiced law, I used this concept in my own planning and goal setting.

Each year I set a goal for the amount of business I wanted to bring in. That is the reward that Stewart Cink’s coach mentioned to him. It has always been important for me to have some kind of target like this. David Rock, who is an expert on goal setting says it is similar to an Olympic athlete wanting to win a gold medal. He says:

Imagine if the Olympics didn’t have any medals involved, or worse if there was no way of measuring who had won any of the events. I expect the world record times would be a little lower than they are now.

So it is important to have a goal that would be the equivalent of an Olympic gold medal in your career. But, I did not stop there. After setting the goal, I made a list of all the activities I wanted to do that I hoped would lead me to my reward. I used my imagination and creativity to develop the list. Next, I set shorter-term goals (60-90 Days) based on the list. Finally, each week I write down what I want to accomplish that week and if I can I actually schedule my activities.

We are almost half-way through 2014. Just suppose you were having a one-on-one coaching session with me today and I asked:

  1. What would be the reward you are seeking at the end of 2014?
  2. What are the activities you want to do over the rest of this year to achieve that reward?
  3. What is your plan for the next 90 days?
  4. What is your plan for next week?

If you are interested, you are welcome to share your answers with me just as you would if we were meeting today.