Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

The Secrets of Success: How an Unhappy High Achiever Set New and Different Goals to Find Satisfaction

Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

The Secrets of Success: How an Unhappy High Achiever Set New and Different Goals to Find Satisfaction

Article excerpt

Twelve years ago I met a man in Toronto who told me that at 38 years of age he had already achieved all of his goals. He had an impressive list of accomplishments. Recognition as one of the top performers in his industry. A $400,000 plus income. A great house, on a great street, in a great part of town. A cottage, a Mercedes, a 34-foot cruiser, a plane, every new electronic tool under the sun, and so on.

So, what could I, as president of The Strategic Coach in Toronto, do for him? Well, for starters, I asked him if he had really achieved his goals, or had he simply achieved all of the things that other people said were important? All of the things he had listed were probably other people's goals for him. But what were his goals?

My question must have been the right thing to ask at the right time, because he didn't say anything for a few minutes. Then he said, "You're right, what I want in life I haven't really begun to achieve."

A week later, in an all-day strategic planning session, he told me (and himself, for the first time) what he really wanted:

First, he had been at the $400,000 level for three straight years, and was feeling stagnant. He wanted to get to $1 million in three years.

Second, he had remarried after a badly failed first marriage, and wanted to become a great husband and parent the second time around.

Third, he was not satisfied with his relationship with the large financial institution he was working for, and in fact, felt his organization didn't supply the support, services or resources he needed to build larger money-making relationships. He wanted to become more independent from them, perhaps moving to a less bureaucratic organization or try out something more entrepreneurial on his own.

Fourth, he wanted a systematic marketing program that would continually introduce him to entrepreneurial business owners.

Fifth, he had some great innovations about wealth creation in his brain, but didn't know how to communicate them to the people who were his main centres of influence. He wanted a professional presentation, with high-impact graphics, backed up with numbers, that would help further some of his more creative work.

Sixth, and certainly not least, he was in poor physical shape. He wasn't eating right, wasn't exercising at all, wasn't sleeping well, and wasn't taking free time that really rejuvenated him. He wanted to establish a systematic fitness program that would leave him in better shape when he was 50 than when he was 30.

So, these were some of the most important goals that this high achiever really wanted to reach. As far as he was concerned, when he became clear about his goals and game plan, everything that he had already accomplished was just the beginning.

Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of other individuals in many industries who had similar stories to tell. In other people's eyes they were at the top, but they weren't satisfied. Other people looked to them as role models, but if the truth were told, they felt like failures. They felt trapped at a high level of income, expenditures, obligations, and complexity.

Dramatic breakthroughs

This was exactly the situation that was facing my client back in 1984, but by establishing a new long-range strategic game plan for himself, and implementing it on a quarterly basis over the past 12 years, he has made some remarkable breakthroughs in his life. Quite simply, he has achieved every one of the goals that he put down in that first plan, and has gone way beyond them.

Along the way he has created a unique market niche for himself that, in 1998, seems unlimited in terms of opportunity and creative satisfaction. He is now 50 and the first to admit that even at close to $3 million income for the past year he has only begun to scratch the surface of his ability and the potential of his market.

His support staff now numbers 10, all of them skilled with computers. …

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