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posted: 12/20/2016 1:00 AM

Stimulate your goal setting process

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I am a serial goal setter, one among very few if the overall population is sampled for this characteristic. Remarkably, only two percent of individuals polled consistently set goals; the remaining 98 percent move through life by focusing on solving problems. In the sales profession goal setters historically outperform problem solvers because they create a road map leading to success.

I live near the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, which covers 1,700 acres and features magnificent configurations of trees, native woodlands and restored Illinois prairies. About two weeks ago, I was struggling to formulate my 2017 professional goals and intuitively knew that driving through the Arboretum's vast property would help me clear my head. Being outdoors is therapy for me and I spend much of my free time, despite adverse weather, pursuing activities connecting me with nature. That day, the weather was glorious and the trees, breathtaking in their fall regalia. I parked my car and gravitated toward a grouping of enormous oak trees.

My senses of sight, sound and touch were so stimulated by the surroundings that my mind began to rapidly clear. I sat on a tree stump and found, surprisingly, that my focus changed from what I wanted to accomplish professionally, to the person I wanted to become. Since this was an unexpected and unsettling shift in thinking, I decided to go with it rather than forcing myself to delve into my business goals. I walked for two hours and witnessed my subconscious mind deliver a repertoire of characteristics and attributes to incorporate into my 2017 goals and behavior plan. The shift of focus on "being" instead of "doing" greatly facilitated the goal setting process; I identified what I wanted to become, and the "doing" aspect of setting goals was not only painless, but, also, a natural consequence of its "being" counterpart.

Here are some ideas I would like to share from my mind-shifting "walk in the woods." Firstly, identify a place where you can ignite your own goal setting process, one that stimulates the senses. It may not be outdoors, but, I guarantee there is somewhere in your life that is magical.

Once there, sit quietly and visualize yourself as the person you have become on Dec. 31, 2017. Pay attention to the qualities, characteristics, attributes and/or values that emerge as you allow your subconscious mind to shift its focus to "being." This may take time; don't rush it. Next, ask yourself this question, "What strategy must I execute to become that person and overcome any roadblocks I encounter?" It should yield a plan that can be consistently executed throughout the year; this is a transitional process, not one focused on change. Thirdly, develop three professional and two personal goals which will be your primary focus in becoming the "new" you.

For you who are programmed to achieve greatness by doing, note this will be a formidable challenge, one I have intimately experienced myself. Lastly, develop the "doing" part of this process by identifying supportive behaviors that will assure goals are attained. Keep in mind that the behavior we perform dictates who we become.

Don't rush through this "radical" shift in focus. In order to make it meaningful and effective, you have to dedicate significant time and energy, both mentally and physically, to its achievement. If you are a 2-percenter, you surely recognize the power of goal setting to predict success. If you among the 98-percenters and regret reading this article, I am, nevertheless, optimistic. Every December for eight years, I have written a goal setting article and receive a few emails from individuals who have "reluctantly" converted to a systematic process that paid dividends. My perseverance, despite naysayers, is my way of working toward my goal of reversing history by having goal setting professionals outnumber their problem-solving peers. Go conquer your worlds.

• Bill Bartlett owns Corporate Strategies, A Sandler Training Center. Text "SalesTip" to 71813 to receive Bill's bi-weekly newsletter.