Setting goals

We all know that setting goals and targets is essential in achieving our objectives, but when do our targets become a cap on our potential?


Pollyanna Lenkic

I was probably one of the few sales consultants in recruitment without firm targets and I operated like that for the first five years of my career in recruitment. I achieved results beyond my expectations and industry norms. I remember going to my first “how to become a great recruitment consultant” course two years into running my company, and feeling incredibly intimidated by all the people in sharp suits who were in the room.


At some point I had a conversation with one of the sharp suits. I asked him what a successful consultant like him billed. He all but patted me on the knee and said “Well love, when you have more experience like me, you will probably have 20 contractors working for you and billing X” (you can imagine the impact of that behaviour). At that moment a light bulb went off in my head. “Oh,” I replied. “So having 45 and billing XX is good then?” Of course that was the end of our conversation. 


Here’s what I realised:


  • I was triple billing most of the people in the room.
  • I had at least five years less experience than they did.
  • I felt incredibly grateful that I had not met any of them two years earlier because I would have put a cap on my potential, on what was possible.


This was probably one of the greatest gifts I could have as a young business woman starting out. When I did start setting goals and targets they were always from a place of what I wanted to aspire to, what I thought was possible for me, not what others thought were possible or industry benchmarks.


How are you setting your goals? Are they driven by standard industry benchmarks? Or are they driven from a place of excitement and taking you out of your comfort zones? From a place of what’s possible for you and your business?


I now religiously use a process that I find leaves no doubt about what you want to achieve and eliminates all excuses. This process also checks out whether this is something you are committed to achieving. Below I have outlined the process and can promise you that if you use this to set your goals there will be nowhere to hide and you absolutely will give yourself the best opportunity to achieve your desired outcomes.


A goal is an aim or an end in mind – so please be clear about what you specifically want (what you don’t want is not acceptable). What is the end, the outcome you want?



Your goal must be:


S Specific Simple

M Measurable Meaningful (to you)

A Act as if you have it

R Realistic Responsible / Ecological (is it moral, ethical in line with your values?)


T Timed Toward what you want (focus on towards what you want rather than away from what you don’t want)


What is different about this process is adding in what is meaningful to you about achieving your goal and how responsible and ecological it is for you.


Below are some other questions to ask yourself about your goal.


  1. What specifically do you want? (stated in the positive)
  2. Where are you now in relation to your goal?
  3. What will you see when you have your goal achieved?
  4. What will you hear when you have your goal? (self talk and from others?)
  5. What will you feel when you have your goal?
  6. How will you exactly know when you have your goal?
  7. Is it congruently desirable (is it fair/reasonable/moral, are you aligned with it?) What will this goal get for you or allow you to do?
  8. Is it self initiated and self maintained? (It needs to be for you and achievable by you)
  9. Is there someone you want to share this goal with? If so who?
  10. Have you ever seen or done this before? If no, do you know anyone who has?
  11. Can you act as if you have achieved this?
  12. For what purpose do you want this goal?
  13. What will you gain if you have this goal?
  14. What will you lose if you have it?
  15. What will happen if you do get it?
  16. What won’t happen if you do get it?
  17. What will happen if you don’t get it?
  18. What won’t happen if you don’t get it?


Take your time and put your goals through the process above. The great thing about this process is the more you do this, the more automatic it becomes and before you know it you are going through the process subconsciously with all your goals.


Thinking back to my early days in my first business, I did have a goal, to be the best. I just hadn’t put a limit on what that meant.


What is possible for your business if you take off the cap off your potential?







Pollyanna Lenkic is an experienced facilitator, certified coach and a certified practitioner of NLP. In 1990 she co-founded a specialist IT recruitment consultancy in London, which grew to employ 18 people and turnover £11 million ($27 million). This blog is about the mistakes she made and the lessons she learned building a business the first time round and how to do it better second time round.


For more Second Time Around, click here.



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