Confession time: I’ve been a real estate executive assistant or Chief Operations Officer for 13 years now, and until just last year, fall of 2017, I had only been using a 411 sporadically.
The 411 is a goal-setting worksheet designed to be used as daily reminder of your goals and those things that matter most to you. It’s meant to be shared with your rainmaker, manager, or accountability partner so that person can help you inspect what you expect from yourself.
(411 stands for four weeks, one month, and one year. You outline what you want to accomplish this year, what you need to do this month to move closer to your one-year goals, and what you need to do in each of the four weeks this month to move you closer to your one-year goals.)
I’ve attempted 411’s in the past, but they didn’t stick. Either I wasn’t committed to the process, or the person holding me accountable wasn’t holding up their end and I inevitably let my end slip as well.
At the end of 2017, our team got together to discuss our team goals for 2018 and one of the things we decided to focus on was time management. We discussed that we needed to get more strategic and purposeful about how and where we spend our time. That’s when I suggested everyone on the team create a 411. I described what what that would entail and asked if they wanted to be held accountable to the goals they would write on their 411. They agreed.
So that’s why I am here today in January 2018 with a 411 that I update regularly and discuss with my rainmaker once a week. And I have to tell you, it’s difficult for me to be held accountable to something I said I wanted.
The business goals are easy for me. I can choose a project, decide exactly what needs to be done, and get my weekly goals done without much drama or resistance from my brain.
The personal goals are another story completely! You see, the only person who’s affected if I don’t accomplish my personal goals is me. (Or so it would seem.) My number one goal for 2018 is to lose 40 pounds. I’ve spent the last 20 years of my life 30-40 pounds overweight and it hasn’t stopped me from being an amazing COO. Or has it?
Is it possible that I could perform even better at work if I were to accomplish my personal goal?
Let’s say my rainmaker checks in with me and doesn’t let me slide like I do with myself. If he really questioned me every week about how I was doing, and if I really allowed myself to follow the process, I really could accomplish my goal of losing 40 pounds.
It’s actually not about the weight. It’s about becoming the person who sets an impossible goal and achieves it. If that’s the kind of person I become, isn’t that the kind of person my rainmaker would want to make sure he keeps on his team? What kind of impossible business goals could I set and achieve?
Let’s face it, if I’m not happy in my personal life, I will never be happy at work. And of course one affects the other. I can’t just be a different person at work than I am outside of work. I only have one brain and one life. How I show up in one place is how I show up everywhere.
My motivation to work goes out the window if I’m suffering in my personal life. As a simple example, if my pants are too tight and I’m tugging at my shirt because it’s too snug, am I more focused on work, or am I more focused in how uncomfortable I feel in my own clothes?
If I can be held accountable to having an amazing life of my own design, I am indebted to the person, organization, or company who helped me get there.
What’s awesome about the 411 is that I get to decide how I’m going to show up. The 411 demands a lofty level of commitment. If the goals on that paper are important to me, then I’ll bring the level of commitment needed to achieve my goals in all areas of my life.
If you haven’t yet created a 411, I encourage you to do it. I also suggest you take it seriously and ask your rainmaker to hold you accountable to achieving all your goals.
This tool is a representation of your life by design. You have the ability to create any kind of life you want. Think big. Stop letting yourself just get by in life. Stop saying you’ll get to your dream someday. Someday is not a day of the week.