Powerfully Choosing Goals and Deadlines

Recently, I had a mentoring session where we were discussing goals and deadlines.  From my perspective, goals are those high-level endpoints that we want to ultimately reach.  Deadlines are the milestones along the way to reaching those goals.  It’s important that we keep in mind the difference between goals and deadlines.  

There are times when deadlines are put on us by outside parties, and there are times when deadlines are put on us by ourselves.  We need to be sure that these deadlines are realistic and that we take into account all that is happening around us.  Deadlines need to have some agility and ability to pivot.  Things are going to happen; it’s not a matter of if but when.  How we handle and navigate those situations speaks to the strength of our character and our resilience.  A leader is born not when everything is going smoothly and without obstacles, but rather when things are not going according to plan yet somehow they come out of the other end while still reaching and succeeding at that goal.  

For a moment, I want to focus on the concept of the deadlines that we put on ourselves. One may think that those deadlines tend to be more grace-filled, but I’ve found quite the opposite to be true for myself and for others.  

An example of this was the publishing of my first book, The GSD Factor.  The goal was to publish.  The deadline I had put on myself was the Fall of 2022 to align with my birthday.  As we were approaching this deadline, it was apparent that it was going to be tough to hit.  I was stressed.  I was putting a lot of pressure on myself.  None of my publishing team was.  No one else was dictating when it had to be published because, after all, I was the publisher.  

I remember my book coach bringing up the deadline in one of our meetings and asking why I felt the need to publish in the fall.  If I was the publisher, and I was the author, why not push the publishing date out?  The goal of publishing a book was still there; the deadline was just moving, so we could have a little extra time to finalize without the stress and ensure the quality was there.  That question stopped me in my tracks.  

Somewhere along the way, I started this internal clock, and in those moments of needing more time, I hadn’t given myself permission to extend the deadline.  It took one of my GSD Factor Insiders Board just asking the question for me to pause.  I’m forever grateful.  We need to remember to have those people in our lives that will ask the tough questions that cause us to pause, check in, and make adjustments where necessary.  

As entrepreneurs, we wear many hats, if not all the hats.  We are the boss that is outlining the vision and goals.  We are the executors of those tasks to help us reach those deadlines and, ultimately, the end goal.  But many times, we forget one of the greatest gifts of being an entrepreneur, is we get to decide the best deadlines that serve us, serve our team, and serve our families.  With entrepreneurship comes flexibility and agility, which means we can compromise on our deadlines, but oftentimes we forget to.  Since the publishing of my first book, and now, fast forward to the publishing of my fourth book, I’ve gotten good at extending deadlines for myself.  After all, I’m the boss.  That is why I’m an entrepreneur. At this phase in my life, I want to be the one who decides on the integration level of work, life, and family.  

Goals and deadlines are good, we need them in our lives to get shit done, but just be aware of those self-imposed deadlines. Remember, sometimes we need to give ourselves the gift of time.  Sometimes we need more time in order to slow down to speed up.  Sometimes we need more time to navigate curve balls that have been thrown our way.  Sometimes we need more time because that is what best will serve us.