The founder of the service jotform.com Aytekin Tank, spoke about how to correctly set life priorities and goals.
Do you know anyone who is preparing for a marathon? Maybe yes. Now more and more people are making the cherished distance of 45195 meters in the list of goals that must be fulfilled in life. If you are one of such people, then we sincerely wish you success in this matter. However, we want to warn about one very important thing – the post-marathon syndrome.
This is a well-studied state of loss, sadness, disappointment, and futility, which immediately follows the completion of a large and difficult task. And this is a natural reaction of the human body.
Psychologists call this feeling of emptiness a “mistake of arrival.” The process of achieving the goal activates the premium brain departments, due to which a person receives satisfaction and even pleasure every day. In fact, you enjoy the fact that you are constantly convincing yourself of the distance. And at the time of the finish she satisfies much less. And then disaster strikes.
Modern mass culture is desperately pushing us to conquer new heights.
And so we set stern goals every New Year, and 92% of us do not fulfill them. That is why we have periods when we eat one cabbage for a month. That is why we are signing up for sports classes, are engaged in laborious repairs in the house and plan large sales for the next calendar period..
In the world of startups, venture-financed companies are facing aggressive growth challenges. They rush through one obstacle to another, pursuing an abstract and imperceptible definition of success..
And all the situations cited as an example are the result of one thesis firmly entrenched in the consciousness of society: achieving great goals will make you happy.
It doesn’t matter if you go the short way or invest a mountain of effort for the benefit of success. The main thing is to achieve it.
I spent 12 years growing JotForm from an extremely simple project to an idea that 3.5 million people use. And it was a long winding road, not a flat sprint track.
I do not set crazy goals and tight deadlines for my team, because I want to have a normal, healthy business. And a life that feels just like life.
You can slow down the treadmill of a grueling run for achievements, but continue on the path to goals that are important to you. And now we will tell you how to do it..
Step 1: Set Your Real Priorities
First of all, I know that you are not alone. I am not the only entrepreneur who does not believe in the idea of setting goals. Despite building a successful business and writing a book with great sales, the founder and CEO of Basecamp and REWORK, Jason Fraid, said he never had specific goals:
“The goal is something that instantly disappears as soon as you touch it. She just disappears after reaching. Of course, you can always put a new one, but for me personally this approach simply does not work. “
The marathon ends when you cross the finish line.
Creating a business should be a way of life. It should capture you and hold interest for years and decades..
Find your Why
“Success is achieved by people who deeply understand reality and know how to use it to fulfill personal tasks.” – Ray Dalio
Setting goals is a great way to decide what you want. That is what their true purpose is..
However, if you have buried deeply in activity and found yourself away from the goal, it is better to go to such a path, following which will make you happy.
If you struggle to understand what motivation is for you, ask yourself what I don’t want. What can make my day terrible and unbearable? What do I want to avoid? MetaLab founder Andrew Wilkinson calls the answers to these anti-goals.
For Andrew, the worst possible day consisted of long meetings, a busy schedule, talking with people he didn’t like and did not inspire confidence.
Once you decide what you don’t want to face, you can move in the opposite direction, making up a pleasant working day, month, quarter and life.
You can set personal rules like “no meetings on Fridays” or “I will not work for more than 3 months without vacation – regardless of my financial situation”.
I launched my company, not only to solve problems that concern other people, but also to get freedom. I suppose, alas, pursuing such a goal.
We strongly recommend spending a little personal time on such self-digging. It eliminates empty dreams and unnecessary waste of strength.
Step 2: Narrow and Clear
Here we are talking about focusing. I am convinced that each of you has heard the phrase “you can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” Unfortunately it’s true.
Take me as an example. When I opened the company, I had a lot of ideas. There were side projects and products that made good money. As the number of people using our simple web forms grew, I was forced to be less distracted by side projects. I decided to focus on my main offspring – JotForm.
This was the first step. As the company grew, I decided that we would focus on providing exclusively the product. It may seem ridiculous, but this concentration was established by four rules:
• We do not focus on sales or marketing.
• We do not engage in grohacking (growth-hack – “hack sales”, look for ways to dramatically increase sales) due to minor improvements.
• We do not focus on competition. Concentration on the client allowed us to get more than 1 million new registrations per year.
• Product focus drives every decision..
Build Resilient Systems
The brilliant James Clear often writes about the difference between goals and systems:
“If you are a coach, your goal is to win the championship. Your system is what the team does in training every day. If you are a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is a writing schedule that you follow every week. ”If you are an athlete, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is a training schedule for a month ”
He says goals set the direction and progress is driven by the system.
“In fact, the main advantage of the goal is that it tells you which system you should use. But at the same time, it is the system that is the way to accomplish the task ”
At JotForm, we rely on several different systems that help create a world-class product as long as we listen to customers..
So, for example, we have daily bug reports that indicate who and how many solve them. In addition, we monitor user interest in new versions of the product. Therefore, some of our users constantly receive updates and use the latest software versions, while another uses the most stable and reliable product..
Know when to be flexible and when to be tough
After defining your own systems (processes, procedures, action plans), you need to set a specific goal.
Steve Martin and Helen Mankin have written a fascinating article on how restrictive structures help us achieve goals if we set them correctly. So, they refer to a series of studies at Stanford University, in which it was monitored whether store visitors would buy more yoghurts with a flexible reward card (it was required to buy yoghurts with different flavors in a specific sequence).
While a minority of participants agreed to a strict reward system, 75% of them were more persistent in achieving the goal, that is, they bought six yoghurts in the necessary order.
We use a similar firm approach in supporting our customers. Here we have a goal to hear and understand everyone, guaranteeing them “happiness” within our sphere of activity.
To do this, we have created a structured support system with a response time of no more than 60 minutes. “No more than an hour” is strict and accurate. And during this hour we do everything we can to help.
We show the average response time in large print on the admin site. Team members are forced to primarily answer old questions. This imposes limitations, but our support team shows great flexibility and creativity in solving customer problems..
Here is an example of a solid goal and its flexible execution.
Step 3: keep the momentum
Unfortunately, in life it is impossible to assess your current progress in a strip, like in a computer game. The only thing left for us to be sure of development is continuous improvement..
Jason Fried notes that he sees all of his work at Basecamp as one continuous sequence in which he sells everything that comes to hand. He was 15 years old when he designed his first logo for $ 50. His great journey of life stretched into a road that stretches from that moment to today.
I feel similar with JotForm, we started in 2006 and have been working for over 12 years, increasing the staff to 100 employees in offices on two continents. And still we are constantly trying to develop the product.
Our team is in constant readiness for expansion. They can change or create a new function and immediately transfer it to users. But we do not strive for a specific top or finish ribbon. This race has no finish, and I don’t want it to be.
Trust the power of profit accumulation.
Every year I spend one full weekend helping my family harvest olive oil. This work helped me understand the power that comes from adding up small actions. An olive is a drop in a bucket, however you collect a lot of such drops and a few buckets of oil come out of them.
Investing is a classic example of accumulation. Business coach Darius Foro cites Warren Buffett’s fortune as an example. In fact, he earned 99% of his fortune after 50 years. If you are not satisfied with your own earnings, how do you like this motivation?