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Striking the balance between stretch and attainable goals

In this episode, we are chatting about the problem with stretch goals and why I’m not a fan of them. She emphasizes the importance of setting attainable goals that are relevant to one’s business and resources. Michelle highlights the discouragement that comes from setting unrealistic goals and encourages celebrating milestones along the way. She also emphasizes the need for taking incremental steps and addressing limiting beliefs. Michelle concludes by urging listeners to start the year off right by setting goals that are both challenging and achievable.


  • Set goals that are attainable and relevant to your business and resources.
  • Avoid setting unrealistic stretch goals that may lead to discouragement.
  • Celebrate milestones along the way to stay motivated and encouraged.
  • Address limiting beliefs and focus on the intangible actions that will lead to tangible results.



Michelle (00:00.93)

Hello, hello, welcome, welcome back to the real truth about business. Um, we are sticking with the new year, new, new goal theme here a little bit, um, for the month of January, just because I think it's so important. Everybody's still kind of in this mode, but also because I think it's really, really super relevant to be mindful of these things. And so this is definitely an episode that's going to be kind of like a kick in the pants. Think about it.

Um, probably go against the norm, which I'm fine with. I'm getting, you know, again, we're talking the real truth about business. We're not here to like talk fluff and bullshit, and we're going to get even more real and raw this year as we move forward. So here's the thing. I am not a fan of stretch goals. All right. And I want to talk about why I'm not a fan of stretch goals. All right. Because I know every coach and all these big goal setting people and everything. They're like, think big, think bigger.

Think bigger, think bigger, right? Like you can do it, okay? And I'm all for like stretching beyond our comfort zone. I am all for a little bit of a push beyond our comfort zone, but I am also for attainable. I'm also for realistic. I am also for extremely relevant to our business. And so I think stretch goals have just gotten so, so over.

freaking inflated, just like everything in the online space in general, we've just got in, like inundated with all of this bullshit, like overinflated noise. But here's the thing. Like if you're setting your goals for 2024, okay. And let's say last year, your business brought in $50,000, which by the way, I've got another episode coming up on that, like sit in the growth stage. Okay. Like let's not.

discredit the fact that $50,000 is not easy to make in a business and celebrate the fricking shit out of that. Okay. But if you made $50,000 last year, your chances of going from $50,000 to 250,000 are pretty slim. Okay. I'm not saying it can't be done. And I'm not saying it's not really attain, you know, I'm not saying it's not attainable.

Michelle (02:25.85)

But again, like the chances are your business is not set up. What set you up to make 50,000, the same business model, the same strategy, all of those things are not the same that will take you to 250,000. And that's why I say sit in the growth stage because people think they hit this certain number and then they're like, Oh, I'm going to just, I'm going to scale. Okay. But that's a topic for another day. But think about it like

$50,000 a month is $6,000 a month, or $50,000 a year is $6,000 a month, okay? To go from that to 250,000, you're looking at now like $20,000 a month, right? That would be 240. So let's just use it for easy numbers. Like 6,000 to 20,000? That's a big stretch, especially if you don't have the people in your pipeline, if you don't have an offer that's gonna support that, right? Like, so I'm all for a stretch goal?

But your stretch goal might be 6,000 to 8,000. Again, because depending on your pipeline, depending on your offers, depending on your bandwidth, depending on the amount of time you have, depending, like there are so many other key factors that contribute to these goals that picking, that for me, stretch goals equal pick pie in the sky, bullshit numbers that have absolutely no data that supports it and then wonder why you don't hit it. Okay? So,

That's part of my issue with stretch goals right there is that 90% of the time it's like, where did that even come from? Where did that number even come from? Is it even attainable? Right? And so for most people, like it's not even attainable based on time, offers, pipeline, market, et cetera. So that's key number one. So think about that too. Like think about your business plan. If you have your business plan right now, or you have your goals or whatever

Like, I want you to really think about, do you even have the bandwidth? Like, are your goals stretch goals, like to a point where like they're stretch goals, but they're definitely attainable? Or are they stretch goals, but I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to get there. Right? Like, can you break it down and actually achieve it? Right? So, I mean, and I always just use revenue just because people always think of goals as revenue, but like your stretch goal might be to do...

Michelle (04:49.598)

Six coffee chats a week. Well, do you have the time to do six coffee chats a week? Are you in a networking group to do six coffee chats a week? What's the intention behind doing six coffee chats a week? Like, why? What do you plan to do with it? What do you intend to do with this? And if you have only done six coffee chats a year, or six coffee chats a month, that's a massive, massive undertaking. And so yes, it's gonna push you out of your comfort zone for the most part, probably will, especially if you're...

only ever done six, but like, why do you need to go there? Like let's focus on doing one a week or two a week if you've done six a month or whatever, like let's focus on 10 a month or 20 a month, right? Like 20 would be a massive stretch goal, right? Because from where you're starting. So I'm not saying to not create a goal that's going to push you out of your comfort zone. But what I'm saying is what is truly a stretch for you based on your time?

based on your personality. And let's actually have some data that supports these goals. That's number one. Because the other thing is, one of the other reasons why I really, really don't enjoy stretch goals or these big, you know, super inflated goals is not because I don't want my clients to think big, right? But what I see happen more often than not is like they get really excited, they're doing all these programs, they're going through, they're listening to other people's goals, which side note, that's another.

this isn't even where I was going with it, but that's another really key piece is that like most of the time stretch goals aren't even your goals, right? There's somebody else's goals that you've heard and you think, Oh, wow, they're reaching for that. That sounds really cool. I think I should do that. Right? So like, are they even your goals for the most part? They're usually not, they're usually influenced by somebody else's thoughts and ideas. And again, like, is that in alignment? You're going to hear me say that word a lot this year. So if you're new to this podcast,

and you're new to me, you know, you're know, I'm all about data. I'm all about alignment. I'm all about balancing and making sure that you are growing without losing sight of what is happening in your daily life, in your business, right? Like life is meant to be lived. Okay. So make sure these stretch goals are your goals, not somebody else's, right? But where I was going with that before I got on this little tangent,

Michelle (07:15.626)

was that what I see happen so often is usually by the time somebody hires me, it's because they've, they keep saying like, I have all these goals and I just can't get them. I keep coming up short. I keep coming up short and they get so discouraged and they're so burnt out and they're feeling just so down and out when in reality their business isn't even set up to hit that. And so isn't it so much more amazing to

set a goal and hit it, then to set a goal that's not attainable and come up short month after month, year after year, whatever that looks like, right? Like it is so freaking discouraging. I would much rather celebrate and then stretch again and then celebrate and stretch again. Like what are those little pieces that you can do and then you celebrate it? Like think about like when your children are you're raising children and you're teaching them to walk. We've heard this analogy before, like

You do not expect a child to go from crawling or sitting, some of them don't even crawl, right? To walking from you to another room in the first time they walk, right? Like you expect them to take one step and when they take one step, you celebrate the shit out of that. You celebrate it so freaking, like we put videos up, we tell everybody, we send it to all the family and friends, like, oh my God, they took their first step, right? Then the next goal is we need you back up a little bit further.

and you get them to take two steps, and then you back up a little bit further and you get them to take three steps, right? You celebrate that. But yet, all of a sudden we become adults and we think we gotta go and take like all these steps at the same time, and then when we don't get there, we come up short or we take a wrong turn, right? Then we get so discouraged, and discourage often leads to giving up. And I see so many people give up on something that is such a brilliant idea, and they are.

on the right track, but the only reason that they're giving up is because they're getting discouraged because they're chasing a goal that is not attainable. Okay, so that you need to really think about that. All right. It is so much more fun to celebrate than to get discouraged. Right. So give yourself a goal that is within reach. Like you can see it, you can feel it, you can taste it. I did this with my, um, I have a big stretch goal this year for my income.

Michelle (09:37.098)

right? I'll give you a perfect example. It's a huge stretch goal. Um, so I'm not saying I'm not, I'm not willing to stretch. What I'm saying is like it's a goal, but I also had to look at like exactly like we were talking about in the beginning from a revenue standpoint is you can't just decide like, okay, I want to hit this amount of money. I'm going to actually, this is going to be one of the freebies, um, in the Sunday morning brew. So remember 52 weeks freebies. I'm going to actually talk about how to break down this revenue goal.

but I'm giving you a little sneak peek here, is like, if you have a revenue goal, so I'm going to use even numbers, a hundred grand, okay? A hundred grand is $8,333 per month if you did the math, all right? Let's say you are consistently at, you have about $3,000 coming in every single month, right? So you can't decide like, I'm going to make a hundred grand this year.

and I'm gonna divide that by 12 and make 8,000. Well, no, because coming into January, you only had $3,000 in reoccurring revenue or you only had $3,000 worth of contracts, right? So unless you have $5,000 worth of contracts lined up right now in this moment that are going to get you to pass that $8,333 mark, right? You're not gonna hit that in January, which is not necessarily a bad thing, okay? This is why also in the Focus Visionary, we talk 60 day plans because

it's very hard to do in 30 days. Like 30 days is not enough time, right? You need time for things to marinate and for things to build up. Okay. However, so you need to be looking at like, where am I at right now? And where am I trying to go? And like, what is in the pipeline and what is going to lead to that? So maybe in January your first goal is to get one new client, right? Because you took all of December off or you had certain people lined up or you have how many people in your pipeline, you know that this amount of them is going to convert, right? Like you have an idea that these

people will convert. Okay, so now you've gone from 3,000 to 5,000. Well, $5,000 a month still doesn't line you up to six figures. However, over time, depending on what your launch schedule looks like, depending on what your reoccurring revenue schedule looks like, depending on what your time, you may be able to get to a point where you compound on that and maybe one month you make 12,000. So maybe by May or June...

Michelle (11:57.11)

the goal is to consistently make 12,000 or maybe you need one or two months where you're making 12,000 and then one person drops off and then you make 8,000. Right? So like over time it averages, it averages out. That's the goal here. I'm trying to, this is very confusing. It's hard to teach on like in an audio format, but what I'm saying is that it's a stretch goal, but be relevant to where you're at right now. Okay. So again, like if your goal, let's use non-revenue.

If your goal is to do 20 coffee chats a month, well, it's already January by the time you're listening to this. And unless you had them lined up for in December, all 20 in January, the chances of you getting 20 in while also still maintaining the grind and maintaining all of the other things is slim to none. So maybe your goal then becomes over a 60 day period. You do 30.

right? And you get 10 in January and then you do 20 in February. And all the while, the actions that you put in play are to help you get to 20 in February, or maybe you do 25 in February or something like that, right? So again, like attainable, but also because nobody takes into consideration where they are at. Like think about that child again, go back to like the toddler learning to walk.

you are not, if they are not walking yet, you are not going to expect them to walk from here all the way outside and put themselves in the freaking car for you. Right? Like they just don't do that. So what do you need to do? Let's get one step, then we're going to back up and we're going to move, you know what I mean? And then so in business, instead of like backing up and moving steps, it's compounding, right? Like we do one thing, then we compound, it does this, we compound, it does this. And so over time it grows, but you'll...

it may be like a backload back ended instead of like frontloading, right? Like you don't have, or maybe in January you lined up and you had all these contracts lined up and maybe in January you're going to make $15,000 because you had all these people that were waiting from 2023 or whatever. And so January you've got this big month, but then February, March are not because you're on a three month contract and everybody's paying upfront, something like that, right? Like

Michelle (14:11.318)

You have to take into consideration exactly what it looks like in order for you to hit these goals. And that's why I'm saying like stretch, but be realistic stretch, but make it attainable because I want to celebrate the shit out of it. And then I want you to back up and I want to do it again. And then I want to compound and I want you to celebrate and I want you to compound and then I want you to celebrate and I want it to compound and I want you to celebrate. Right? Like it is so much easier to continue going and to continue stretching and to continue pushing yourself when you are achieving things.

when you are achieving your goals and you are celebrating, right, versus stretching, pushing, coming up short, stretching, pushing, coming up short, that leads to discouragement, that leads to feeling like you're doing something wrong, you're not doing anything wrong, you just don't have yourself set up for success, right? So looking at that, so that's just why I'm saying, like, it's easy for me to say I'm not a fan of stretch goals, I am all for stretching yourself.

What I am not a fan of is stretching yourself to a point where it's not attainable and you get discouraged. Okay. So there's, that's the difference there. Um, and again, we could talk a whole lot of things and what that looks like and how do you break this down? Okay, Michelle, Hey, this is great. You told me like, you've got a big stretch goal, but I'm starting at three grand. How do I get to 8,000? I don't know. I don't know what that looks like for your business. And that's where I'm saying like, maybe 8,000 isn't even what you need to be focused on. Right?

maybe 20 coffee chats. Again, is this your goal or is this somebody else's goal? Is this influenced by somebody else's thoughts? Right? That's what you need to really be thinking about because that's what's going to help you get there. And then also like what are the incremental milestones that are going to, you're going to celebrate at and how are you going to celebrate? Right? Like plan your celebrations. Um, there's so many things that you can do, um, that will really help you get to this place, but celebrating.

really helps amplify and watch, encourages you to keep going. And then when you can celebrate with other people, you know, so I'm not saying I don't want you to stretch yourself by all means in 2024, I'm going to encourage you to stretch yourself. And in my, with the one-on-one work that I do with clients, you bet your ass I push them and you bet your ass I'm encouraging them to stretch and think a little bit bigger. I'm not saying that, but I'm helping them to think big enough that it's still attainable. And that

Michelle (16:37.266)

is the key right there. Can I even break this down? If you have goals to make $20,000 a month and there is no way you can break it down to actually achieve that, then that's too big of a stretch. Can I break this down? And this is what we work on when I work with clients one-to-one, or just in general, I'm gonna really, again, if you're not in the Sunday morning brew, do...

get on that list because I'm going to be doing a lot of free resources around this. I'm like, how do I break this down? What does this look like? Okay. Um, because I want you to hit your goals. I really do want you to hit your goals and I want you to stretch yourself, but I don't want you to get discouraged because that's when people quit and you know, come on business isn't about quitting and I got it. It's, you know, we've all been there, but I'm here to cheer you on. I want to celebrate you. If you listen to my, like,

episode on my vision, like my goal for the year is just to feel like everybody is winning. Right? We can't win if we have a goal that is so far freaking out of reach that it's just not even possible. Right? Stretching yourself, like think of a stretch goal more so about not necessarily the tangible. What's the intangible action that is required? Right? What is it? What do you have to do? Is it pushing yourself out of comfort zone?

Is it getting more disciplined? Is it creating a better time management for yourself? Is it creating a better structure? Is it understanding that you can't do all of these things? Is it understanding that you can't put all of these things on your plate at the same time, right? Like what are some of the intangibles that will lead to tangibles? Because that's the other thing with stretch goals is like people just put out a goal like this pie in the sky. Like I said, fluffy bullshit that means nothing.

But there's usually a lot of like stretching that goes on behind the scenes that hasn't happened and that's also why it's not attainable, right? Like if you're really uncomfortable getting visible or you're really uncomfortable creating content or you're really uncomfortable having conversations, then like there's some deeper work that needs to happen, right? Like what are the intangible stretches that you need to take or do or think about in your business in order to hit?

Michelle (19:02.39)

these tangible goals, right? And so sometimes those stretch goals are on the back end, are in the personal side, are on that deeper, more spiritual personal development versus looking at a number on paper, okay? And that's the other thing is like, even if you can break it down on paper and you can create the best laid action plan around it, if you don't have the vision for it, if you don't have the emotion behind it, if you don't have the motivation behind it, if you can't get out,

of like, if there's still something blocking, if you still have limiting beliefs surrounding that, it doesn't matter even if it's attainable. If you can't get the courage up to do the thing and you can't bust through those limiting beliefs to get there, then it's not going to happen. Right? So your first initial goal might need to be to address the limiting belief that's holding you back. Right? I had a couple of these things really come up this year and I done, I did a lot of work on it in December. I talked about it in my last episode, but

there's still a lot of really, really limiting beliefs around trust, around discipline, just in general. And so those are the things that I'm working on because I know I've set the stretch goals. I've, I've set all the things I've done all of it. I've been there, done that. And I'm telling you from experience year after year, if you hit, if you put these big goals in place that you can't, that are not even tangible to hit and you haven't done the inner work or the deeper work on the backend, that's going to get you there. Like

I don't care how big of a stretch it is. I don't care how many coaches you hire. I don't care how many people and how much money you invest. If you can't get yourself there, you're not gonna get there, right? And it's discouraging and it sucks and it's a horrible feeling. And we are not in business to feel horrible, right? We are in business because we want it to feel joyful. We are in business because we are passionate about something. We have a passion for helping other people.

And when you are trying to just hit this arbitrary stretch goal because some coach told you that's what you need to do, I call bull shit. This is not how businesses run. Businesses run on data. They run on information that is factual and there's emotion behind it, right? They put the action in play. They have a plan. All right? And so I am all for the stretch, but sometimes the stretch is on the backend.

Michelle (21:25.642)

Right? That's the stretch that's going to get you where you want to go. So again, if you need help, just reach out, right? You know, um, if you're not in the Sunday morning brew, please get on that list. But like, seriously think about this. Like I'm going to keep talking about this. Again, I told you in the month of January because I think this is so relevant because I really want you to start your year off correctly. Like I don't want you to get to June and be like, oh my God, I'm so behind.

I'm so behind on my goals and now I'm six months in and oh my God, how am I going to turn this year around? No, let's start it off right. Right? So I know a lot of people are talking about these topics, but hopefully this is a little bit of a different perspective for you than what most people are teaching because I know what I see in the noise. And that's why I'm doing this is because this it's just noise. 90% of what people are teaching is absolute bullshit. All right. So I love you. And we will see you next week again.

Get your booty over to the Sunday morning brew because that's where I'm gonna be dropping all my best content and that's where you're gonna get the best freebies. So do that and make sure that you're engaging, right? Like email marketing and all of that. I think it's a huge strategy for 2024, but that's a topic for another day. All right, I'll talk to you soon.

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