Everyone has heard that it is important to set goals. We’re going to suggest a somewhat radical change to the way you currently set goals. And that radical change is this:

Beginning right now… today… stop setting “YES” GOALS… in other words, goals that revolve around results and productivity… and start setting “NO” GOALS instead. What we’re talking about is operating with a failure quota… a quota for the specific number of times you intend to get rejected or hear “NO”… rather than what we think of as a success goal… the number of sales you intend to make or dollars you intend to generate.

The problem with focusing on Yes-Goals is what tends to happen when we reach or even approach them, which is that we slow down or reduce the number of calls or presentations we make.

So, what most people do when they’re successful is they immediately reward themselves for the success. But how do they reward themselves? By slowing down, taking a day off, playing golf, doing paperwork rather than making calls. In other words, once most people begin achieving success and start hitting their yes-goals… they begin to shut down the activities that led to that success. This is where “no” goals come in.

The immediate answer to all this is to stop setting yes goals and to set and focus on NO goals instead. Take “Bill” for example. Bill has had a great Monday. He went on three sales calls and closed them all, going three-for-three. Now, if Bill’s quota is to make three sales for the week, what do you think is going to happen to the number of calls he’s going to make over the next four days? I’ve got twenty bucks that says Bill slows down and significantly reduces the number of calls he makes. In fact, Bill may end the week with exactly the number of sales he had already achieved on Monday afternoon… three! And in the blink of an eye a great day has turned into an average week… all because Bill was operating with YES-goals rather than NO-Goals.

And maybe the worst part of what Bill has done is he’s just ended what is commonly referred to as a “hot streak!” It’s amazing how, when people hit a hot streak and have a string of successes, they immediately slow down their production and stay within their comfort zone. When you’re hot, don’t stop! Keep going! Take advantage of the momentum!

Now, let’s look at what would have happened if Bill were setting NO-Goals rather than yes goals. Let’s say that, traditionally, Bill makes three sales calls a day, four days a week, with the fifth day being spent in the office. Of his 12 sales calls, he typically closes three, or 25%. What we would suggest is that Bill should have started the week with NO-Goal of nine… or, to play it safe, for the total number of calls he planed to make… in this case, twelve. If he had done that, here’s what would have happened:

Monday he would have gone out on three calls… closed all three… and then said to himself: “Let’s see… My NO-Goal for the week is 12… Monday is gone… and I haven’t gotten a single no yet! Wow! I’m behind! I’ve got to step up the number of calls for the next four days if I’m going to get to twelve!” Where, before, Bill’s success would have led to a decreased number of calls, now that same success will lead to an increased number of calls.

And what do you think would happen now? Bill is going to obliterate his goal for the week… and if he keeps it up… for the month, quarter, and the year.

One of the great ironies of business… and life… is that having too great an emphasis on success can lead to failure… while an emphasis on increasing your failure can often lead to massive success! In fact, in many instances, success can become our greatest enemy because with success comes complacency. Or, as Ben Franklin said… Success has ruined many a man!

Are we saying that you should ditch your success quotas entirely? Well, if your fixation on your yes-goals is fooling you into thinking that by merely having the goal you are somehow making progress toward them, then by all means, yes… we suggest that you get rid of the goals and shift your attention exclusively to the behaviors necessary to achieve them… which, in this case, is increasing your NO’s! Because when you focus on going for no the results… the YESSES… will come. They always do!

Author's Bio: 

Richard Fenton is the co-author of “Go for No!” a short, powerful story written specifically for organizations and professionals just like you who must learn how to face failure and rejection to be successful. For more free cutting edge ideas and strategies to help you achieve courageous breakthrough performance, accelerate your success and double, triple or even quadruple your sales go to goforno.com and sign up for the Free Ezine, ROAR!