Chris J Powell

The Difference between a Dream and a Goal

At its core they two can be very similar but when we look deeper, a Dream is a far reaching unfocused future “want”.  Dreams rarely come true until we translate them into a Goal by adding specific time frames and measurable targets and that is exactly what a Goal is.


According to the Business Dictionary a Goal is:

An observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe.

I have always been a dreamer.  Having long term wants and needs but only recenly did I start really setting a focused Goal to achieve my top Dreams.  Now I am a Goal Junky.  In terms of a Professional Sales Person I have “goals” assigned to me each month in the form of quotas and targets, this will always be a fact of life in the world of sales as my company has a goal as well and I am one of the many moving parts that is required to help achieve that overall Goal.


My personal Goals start off with looking at my life in two very distinct parts:

  1. Personal Goals.  What do I want for me, and my family in the next 12-24 months.  I do not go any longer than 24 months because the time frame is too long term and well…how many of us have failed on New Years Resolutions.
  2. Professional Goals. This I narrow down to no longer than 12 months and apply laser precission to my Goal Setting.


When you look at your Goal setting, my recommendation is to look at what you really really want but do not have today.  It really does start with that WANT!  What I do is I look at something tangible like home ownership or a new car or something big ticket that today you do not have but at a given time in the near future, all of your efforts will be applied to that one focused and tangible result.


For me about 5 months ago when I really started to get serious about my Goals, my personal wants were a new car and to build my Dream Computer.  In the past 4 weeks I have been able to achieve both of those goals but the work was not easy as I could not allow any of my other responsibilities to slide while achieving my goals.  This had to be “Extra” income so I set out a Sales Target that even my manager said was lofty and a challenge to achieve.


Not only did I exceed my company mandated “goals” but I doubled most of my required sales targets all so that I could get what I want.  For the most part, the only thing standing in my way of achieving this was me.  I looked at what I would need to achieve these goals within a 6 month time frame.  I set a beginning date of March 1 and an end date of August 30, 2011.  To get what I wanted, I knew that I was going to need $5000 extra to ensure that I had the down payment for the car and enough wiggle room to go nuts in my local computer store.

I set forth the target, $5000 but how was I going to get that “extra money”?  I knew what my commission structure was, I knew what I had to achieve to unlock my bonuses and I looked at my accounts with laser precision.  I came just shy of my personal Sales Target but I had set that target so high that well as the old saying goes “Aim for the Stars, even if you miss, you will land on the moon.”  But how can any of us look to increasing our income by $5000, it is not easy unless you have a plan.  I looked at what I would need to sell to make that “extra money” and then systematically looked at my “Quarter” on how I would get that income.


Now while the Goal was 6 months in duration I really only put the plan into place in the 3 months of our 4th Quarter, I used the first 3 months to lay the foundation for success.  I took nothing for granted and started to narrow the focus down to where I knew that my next Goal and my next Plan would just come naturally.  I looked at everything from my close rate to my “Pitch to Contact Ratio”.  I focused entirely on engaging at every opportunity and at the same time, did not go for the one shot wonder sales that would not generate repeat business.


This brings us to Professional Goals.


Personal Goals and Professional Goals just like Personal Life and Professional Life often get blurred and one tends to blend in with the other.  It was my Professional Goals that helped me achieve my Personal Goals as it was the extra income that allowed me to fund my “little extras”.  I also looked at what the expectations of each Sales Professional was in my company and set achievable goals and targets that would allow me to become a well rounded and total package Sales Professional.


This can be applied to any role in any organization though, not just sales.  Producing the best widgets for your company, or bringing in the highest conviction/acquital rate as a lawyer.


I hope that lifting the veil on the “secret of my success” helps you a  little bit.




Chris J Powell

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