Contractor Tip Of The Month: Navigating for Success by Working on Your Goals

Words: Damian Lang

Damian Lang

After reading my tip about setting goals, a contractor recently called me for advice. He told me he was inspired to achieve some big goals but did not know how to start.  I have said it before, and I will say it again: a goal is 50% achieved just by writing it down.   The most difficult part of starting on a 1,000-mile drive to a dream vacation is getting out the door and through the first 30 miles. You must set your mind to stop answering last-minute calls, last-minute emails, and last-minute discussions with staff before you can even get out of the shop parking lot.   Just as important as it is to get out of the parking lot, you need a map to know where you are going or it is unlikely you will reach your destination. During my presentations, I often explain the importance of directions with a story about sailing. Let’s say you are the captain of a ship in the middle of the sea, and you want to dock the ship at a port 100 miles away. I give the audience two options to get there. You can leave things to fate. You start the ship’s engines, put it in gear, and jump off the ship into a lifeboat. The ship takes off on its own seeking the desired port. Without steering, the ship is not going to hit the port one in a million times. More likely, it will end up somewhere capsized in the middle of the sea. The second option is to take charge. You map your destination, program the GPS, follow the directions, take charge and steer the ship. You will hit your destination nearly a million times in a row.  Your journey to meeting your dream goals starts with the direction you will get by writing out your goals. That’s your map, your GPS, your destiny!  I like simplicity when working on my goals. I can determine if I’m going in the right direction by looking at what I have written on one sheet of paper.  Here is the simplest and best format I have found to set goals for myself:
  • Lifetime goals: I like to shoot for the moon when setting these goals. My lifetime goals almost seem impossible before I break them down into three-year, one-year, and quarterly goals. My lifetime goals include:
    • Desired net worth.
    • Best single-year sales.
    • Best single-year earnings.
    • Relationships with family and friends.
    • Golf handicap.
    • Where I live in the summer and winter. 
    • Houses, boats, or other possessions I dream to have someday.  
  • Three-Year Goals: Where must I be in three years on the path to my lifetime goals? It is the first 300 miles of my 1,000-mile trip.   
  • One-Year Goals: Where must I be on my way to my three-year goals? It’s the first 100 miles of my 1,000-mile trip.  
Quarterly Goals: Where must I be in three months on my way to my one-year goal? It is the first 30 miles of my 1,000-mile trip. Here is the important part of the answer to my contractor friend’s question. While we need to review our lifetime, three-year, and one-year goals daily, the secret is to focus only on the tasks that will ensure you hit your three-month goals.  To achieve my focus, I keep my goals in front of me all the time. I have added a reminder on my calendar that pops up at 6:45 a.m. every day. I review my list and then decide what I need to do each day to help me reach my quarterly goals.  I am also reminded of how achieving my goals feels every time I open my wallet. Recently, I showed my contractor friend the business card I have carried in my wallet for over 20 years. It has my lifetime goals written out in four bullet points. He loved it. The card has become so worn and faded, he suggested that I laminate it before it fades away to nothing. I plan to follow his advice. However, I do not need to focus on the goals I wrote 20 years ago, for my dreams were much smaller than the ones I have today. Looking at that card is much more. It reminds me that goals change as you rewrite them annually. I was able to do so much more than I first envisioned. This has empowered me to set even loftier goals for myself. I shared my goals with a couple of contractors I network with, and we agreed to hold each other accountable for meeting our three-month objectives. We even put it on our calendar to meet and audit one another. Just talking through the goal-achieving process helps me keep the correct focus. If you need someone to hold you accountable, hire a goals coach or do it will a friend or business associate who will hold you accountable.  Time for action I have one goal for you today. Write out your lifetime, three-year, one-year, and quarterly goals. It is that first step. Once written, review them daily and focus on what you need to accomplish today to get out the door and through your first 30 miles within the next three months.  You will be amazed at how fun the ride is when you know where you are going. Damian Lang is CEO at Lang Masonry Contractors, Wolf Creek Construction, Malta Dynamics, and EZG Manufacturing. To view the products and equipment his companies created to make jobsites more efficient, visit his websites at or To receive his free e-newsletters or to speak with Damian on his management systems or products, or call 740-749-3512.
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