See Your Future, Be Your Future

“Live out of your imagination, not your history.” — Stephen Covey

I did not misread the look on the faces staring back at me. When the topic of the the importance of setting personal goals during CREW Atlanta’s Leadership 2018 program, the 30 professionals in the room seemed a bit surprised, shocked even. “Isn’t this a business program?” if only their eyes could ask.

As one of the co-leaders of the program, it was the perfect opportunity to share my love of all things goal-setting with a group of dynamic and talented women in the CRE industry. It was my chance to tell them how wonderful it is to set your mind to a desired result and see it through – both professionally and personally. Get a promotion. Hit your sales goal. Run a marathon. Open a yoga studio. Take a one-month vacation. Whatever the goal, the vision is yours. You own it.

Before I go any further, I have a confession to make. Goals are my passion. I honed the technique as a sales professional through an endless stream of sales training workshops and corporate deadlines. I grew up professionally on the teachings of thought leaders like Zig Ziglar, Wayne Dyer and Brian Tracy. I spent hours and hours listening to self-help CDs in my car, and reading anything and everything I could get my hands on.

Goal-setting is my lifeblood. It is a passion that still drives me today. The beauty of goals is that they can – and should – be unlimited. One of the most powerful pieces of advice I had ever heard came from noted business leader Stephen Covey. He said that we need to have goals for the many roles in our lives. For me, that meant as a wife, mother, daughter, servant, business professional and business owner. They became a part of my blueprint for success, motivating every step, in every stage of my journey.

When I have the opportunity to interact with professional women today, I tell them to dream big. Write your goals down. Close your eyes and envision them. Take them with you everywhere. In a world that has so many twists and turns, goals are the way forward. They keep you honest, true, focused and humbled. They remind you that no matter how heavy the journey gets, there is a light in the distance.

When my children were growing up, my husband and I sat them down and mapped out a mission statement, for them and our family. Following Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families,” we pointed the compass forward. Each year, we wrote down our goals, printed them out and hung them up for all to see. In time, many of our shared and individual goals were moved from a to-do list to a gratitude list.

Regardless of the direction your goals take you, the key is in the execution. To help get your thoughts organized, here is a seven-step plan to set your journey in motion:

Denise's first vision board from 2010.

Denise’s first vision board from 2010.

No. 1 – Get started.
In the words of Nike, “Just Do It.” Give yourself permission. As the old saying goes, “It is never too early and never too late.” Create daily, weekly and monthly goals. Make five-year, 10-year or 20-year plans. Set goals that are motivating.

No. 2 – Be specific.
Vague or generalized goals do not help. Set measurable, attainable and relevant goals that can be met. They should be designed to the direction you want your life and career to take. Remember, no goal is too big or too small.

No. 3 – Get a support network.
Friends. Family. Co-workers. Find an accountability partner, someone who can keep you motivated on staying focused. Groups like CREW Atlanta are a good place to network and surround yourself with like-minded people.


No. 4 – Have a system.
Franklin Covey. SMART Goals. The Ultimate Goals Program by Brain Tracy. Find a system that can help you set, track and achieve your goals. The secret is in the strategy.

Denise's 2018 vision board.

Denise’s 2018 vision board.

No. 5 – Take a 360-degree look.
Break down your goals and arrange them in order of preference (personal and/or professional) and timing. The overall exercise is a process. There are going to be successes and failures, so don’t be afraid.

No. 6 – Find a mentor.
A mentor can provide insightful information and assistance. While feedback can be tough to hear, it is a good path forward. It is strategic way to grow and keep on task.

No. 7 – Create a vision board.
This visualization tool is a collage of words and pictures that represents your goals and dreams. The board helps keep everything in front of you, every day, so that you can remember the “why” and “what” you are working toward.

denise-mengDenise Meng is currently unwinding from ownership of her 20 year Signarama business, achieving her goal of transitioning towards an early seaside retirement with her husband and spending more time playing than working. She has more than 35 years of sales and marketing experience, and has championed goal setting and vision boards both in her personal life and in mentoring other professionals. She can be reached at

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1 Comment

  1. I want to commend Denise for her words of wisdom, her dedication to excellence and her commitment to setting goals. Besides all these incredible personal objectives, however, let’s acknowledge Denise’s incredible interest in others! We all hope that this precious mentor will remain in our lives as she comfortably moves into her next phase of life, which she so diligently planned! Thank you and congratulations, Denise, for all you have done and will do for us, I’m sure!

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