May 25 / Matt Saunders

Who Are You?

Why goals alone will not move the needle in your business, and what you must do instead.
When we set goals we usually focus on what we want.

But the real focus needs to be on who we must become in order to achieve those goals.

Hear me out for a second.

When I started my web design business to help small charities increase their impact online, I soon realised that I was not the guy who could make that happen. I was too timid, not ambitious enough and lacked confidence in myself.

The Matt Saunders who started that business could not be the same Matt Saunders who would make it a success. My goals eclipsed who I was.

So despite wanting to make it work, I kept hitting the limits of my own boundaries. I needed to change myself.
Various pictures from my business building and personal growth journey
Above: after working on my personal development I published a book and spoke publicly about my business. Putting myself out there contributed to tripling my income.

Your identity matters

Silhouette of man's head
Big lottery winners often go broke. This extraordinary newfound wealth is frivolously spent and any investments made aren't always savvy. Why? Because there is an identity conflict at play: ordinary people who receive a massive cash sum they would have never acquired on their own simply don't know what to do with it. Who they are no longer tallies with what they've got.

To build wealth - or to achieve any ambitious goal - you cannot simply look at what you need to do in order to achieve it. If that were the case, achieving big things would be relatively easy.

What you need to do instead is turn the focus inward to ask: who is it that makes these things happen?

When you adopt the identity of the person who already has what you want, everything begins to make more sense.

For example, a person does not quit smoking with nicotine patches and willpower alone. What they do is essentially decide one day that they're no longer a smoker. When the identity changes, the actions follow.
The same can be said for any big change you'd like to make.

For me, I realised that the person who builds a successful web agency:

  • prioritised his physical and mental health (so I exercised every morning and ate well)
  • cared about making an impact (so I showed up online every day ready to answer questions from my ideal clients)
  • put himself out there (so I ran webinars and spoke at events)
  • didn't do it all himself (so I hired a copywriter, brand designer and web developer)
  • needed accountability (so I enrolled on an accelerator programme and got coaching)

Looking back, this was not all calculated and intentional. But it does signal that I was becoming a different person. And in the business' second year it turned over £120,000 - 3x what I had done previously.

So. What you want honestly doesn't matter if you're not the person who's able to achieve it.

If you WANT big things, start by looking at your mindset and habits and ask yourself: what needs to change?

Your actions will always follow your identity. So who are you?

P.s. my book Dream Client Playbook contains an exercise to help establish your value system - great for determining what's truly important to you so you can make prioritises in your life and business.
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