1. Hagen, Mary Beth MBA

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A respected nurse practitioner who owns her own aesthetic practice recently shared with me her disappointment about the results of her business from the previous year. She had made more money than in any previous year but was disappointed because she had not developed the part of her business that was important to her personally. She shared, "I really wanted to see that division grow, but my plans got lost in the midst of running the business and listening to everyone else's needs. This year I need to focus on what is important to me, but I'm not sure how."


You have probably set some new goals set for your own business or career this year. Maybe you want a promotion to a new position, or you want to develop new skills to support your career. It is always exciting to think about what you can accomplish if you focus on goals!


Often it is easier to set a goal than to create the plan to achieve that goal. Coworkers and managers come and go. A manager's requests take precedence over your practice objectives. Pandemics arise and take the focus away from everything except survival. Day-to-day life gets hectic, and all of a sudden, you are simply surviving and your goals have taken a back seat to everyone else's agenda. How do you keep your goals fresh and relevant so you can finish the year with a list of goals you have accomplished? It really is simple: Focus on the gaps!


We have all heard of making "SMART" goals (i.e., specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timebound). These criteria provide a great guide for creating reasonably thought-out goals and objectives. Once you have your goals identified, the hard work of achieving those goals begins. Following are some tips for making goal achievement more manageable:


1. Prioritize goals. You can't do everything at once. If you have several goals, determine their order of importance. Then focus on the most critical goals or objectives first. This will keep you from becoming overwhelmed and will help you gain the satisfaction of completing the goals on your list as the year progresses.


2. Identify resources to achieve goals. Once you have set your goals, identify what resources you already have to help achieve those goals. If you are looking to develop a specific skill, see whether training is available or whether you have mentors who can support you in your education. If you are looking for a new job, identify people who can refer you to new opportunities. Assessing the existing resources that you already have to help you achieve your goal is like checking your kitchen before you go shopping so that you only buy the things you need for the recipe you want to make!


3. Focus on the gaps. This phrase will help you keep your goals in focus all year. If you know your goal and know what resources you have to achieve your goal, then whatever else you need or don't have is your "gap." All of your efforts should be put into filling those gaps so that you have everything you need to achieve your goals. Ask coworkers or employees/employers to fill the gaps with their time or their knowledge. Ask vendors or sales representatives to fill those gaps with their products or their promotions. Ask patients to share their experiences if you try new products or procedures. Filling the gaps is what will help you achieve your goals.




If you are an aesthetic injector, think about using your time wisely. When a sales representative visits, they probably want you to buy something to help them achieve their sales goal. Instead of just listening to what they want to tell you about their product, streamline the meeting by reviewing your goals, sharing what you already have to achieve your goals, and then focusing on how that representative's product can help fill the gaps so you can achieve your goal. It might sound like this:


"I'd like to start our meeting by reviewing the goals for my business. This year, I'd like to grow my injectable business by 20%." (Goal)


"I have hired a second injector who is highly skilled." (Resource)


"I want to bring more patients into my business to see this new injector." (Gap)


"How can your product help me acquire more new patients?" The sales representative is now focused on helping you achieve your goals with their product, an efficient plan for both of you.


If you are a plastic surgery specialist, think about the clinical resources available to you. When you identify professional development opportunities, ensure that you are truly working toward achieving a learning goal and not just filling a requirement. When reviewing educational courses, think:


"I want to improve how I provide patient education during postoperative visits." (Goal)


"I know the clinical data, (Resource)


but would like to develop my patient communication skills." (Gap)


"I need to find a course that focuses on effective communication." You now can focus your search on selecting courses that will help you achieve your learning goal.


When you set goals, remember to also focus your awareness on the gaps that are preventing you from achieving your goals. That will help you find the resources to check those goals off your list one by one.


-Mary Beth Hagen, MBA