For at least 8 or 9 years, I’ve been learning, writing and coaching about goal setting and goal achieving – about what is needed to get the job done and what gets in the way. Along the way I have discovered and written about these “Goal Setting 101” fundamentals:
- Goal setting is a Quadrant II “strategic” activity – you need schedule time for it
- Identify the areas in your life that need to get better and improve – then prioritize and focus on your ONE most important area
- Break goals into “bite-size” pieces that are specific and measurable, and schedule the action steps on your calendar with milestones and “by when” dates
- Prioritize your action steps and get started NOW so that you don’t get bogged down in “planning mode”
- Put your goals in writing and – most important - tell other people about your goals to make them “real” and a “promise”
- Ask a coach to hold you accountable by scheduling regular “return and report” meetings
- When (not if) you fail or fall short, start again.
I have also learned some of the major “deal breakers” that stop goal achievement right in its tracks, including:
- Not getting started right away. While “Quadrant II” planning time is essential, be careful not to over analyze – it is OK to “learn” and make adjustments as you go.
- Trying to do too much all at once. Be sure to properly “count the cost” of achieving your goals and don’t sabotage your success by heaping too much on your plate at once.
- Failing to tell others about your goals. If you tell others about your goals, it means you’re serious and “determined,” and if you don’t tell others it means you’re not. It’s that simple.
- Not starting in the right place. If you want to achieve your business goals and other life goals, you must start with “root cause” - possibly poor health or unhappy family members.
- Stopping when you fall short. Don’t listen to that negative little voice within you. The only true failure is not starting again.
Even with all my study and practice of goal setting and achieving, I still lack understanding as to why most people (including me), equipped with all this goal setting “know how,” struggle to achieve the important goals in their lives or to even try. Then this past Sunday, I received new insight on the importance of having the right “mindset.”
To illustrate the concept of “mindset,” my pastor, Jon, described a tug of war between a single elephant and 100+ humans, which the elephant with its great mass and strength easily won. (Yes, you can find this on Youtube.com). Yet this same elephant can be easily restrained by a small rope and a single stake in the ground, simply because it has been developed a “mindset” from a young age to believe it cannot pull out the stake.
Our “mindset” is what our thinking is rooted in. And what you and I think, feel and believe – our mindset – affects what we say and most importantly what we do or don’t do.
If your mindset is rooted in thoughts of “I can’t” or “I don’t want to” – then working on and achieving your goals will not happen – just like the elephant can’t pull out the stake. It’s as simple as this: a “faulty” mindset can be a shackle to your success in life.
When asked why a goal has not been achieved, rarely will any of us admit that it’s because “we don’t want to.” Instead, we’re likely to get defensive, make excuses, and list reasons for not achieving results. As part of that process, we often make false promises to work on our goals in the future, when there will be less stress and less demand on our time. Yeah, like that is really going to happen!
Is your mindset a “shackle” that holds you in place like the elephant? Or is your mindset the “key” that sets you free to “power through” and to become an inspiring, visible leader?
|Faulty Mindset - Shackle to Success||Breakthrough Mindset - Key to Success|
|I am self-taught, no one helped me. That’s how I was trained and brought up in the firm. I had to pay my dues.||No one is really self-taught. Besides if that’s how it was for my generation, does not mean it must be continued for the next.|
|I don’t have bandwidth or energy to serve clients, develop people and develop business. I can’t do all that.
|What if I could find a way to develop my people while serving clients and developing business by inviting them to join me in calls and meetings with clients and prospects?|
|I would like to delegate more, but I can do the work better and faster myself. Besides, I’m too busy to spend the time teaching and explaining. Not to mention the poor realization on jobs.||Effective delegation is hard work but it is necessary for the development and retention of our people, which is critical for the current and future success of our firm.|
|I know people need feedback on their performance, but I what if hurt their feelings and they quit the firm. It just seems easier to put up with persistent poor performance.||Feedback is a GIFT. Our people need and expect it. It is the only way they learn and get better. Inviting people to join in client calls and meetings provides more opportunity for ongoing feedback.|
|I’m too (young, old, busy, scared) to do that.||I’m NOT too (young, old, busy, scared) to do that.|
|It’s not my job.||If not me, then who? If not now, then when?|
|I can’t pull out that stake in the ground.||Oh YES, I CAN pull out that stake!|
|What if I fail?||What if I succeed?|
|I don’t want to.||I DO want to!|
Clearly, it is easier to see the need for mindset change than to make it happen. In an earlier blog addressing the “I don’t want to” factor, I’ve pointed out that success in life requires that a cost be paid: we must be willing to “die” to our old ways and mindsets. This is not easy or pain-free, but necessary. In this process, remember the importance of being vulnerable, to admitting your fears, and asking for help from others.
“You change your mindset, and as long as you've got a good mindset, you'll know everything is good.” Curtis Joseph - Canadian ice hockey coach and former professional player.
How is your mindset? Where does it need to shift? We will continue to help our clients to succeed as leaders by working on their attitudes and mindsets in every moment of life. If you have ideas or experiences to share, please post them so others can benefit.