by Janette Searle
I went to an interesting event last night that was focused on the topic of goals and goal setting, from both a personal and professional perspective. It got me thinking about the perspective I have and the learning I've experienced through being involved in others goal setting. I thought I'd share my top three tips when setting goals.
1. Starting with why.
I still maintain that if you start with the why then you are starting in exactly the right place and this is particularly relevant for professional goal setting. Why do you want to do what you want to do? Getting to the core of this often requires asking why many times over but its worth the deep thought it provokes.
To give you a few examples of the 'why' I've heard from others:
- Apple (yes the ones that make iphones and Mac's) - they start everything with their 'why'. Theirs is "Because we want to change the status quo"
- Mine - "Because I want to make a difference in the world"
- Musicians I've been working with of late - "Because we are music freaks who can't live without expressing ourselves through our music'
When you cut right back to that 'why' core and then use that as the foundation and bench mark for everything you do, that 'doing' makes a lot more sense.
2. Do set goals!
Quite a few businesses and people I have come into contact have drifted quite successfully through life and its been fine. However the risk is missing an opportunity and or potential. Do set goals. Having a direction is important. When you have a goal to reach it puts focus on what you are doing and you then start to become more aware of the things, advice, people, resources required to reach that goal.
To put it in really basic terms - Its a bit like when you are decide to buy a car and then you decide what kind of car you want, for me at 18 it was a mini (don't ask me why). Suddenly you start seeing all 'mini's' around and they are everywhere!!
The reason is that in setting that goal, in making that decision on a direction, you have not only opened yourself up to what might be required to achieve it, but put focus on it. Your energy is there, you talk about it with others because its on your mind, you are drawn to the things relating to that goal.
3. Be Flexible!
Once you've set your goal be flexible. Through the focus you now have on your goal, the conversations you have, and information and resources you gather, what inevitably happens are the things you didn't think possible or possibly hadn't even thought of! You and your goal are not in a vaccuum.
Being flexibly doesn't mean shifting your goal or fogetting about it, it means be aware and open to shfiting how you achieve it, and if the opportunities are flowing in shifting your goal to something even greater.
So for example I had been working on a project that uses creative output to raise awareness for a charitable cause. The goal we set was to create an album of music in a room at a cafe and raise awareness for men's mental health. What I and those that I was working on it found was that once we started telling people what we were doing and what our goal was the flood gates opened. The support, resources and ideas were beyond our expectations.
So we've been flexible, we've maintained our why we are doing what we are doing, and we have grown our goal and added other goals to it. So now our goal is to record an album of music using some of the best equipment possible to raise awareness for Men's Mental Health and use the release of that album to launch a much bigger project.
I've also experienced the need for flexibiliy through adversity and obstacles. One of my personal goals has been to finish a degree. I started in 1992 and had at that stage aimed to finish by 1995, 1996 at the latest. But life happened, in fact a lot of life has happened! However I have through all of this kept my focus on my goal and by March next year I will be finished! (My relief lies not so much in finishing it, but in finishing it before I retire!!)
I've also had experience with someone who refused to be flexible around how he was going to achieve his personal professional goal. The result was he turned down opportunities that while they provided a less direct route to his end goal, it was a pathway that would have given him massive learning that he could have used when he reached that goal. The end result was that he never reached his goal. His determination to stick to the pathway he thought he needed to take meant a long slow and in the end blocked road. He was closed to the opportunities that presented themselves and the advice given, and refused to be flexible. And now his goal is virtually unreachable, which is a shame because he would have been brilliant when he got there, and at the outset it was completely achieveable. My personal opinion is that some of the obstacles he faced were not only from the outside, but his own internal obstacles.
So those are my top three tips in setting goals. The three things I think its important to consider when setting goals. I know there is a lot more to consider and think about but if you start with those three you, I think, have the beginnings of a good foundation.
In my next blog I'll touch on what to do once you've set your goal. Until then, happy dreaming!!
Posted: Tuesday 26 October 2010