Question: I am very goal-oriented and set very specific objectives for myself. I meet my goals fairly consistently but I just don’t think I’m making the kind of progress personally or professionally that I desire. Any suggestions on how to step up my game?
Answer: Conventional wisdom says that we should always set goals. We’re also told to set “stretch” goals – that is, we need to set objectives that may be attainable but with considerably more effort than normal. Setting goals and achieving them – especially stretch goals, can produce a very satisfying feeling. But think about this for a moment. Is it our goal to simply be satisfied? Or do we want to accomplish amazing things?
Setting and meeting goals doesn’t usually allow us to accomplish amazing things. Let me clarify something here before you get the wrong idea. There is nothing wrong with setting goals and in fact, it’s a necessary process in business and in our personal lives. The differentiator is the mindset we hold about our goals. When we focus only on achieving the goal . . . we probably will. But if we use the goal as a minimum standard for achievement we open ourselves to the possibility that we might accomplish something even bigger and better.
I have been practicing this concept for a number of years and the results are not incremental. Let me explain. Earlier in my career I spent a lot of time visualizing the results I was pursuing. And most of the time those results were realized. But after doing this for a while, I came to understand that by only working to achieve my goals I was actually limiting myself. So I began setting goals in a manner I called Minimum Achievable Standards (MAS). This didn’t mean I set minimal goals – a very important distinction. I made sure that the objectives were realistic and sometimes even of the stretch variety. But then my focus became on how I could become more creative and innovative to perform the task at hand. I really didn’t worry about the goal at that point because I knew it would be achieved. The real question became how far beyond the goal could I go. The results have been exponential ever since.
Goals can be inspirational or perspirational. We can work very hard to achieve our goals. Or we can use goal setting as a springboard to soar to amazing new heights and beyond.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.