This week I’m talking about goals. It’s the time of year isn't it where many of you may have intentions you may have resolutions you might be thinking about goals if you are in a leadership position or in an organisation where your financial year is finishing in April, you might be really looking at your goals for this quarter. You might be looking at goals for the year as a whole calendar year, financial year, whatever it is that you're looking at.
Years ago, I was surprised when I attended a leadership conference for women and we were introduced to the notion of goals and sadly, how very few of us as women set concrete goals. I've always got goals I'm always achieving goals but this research kept coming up. It came up with some work that I was doing. And I think a lot of the time when I speak to clients about goals and even sometimes when I'm still setting goals I can still be a little bit woolly with some.
Sometimes the goals are vague, like I want to make more money, I want to work with more clients, I want to write more books, I want to create more programmes. There's not a lot of meat on those bones I need to be more specific.
How many more clients do I want to work with?
What sorts of clients do I want to work with?
What would the book be about and when would it be written by?
Create more programmes? Yeah, great. Are they just going to sit on my computer forever? What will they be about? How am I going to host them? How am I going to sell them? How long will they be? How much will they be?
We need to start getting more specific.
A few years ago I met a guy called Keith and he was helping me with some diagnostics for my consultancy, the first company that I started when I left corporate. I wanted to have diagnostic tools to be able to help clients and Keith was really great at helping with this but his day job wasn't about diagnostics. It was about goal setting.
And the way in which he looked at goal setting was very much I suppose, starting with the why, as Simon Sinek tells us. And when we look at living and leading from a Core-Led approach I suppose it seems it seems only natural, only sensible to start with a why, there's got to be a reason for doing the things that we're doing. It's got to be a bigger purpose for doing the things that we're doing.
When we set goals, it’s very unlikely that we're going to achieve it if that why for doing it doesn’t give us an emotional attachment to our goals. Without the why then we haven't really got that anchor or that motivation to keep us going.
Let's say you want to train to run a marathon. You sign up for it. You get yourself some new running trainers. You make sure that you’ve got the kit. You start running. But what does the training plan look like? How many months have you got before you run your marathon? What does the daily training need to look like? But also what's the why for wanting to do it? Are you doing it for to raise money for charity? Are you doing it in memory of someone? Are you doing it because it’s always been on your bucket list?
A couple of months ago I was listening to Mel Robbins on a radio interview and there was something she said that really made me think. We’re often told aren't we to visualise ourselves achieving our goals, to see ourselves succeeding. We’re told if you want to be on stage delivering a talk to visualise yourself on the stage giving the talk. We’re told that if you want to run a marathon to visualise yourself crossing the finish line. Maybe if you want to get a new job then you visualise yourself accepting the job. If you want a new relationship or you want to get out of the relationship that you're in, then you visualise yourself, achieving that thing.
But Mel gave a very different view of it and she said that what you don’t do is to visualise the thing you want to achieve, but all of the hurdles that you need to achieve on the way to your goal. Because of course you could see yourself doing the thing. You can stand up on stage and deliver a talk and you can cross the finish line. You can get a new relationship, you can leave a relationship, you can get the promotion, you can do whatever it is that you want to do. But actually visualise yourself overcoming the hurdles along the way.
Let’s stick with our marathon analogy for now. If you want to visualise yourself running a marathon don't automatically visualise yourself crossing the finish line. Visualise yourself waking up in the morning thinking about going for a run this morning, opening the curtains and seeing that it's raining outside. It's cold, it's dark, it's wet, it's windy. Visualise yourself on these difficult days still putting on your running shoes, still getting dressed, still getting out and visualise how you'll feel, how good you'll feel whilst you're running in the dark, the cold, the wet and the wind because we have to be able to overcome some of these hurdles.
And if your why, if your reason for wanting to run the marathon isn't strong enough it's quite likely that on the days that it's cold and wet, dark and windy that you’ll just tell yourself that you’re not in the mood for it today, or you’ll wait for the weather to change. You’ll go tomorrow. Or you’ll wait until lunchtime. But then the day takes over doesn't it?
The calls come in, the meetings come in, the work picks up, your family needs you. Your kids need you, your friend knocks on the door for a cup of tea, the day gets away from you so today you haven't gone out for a run. Tomorrow the weather is still as bad. You don't go out tomorrow either. Then a week has gone by and you've done no training whatsoever and then you start to beat yourself up because you've not done it. So you think you're going to push a bit harder tomorrow. Tomorrow you overtrain to try and make up for the things that you haven't done over the course of the last week. You might injure yourself. You might pull something, you might be absolutely utterly exhausted. And then you tell yourself “I can't do this anyway” You give up.
But if your Why is big enough for you to do it in the first place, if you've got that emotional attachment, if you've got that drive, that give you enough of a reason to keep on going. And you can visualise yourself overcoming the dark, cold, wet and windy mornings and you're going to be more likely to achieve your goal. I think a lot of us miss that.
You’ve got a goal to get your promotion this year. Why? Why is this the year that you need to get your promotion why is this the year that you want to get your promotion? What is that promotion going to give you? How is that promotion going make you feel? What is it going to add to your life? How will you feel when you've got it? What are the hurdles that you will need to overcome along the way? Is there likely to be some rejection from people that you felt were always going to be there for you? Is it likely that people may start to look at you differently? People may start to judge you? Might your partner or your friends or your family tell you that you don't need it? That’s it's a little bit out of your reach? Do you really want to add that additional stress to yourself?
I had that many years on in my career. Are you really sure Kelly that you want another promotion? You know, you should probably just focus on the boys. Wait until they're at university. Wait until they're at secondary school. Wait until they've left home. Do you really want to be doing that now? Yes, yes, I did. I kept on going. But other people's views, other people's opinions, other people's perspective and other people's judgement can get in your way, if your drive if your Why isn’t strong enough to overcome that.
So if you've got goals, whether they are career goals, whether they are projects that you need to complete at work. Whether it’s your promotion, a salary increase, losing weight, getting fitter, getting healthier, completing your marathon, what is your why for setting this goal? What's going to be the benefit of you achieving it? What hurdles might you have to overcome?
And if your big goal for this year is to get a promotion or a new job or a salary increase, what steps can you take on a daily basis to ensure that happens?
Let's say your goal is a new job and you want it by March.
Why do you want a new role?
What will a new role give you that you don’t have now?
How will you feel when you get this role?
What will be different when you get a new role?
What are you doing now to make that happen?
Are you researching companies?
Are you researching jobs?
Are there projects that you could get involved in in your current role to ensure that when you apply for that new role, you've got something that would be of relevance when you when you make that application?
Are you getting some interview experience so that when the right role with the right company comes up you feel confident and ready?
Are you working with a coach to help you with some interview prep or to help you to identify your unique skills and your unique attributes?
Have you properly updated and rejigged your CV?
Have you considered what might make you stand out against other applicants when you're applying for this job? Have you considered a video application?
Have you considered what your non negotiables for the role are going to be?
Do you want to be working from home?
Is there a baseline salary that you're prepared to look at?
Are there benefits that you want?
Have you really thought about what it is that you want from that role?
Once you've got all of these answers, maybe it's not a new role that you want. Maybe you’re even clearer now on what you want and you’ve created the emotional attachment, the why to make it happen. Maybe it just feels like too much hard work
What's enough of an emotional anchor to keep you going on a daily basis? And what are the daily actions that you will take to achieve it? What will you do on a weekly basis? What will you do on a monthly basis or a quarterly basis to achieve this goal?
When you are living and leading from your core, there are changes that you make on a daily basis. You are unlearning some of the unhelpful, and unhealthy habits, behaviours and thinking from the past to create yourself a much more positive future. And that's one of the major benefits of being a Core-Led woman. You know what the right thing is And you do it because you are so aligned to your values, everything else becomes non-negotiable. This includes your goal setting.
What are you going to do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis to help you achieve your goals? And in the process of achieving these goals, if you do have to skip it for a day because somebody else will because you, or you need a break, you need to slow down or you need to reflect, you're not beating yourself up about that. You're giving yourself permission because you are a Core-Led woman, you're giving yourself permission to do what is right for you. You keep going in the knowledge that you're doing the right thing.
What's your why? How do your goals align to your core? What's the emotional attachment? How can you visualise yourself overcoming all of the hurdles along the way rather than just visualising the end goal? And what actions do you need to be taking on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to ensure that you achieve them if achieving them still feels right?