How do you go about setting goals?
Do you set them at all?
Are they a positive inspiration for you, or a burden of guilt?
Do they drive you forward or can being too focused on goals be a distraction from wider opportunities that may present themselves?
Do you set them personally and professionally and do you tend to think of them as long or short term?
Do you ever stop to review them, to check your progress or to decide if they are still relevant?
Maybe you’ve not really taken the time to think about them much at all.
Goals are a key part of our work whether coaching in a one to one session or in workshops, as we support our clients to think about and define their work life, so we thought we’d share some of ours and others’ thinking around goals, which might inspire you to think about yours…
Venus Williams is quoted as saying…“I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest” which clearly works for her, but for others can being that focused be a distraction from spontaneity or noticing other opportunities?
Or Pablo Picasso’s take on it…“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success”. So is there no point having a goal without a plan to know how to reach it?
Michelle Obama talks about doing what is right for you…“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals”. How often when we really stop to think about it, are we pursuing goals set for us by someone else?
Jack Canfield says…“If you can tune into your purpose and really align with it, setting goals so that your vision is an expression of that purpose, then life flows much more easily”. This makes sense to us, if we can spend time exploring and defining what’s important to us, our individual purpose, this becomes the starting point for all of our goals and ensures the goals are the right fit for us as an individual.
Maybe all of this discussion on goals feels overwhelming or restrictive, maybe it feels too much pressure to have goals and you prefer to see them as more emergent. There are certainly a range of downsides to goals, many of which are explored by David, Clutterbuck & Megginson in their book Beyond Goals(2013).
But if you choose to make goals a part of your life, as we do, here are some ideas on setting them and using them in the best possible way:
- Look at the areas of your life where goals might be most relevant.
- Take some time to think about both short-term goals and longer-term aspirations
- Write down all the goal ideas you can think of, even ideas you may have dismissed before
- Check in with your wider aspirations, values and purpose – do your goals fit?
- Now decide which areas to focus on and prioritise first
- Write out your specific priority goals, make sure they are measurable, achievable and clear
- Work out how you will measure success and how you will celebrate each achievement
- Remember to review your goals and aspirations regularly to check your progress but also to see if they are still relevant and meaningful to you
Good luck and enjoy defining and achieving your goals.
Emma & Jenny
Emma Shute & Jenny Pollock are the founders & coaches of Women to Work. As well as designing and delivering Women’s Development Programmes, Emma & Jenny both offer one to one coaching sessions either face to face in Sheffield or Derby or by telephone or Skype. For more information contact Emma & Jenny here.