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Finding Perspective on Objectives When Goal Setting

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Reader Mandy Cooley pointed us to a blog post about goal setting. The message: perspective on objectives is as important as the goals themselves.

The full post at Amber Naslund’s website explains:

How many times have you set a goal…and just missed it?

For a lot of us, “just missing it” is tantamount to failure. For recovering perfectionists like myself, it’s all too easy to see success in terms of black and white, and the goals that get us there as pass/fail tests.

How do we change that?

It’s often more helpful to measure the distance we’ve traveled than the distance we’ve yet to go. The first is real accomplishment; the second still unknown.

That “miles traveled” measure can be enormously helpful when we’ve lost sight of a big goal, or feel overwhelmed by the time or distance it’ll take to get there. But it can be even more helpful when we build it in from the get-go.

This is a powerful suggestion. Running the first 25 miles of a 26.2 mile marathon is still very impressive. Many of us can’t motivate ourselves to start training for a long distance run, much less cover this incredible distance. While a mile may seem like a long way to go when your legs are near the breaking point, thinking about the fact that you’ve already successfully covered 25, could be the confidence boost someone needs to carry on through the finish line. And even if it doesn’t, the fact you ran 25 miles still has some value. It’s not a complete waste of your time and energy despite not ultimately meeting your goal.

worker productivity low

© Flickr user cadburynaught

Furthermore, it reinforces an idea that we’re constantly exploring at AccelaWork: that perspective is more important than problems. We often need to take a moment and think big before attacking an issue. If we don’t, we may be furiously digging ourselves into a hole rather than calmly climbing our way out.

For another example: You may find yourself in a situation where increasing revenue seems like a nearly impossible task. Your goal for the year was to increase by $80,000, and it’s already November but you’ve only increased by $65,000. You’ve already maxed out what you thought was your market, and yet you still aren’t to the goals you’ve set. Instead of getting stuck in a rut of feeling dismayed about how far you still have to go, you can look at the fact you’ve already created a business that has gotten you to the point you are today. If you were able to crack a market in order to reach your current level of productivity, then it’s not inconceivable that you can keep that trend going and find a way to reach new heights. Sometimes looking at what you’ve accomplished so far can be all the motivation you need to keep going on. And if all else fails, the fact you’ve already created some stream of profits to the tune of $65,000 more. Is that really failing? Not in our book.

If you need help setting and achieving goals in your professional life, you may want to ask for help. Consider reaching out to our business process consultants. We’d love to help you set and meet goals, but also help you adopt a healthier viewpoint on the true meaning of objectives and progress. But in the meantime, just remembering that everything is relative can be far more important than comparing yourself to impossible standards.

Thanks to Mandy Cooley of Mandy Cooley of Deliberate Direction for sending us this story! Any other readers who come across stories like this should feel free to send them our way!

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