Posts Tagged ‘objective setting’

Goal Setting Success Factor # 3: Develop an Enquiring Mind

April 5, 2011

Achieving your goal is going to involve you building on your existing strengths, learning new skills and growing in new directions. If it doesn’t, you’ve probably set your sights too low.

This might mean many things: maybe it’s a question of developing your confidence; perhaps you have all the skills you need to achieve your goal … your problem is developing the self discipline to apply yourself, plan your route forward and get on with it! For someone else, wanting to achieve a lifetime’s ambition of running a marathon, say, it could be the challenge of doing MORE – pushing oneself to run further and further each week until the goal is reached.

Organisations need to also bear in mind that strategies for growth MUST involve developing individuals across the organisation and giving them a strong reason ‘why’ (our Goal Setting Success Factor #1) … but that’s a subject for another post.

So – what do you need to learn? And how? Here are 5 key areas:

1. Develop a positive mindset to learning, as part of your journey.

This is vital. As you journey towards your goal, you’ll constantly discover new things that need to be learned, new skills, behaviours and attitudes that need to be acquired. Learning is positive. It is the road to development and growth. It is NOT a remedial measure to correct some sort of personal defect.

It’s absolutely CRITICAL that you develop this attitude towards learning – otherwise you could fall into the trap of being overwhelmed by what you think you DON’T know, rather than actively looking to learn and develop the skills you NEED.

Remember – we never stop learning. Even experts in their field continue to learn, develop and grow.

2. Don’t be modest – consider what you’re good at.

Take stock of yourself – what are your strengths? What do you enjoy doing and what are you good at? There will be plenty of things that spring to mind immediately, but you may need to ask trusted friends for their thoughts too, as they might have recognised some strengths in you that you weren’t aware of.

There WILL be skills which you think of as ordinary and ‘anyone-can-do’ which are in fact unique to you. Find out what these are. Consider how you might leverage them to achieve your goal.

3. ‘Mind the gap’: identify your gaps in knowledge, and areas for development and growth.

This is often easier said than done, and it’s ESSENTIAL (I can’t stress that enough) that you do this in a positive frame of mind and as a step forward towards your goals.

What do you need to learn in order to achieve your goals? Again, some of these things will be fairly straightforward to identify – if I’m going to be a successful photographer, I need to not only be good at taking pictures, but know how to promote and sell my work, how to manage my finances and so on.

Be aware, though, of areas of ‘unconscious incompetence’ – things that you don’t know you don’t know. There are things you can do to try to tease some of these out, but there will always be ‘Doh!’ moments when you become aware of one of these.

Be thankful that this ‘gap’ is now known to you – don’t waste time kicking yourself about not having realised it before.

4. Learn how to learn – a crucial life skill.

Let’s face it – you could waste a fortune on training courses, coaching sessions, internet information products and so on (somewhat ironic that, as a trainer and coach, I’m telling you that).

Once you’ve identified gaps in your knowledge, you’ll need to give some thought as to how you might address these. In terms of thought processes, try to remain positive and ‘solution focused’, i.e. say to yourself, “I’m going to improve my marketing skills” and NOT “I’m rubbish at marketing, so I have to get better.”

Think laterally: who do you know that you could ask? What connections can you make from other industries / walks of life? Where can you find free information?

Consider also – at what point do you leverage the skills of others, and use THEM to fill in your gaps (hiring a book-keeper, for example, or getting someone else to build your website)?

5. Face your fears: in the words of Mr T, “Quit your jibber jabber – get some nuts!”

Learning new things inevitably means pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. Just grasp the nettle and get on with it: don’t make excuses or try to talk yourself out of trying something new.

Susan Jeffers’ book ‘Feel the fear and Do It Anyway’ is a classic on this point. At the risk of sounding clichéd … JUST DO IT! And don’t worry if it doesn’t work out perfectly first time – it’s all part of the learning experience.

So there we are – five key aspects of learning and honing the skills you need to achieve your goals. Take a positive approach to learning. Boldly assess your own abilities, and the areas in which you need to develop (some of which may already be strengths).

Be creative in how you learn. Don’t be afraid to try something new, and do something different. Learn. Grow. Fly.


Goal Setting Success Factor #2: Self Awareness and Self Confidence

March 26, 2011

2. Self awareness and self confidence: recognise who you need to become to achieve your goals.

Whether your goals are SMART or not, the stark fact of the matter is that if you don’t believe that you have it in you to achieve your goals…it’s ‘game over’ from the very beginning.

Developing a healthy self confidence (by that, I mean a realistic and positive sense of self, not arrogance or an ego the size of a planet) is crucial to your being able to achieve your goals.

Here are three techniques that will help:

Visualisation is  extremely useful – being able to capture in your imagination what the best-possible-you looks and feels like, the sort of life you lead and the sort of people you associate with.

Anyone who’s come across ‘The Secret’ will know what I mean here – this is more than daydreaming about how you want to be; this is really focussing on the details. In the words of Alfred Montapert,  “To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualise, then plan… believe… act!”
‘Mask of the Role Model’
A second technique is a little like the ‘fake it till you make it’ approach. I prefer to think of it as putting on the ‘mask of the role model’.

Let me explain what I mean: the best boss I ever had was a lady called Lesley, whose confidence, approach and way of working with people truly inspired me. For YEARS when I was in a business situation in which I felt out of my depth, I would think to myself “Now, what would Lesley do?” …and take that course of action. By acting the part of a confident individual, I was treated as though I WAS a confident individual by those I met; and gradually, I grew into the part.
Self Talk
It’s often said that we talk to ourselves in a way that we just wouldn’t take from anyone else, and we can sometimes become our own ‘confidence saboteur’.

What do you say when you speak to yourself? Make sure it’s positive and self affirming… which is often easier said than done.

There’s a BIG psychological difference when you make a mistake, say, between thinking to yourself “You stupid idiot! What did you do that for? For goodness sake, how hopeless are you?!”  and saying “OK, how hard can this be? I’ve seen someone else do it, so I’m bound to be able to do it….”  

Learn to talk yourself up, not down.
These three techniques – and other confidence-building methods – are vital to help you achieve your goals. SMART and action-orientated though those goals may be, what’s going on in your HEAD will have a profound impact on what goes on in your life and career.
Watch this space for Goal Setting Success Factor number 3 in the next few days!