Yesterday I wrote about Liz who had set her goals with such tight parameters that when her health plummeted and she wasn’t able to work towards her goals in the way that she wanted she felt a failure.
I’m starting from the mindset that setting goals is important and something that I believe can support us and enrich our lives – if we use the most suitable approach for us at the time. This post also assumes you have a working knowledge of goal setting and why it can be beneficial. If you don’t, please leave a comment asking me for a post about goal setting – why and what.
When we set goals being very specific can really help motivate us, but it can also cause angst if something outside of our control changes. Sometimes we are so committed to a specific goal that when circumstances change we still cling to our original goal regardless, not realising what we are doing.
This happened to me years ago. I was hired by a telecomms company to go in and make some big changes in a team. The day I arrived, the boss of my department, who had hired me welcomed me and then said that he was leaving the company – that day. His deputy was going with him; and the other senior manager didn’t have a lot to do with my team. They were setting up their own company which was a rival to the department, so no surprise, they were literally being escorted out the building. I knew what I’d been hired to do though, so I got on with it.
However, what I didn’t at any point realise was that no-one else knew what I’d been hired to do. I also had a team member who loved her old manager – who now sat 2 desks away from me. I had no idea that my goal of improving this team’s performance was constantly being undermined from within the department and that the incoming management had no conception of what I was doing. A couple of other people understood what I was working towards, the rest just didn’t get it, or me.
Would you have succeeded in those circumstances?
I certainly didn’t; I crashed and burned. Spectacularly.
My confidence disappeared; my self-esteem non-existent, and although I was diverted to another job for the company which went really well and allowed me a career highlight, I ultimately felt damaged by the whole experience and it took me years to learn from the experience which developed my Organisational Development Skills fantastically, but even longer to regain my self-esteem.
SMART goals are really great for when you’re looking to achieve something specific, but what I find with most of my clients is that they are past SMART goals; they are ready for something much more intuitive.
How can you use intuition for your goal setting?
The quickest way to connect with your intuition is to take three deep breaths – all the way down as if you are breathing into your stomach, and then slowly, breathe all the way out. This helps you calm down and gives oxygen to your brain which relaxes it – so you’re reacting from a place of peace, not a place of panic or mild anxiety or stress.
You might start with an intention such as, “I want a new job.” Ask yourself why you want a new job. What will it do for you? What kind of job? Are you furthering your career or having a change? Are there skills that you want to sharpen? Do you want a lifestyle change? Doing a brainstorm of all the things are important to you around your goal is really useful.
Once you’ve got all your thoughts and feelings out on paper, ask yourself what else is important to you about this goal? Write it all down. Ask yourself this at least three times after you feel that you’ve got everything out of your mind and onto paper.
You might even want to then write out your goal as a SMART goal.
Once you’re happy that you’re all set, ask yourself one of the earlier questions again. Start on a fresh piece of paper and in the middle put “What [your goal] will do for me.”
Breathe and answer with what it will really do for you. Perhaps getting a new job will allow you to spend more time with your family. Maybe a new home will allow you to have the space you want for entertaining. Imagine that you’re going deeper into the “Why” and “I want this because…” Eventually you might get to statements such as
I want to spend more quality time with family because I want to offer a strong relationship.
I want a job that allows me more time to pursue my hobbies because my body feels better when I spend time on them.
I want more space to allow myself freedom.
These are the intentions you are setting. So, really this is about setting intentions.
What’s my intention with this goal?
To finish off the exercise, then be sure to be open to new ideas that give you the end result even if it’s in a different way that you had originally expected. How many people do you know who thought they needed to move house for more space, but actually were able to extend their current house to get exactly what they wanted (and they probably saved money too!) ?
Do share in the comment box what goals you might try this approach with – and come back and share your successes too!