Have you ever told yourself (or others) that you wanted to achieve something, and then when it came down to doing the activities necessary to hit the goal, your results showed that you were not as committed as you had thought?
If this has happened to you, know that you are not alone.
What is it that causes us to make commitments that we’re not actually willing to follow through on?
There are two big ones:
The first is a lack of clarity.
The second is the inability to tolerate the discomfort of saying no.
Lack of clarity
When you set goals, there’s typically a stretch there. If achieving what you wanted to achieve was simple and easy, you wouldn’t need to set the goal at all, because you’d just obtain the thing that you want and move on. A goal exists because there’s a chance you might NOT get there. Having the goal allows you to make a commitment to the path of activities which will bring you to accomplishment of the desired outcome.
How do you even decide upon a goal in the first place?
One of the key reasons that people fall short of goals is that they didn’t spend enough time on the front end clarifying what they want in the first place. We see this over and over again in sales environments. You have a goal to earn X dollars in commission income, and yet for what? Money is a tool, not a goal. If you don’t know how you’re going to USE the money, you’ll struggle to commit to the tasks required to earn it. This is often referred to as a “big why” and yet I would simplify it to say it’s just what you want – it’s the actual goal.
Making a million dollars isn’t really what you want.
Possessing a million dollars isn’t actually what you want either.
You may think that’s what you want, and I challenge you to go out there and attempt to hit that goal. It’s a false goal. What you really want is something else that you believe a million dollars will GET for you.
And what is that?
Answer that one simple question and it will move you one GIANT step closer to achieving. Because you will have clarity on the goal.
You see, language matters. The why isn’t the why – the why is the goal itself.
You want to lay on the beach drinking a Mai-Tai seven days a week? Fine, that’s you’re goal. Now you can ask: What will have to happen in order to make that a real option for me?
You want to help other people learn how to think differently about their lives so that they can get what they want when they want it?
How many people exactly?
Decide, and that becomes the goal. Now you know what your plan leads up to. Surely it involves generating income, and yet the income is merely the fuel to move you forward toward the ultimate goal of impacting X number of people.
In order to make a plan that we can commit to following, and to which we desire to be held accountable, we must have crystal clarity on what it is that we’re seeking to accomplish.
Once we have that clarity, we face the next big challenge, which is taking a stand for our goal. This requires a tolerance of the discomfort of saying no to others.
Why we struggle to say no to others
Gary Keller said that there is never enough time to accomplish everything, and yet there is always enough time to accomplish the things which matter most.
In order to follow our plan and hit our goal, we must believe strongly in the value of doing so. And the reason for this is that we’re going to have to say no to a great many other things. And when I say that we’re going to have to say no to things, what I really mean is we’re going to have to say no to people. Because believe me, (and you already know this) the rest of the world has its own plans for you, and those plans don’t match up with your own.
Every day people want things from us. Generally multiple people at the same time. And there’s no judgement in that – we do the same to others. We want our colleague to send us the report, we want our spouse to book the kids’ dentist appointment, we want the real estate agent on the other side of our transaction to call us back with their title company’s contact information, and we generally want these things to occur on OUR time-frames. We tell ourselves that we’re waiting on action from another person – we “need” something from them in order to move forward with whatever we’re working on in the moment.
And yet our time-frames don’t generally match those of other people. And most importantly, our priorities don’t generally match.
When our priorities don’t match those of the people around us, annoyance or frustration can arise. And that’s fine.
When YOU have a priority (for example, if you are in sales, doing lead generation during certain hours of the morning) your dedication to your priority may result in other people getting annoyed. And if you care too much about what others think about you (or too little about your own priority) you will experience discomfort. And if you rush to ease the discomfort by allowing others’ priorities to come first, you will fail to reach your goal.
Do not rush to ease the discomfort. Stay with your priority. Share your priorities with those around you so that expectations are set. Get comfortable with the experience of discomfort. Know that like all feelings, it will pass shortly anyway.
Your destiny is up to you.