Having Goals Isn't Enough

Kevin Eikenberry

By: Kevin Eikenberry - Chief Potential Officer, The Kevin Eikenberry Group

Category: Leadership

It takes more than goals to achieve greatness in any life endeavor. Leadership and learning expert Kevin Eikenberry says the truly successful look to their past for clues, acknowledge their present as a launching pad, and focus on and take massive action towards their desired future.

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A colleague recently told me "people aren`t interested in goal stuff anymore - because they feel they already know it." I nodded knowingly, but after our conversation I couldn`t get my unasked question out of my mind.

"If people know all about goals, why aren`t they achieving all the things they desire?"

The first, and most simple, answer to this question is that even though people know about goal setting, and talk about the importance of it, they don`t do it.

My guess is that less than 20% of people have clear goals, and probably less than 5% have them written down. A great case can and has been made that taking the steps to clearly define and write down your goals is a key to greater achievement.

While I agree with that point and strongly encourage you to more clearly define your goals, greater achievement alone isn`t enough.

The second, more powerful and less obvious, reason why people aren`t achieving what is possible for them is that goals are just one part of the achievement and success process.

In order to achieve at the highest levels you must consider all three parts of your life, which goals don`t really do.

Let`s start with a truth: You are where you are today because of the choices, experiences, associations, inputs, ideas, beliefs, opportunities and habits in your life up until this moment.

The underlying point of a goal is to create something different in our future than we currently have or experience. So it follows that in order to reach that destination we must do something (or perhaps many things) differently.

This means that to reach your goals you must create new or different choices, experiences, associations, inputs, ideas, beliefs, opportunities and habits.

Goal achievement requires consideration of three components: where you`ve been, where you are, and where you want to be.

Most goals focus solely on the "where you want to be", though the best ones take "where you are" into account. To expand your horizons beyond goals themselves, let`s discuss each of these perspectives briefly.

Where you`ve been. Your past is what puts you in your current situation. Therefore, in order to best determine how to move forward, you must better understand where you`ve been. This understanding can come from reflection and exploration of past situations and experiences. This is important because if you don`t understand your past choices, habits, etc., you are likely to repeat them unconsciously. With the same behaviors in the future, it will be hard to reach new results, regardless of your goal, whether you have written it down, etc.

Where you are. The starting point for goals is today, right now. Today, your current status and situation, creates the context for any goal. While you will be most successful if you are grateful for your current circumstances (however challenging they might be), you also need to be unsatisfied with your current development (however wonderful things are). Complacency is the enemy of progress and a healthy amount of discontent can provide the impetus for your greater success. In order to successfully move towards your desired future, you must acknowledge the present.

Where you want to be. Goals, especially when they are clear and specific, help create a focus on the future. You must leverage this focus to create the action that is required to reach your goals. While your goals are about your desired future state, even then the goal alone isn`t enough. You must take action. You must make changes to your habits, associations, ideas, approaches and more to achieve success.

To move ever closer to your potential - and create the results you desire in your life - you must do more than set goals. Your goals are a wonderful starting point, but you must also:

Understand your past
Acknowledge your future
Take actions required to reach your goals.

Creating the life and results you require takes more than goals. It takes learning, growth and action. When you put all of these components together in the right ways, you will create remarkable results.

Potential Pointer: It takes more than goals to achieve greatness in any life endeavor. The truly successful look to their past for clues, acknowledge their present as a launching pad, and focus on and take massive action towards their desired future.

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