Can you win without scoring goals?
The key working principle I refuse to negotiate with my clients is the objective. I cannot begin developing a recommendation for them unless I have a clear brief. Because, if I don’t understand the what, why, who, and when of the task, then how can I possibly establish the how?
I stand resolute on this requirement: no brief, no response.
The reality is that clients more often than not, are unable or unwilling to divulge all the information I request. This is fine, providing, of course, the brief includes a clear objective.
By objective, I mean the goal, or the desired outcome, or the key indicator by which I can measure success. To establish this, I begin by asking,
“What does success look like for your business?”
“How will this be measured?”
The answer to these two simple questions requires consensus among all invested parties/stakeholders. Without this, we cannot embark on the journey together, because only this critical information can tell us when we have arrived at our destination.
This also applies to life. We are bombarded, by pesky switched-on-and-in-control-of-life coaching/mentor “I was married to my job until I saw the light” types, and their snack-sized articles that suggest to succeed, we must establish goals.
“Yes”, I think to myself when I read them, “of course, it makes perfect sense, unquestionably so. Where do I sign?”
But I won’t sign. I’ve never committed. I won’t fix on a long-term objective for my life.
I say won’t, not don’t, because it hasn’t just slipped my mind. I think I have actively avoided setting those life objectives. Obviously I pay the rent, bills, and I turn up for work (work being a job, for which earn money, because this addresses the aforementioned life obligations). But life admin (bills, rent etc) is not an objective, it is made up of tasks.
Tasks fall into two categories, those borne out of necessity, and those driven by ambition. Necessities are duties, responsibilities or chores that are thrust upon us (e.g. mortgage payments and that nagging tax return).
Ambitions, we can function without. This doesn’t make them any less important than necessities; they are, however, self-imposed. They form stages, or chapters of a process we have carefully devised for ourselves, to help achieve our desired state. Once accomplished, each task becomes a milestone, marking our progress through our precisely mapped journey towards a specific objective.
The most interesting journeys are often long. They don’t just run from A to B. So, unfortunately, identifying and achieving personal goals is not like taking a penalty shot in soccer. You cannot simply point in the right direction, check where the others are, and BAM, go for it!
“There is simply no substitute for hard work when it comes to achieving success” – Heather Bresch
If everything everybody wanted was within easy reach, it would all become low hanging fruit. Unremarkable, and inevitably, undesirable. Anyway, I know hard work isn’t an obstacle to my goal setting. I have always worked very hard, and I have achieved results commensurate with my effort. Good fortune has presented great opportunities, many of which I have feared seizing in case I failed. But I am brave enough to have taken risks, even when I feared failure. So it’s not fear hindering me.
“Any goal worth achieving involves an element of risk” – Dean Karnazes
In all honesty, I just don’t want to do it.
Spontaneity has always quite suited me. There’s something deliciously irresponsible about cruising through life without a plan. I get to learn, grow and develop new skills, I never become too bored or impatient because change is possibly lurking around the corner. My professional network is constantly evolving and expanding, because I don’t allow myself to become pigeon-holed.
Failure remains a possibility, of course. Those enormously successful overachievers we all love to hate have all failed at least once. Failure is a truly awful feeling, seizing opportunities with an enthusiastic optimism, only to be rejected, is horrendously disappointing. But when none of it was part of a carefully laid plan, I know an equally exciting prospect could pop up any moment, and it cushions the blow.
If those same opportunities represented a shiny trophy I’d planned to win by a certain time, up until which I had navigated my carefully planned strategy to reach that very prize, I would feel destroyed!
Maybe those who know exactly what they want are more likely to get it. I prefer to roll the dice and see where I land, it never fails to surprise and delight!