A Personal Goal Setting Story
I have always considered myself a pretty good goal setter. I set a goal, work out a strategy and away I go working towards that goal. However, it is only recently that I have come to realise that achieving the goal is only a part of the story. Working towards a goal can be a hard, long, lonely journey. The journey can be filled with trials and tribulations, successes and setbacks. There are forks in the road, roadblocks, and detours. One of my more recent goals is to walk the Kokoda Track in 2021. This goal involves a long training program part of which includes bush walks and mountain climbs.
Goal Setting is more than just Climbing a Mountain
On a recent mountain climb up Mt Coolum, it hit me that the ‘goal’ is only just the final piece of the growth journey. As I trudged up the mountain, I was watching every footstep, carefully selecting each place to stand for fear of slipping and twisting my ankle. My main focus was each and every step for fear that a wrong step would result in a set-back. I don’t know if you have ever climbed Mt Coolum, but it is an ‘interesting’ climb. In the beginning, there are steps and handrails. You are lulled into a false sense of security thinking “this is easy” “I can do this”. When we start off working towards a goal the first few steps in our strategy are kind of easy.
On Mt Coolum, after a little while the steps get few and far between, the steps get higher, there are fewer handrails to lean on. It’s getting harder, you start puffing a bit. Regardless of how early you started, it starts to get hot. Same deal when you are working towards your goal. The easy bits get fewer, you start to get challenged more, you have to stretch your mind, your body, and your thinking. Your learning curve starts to get steep. When things get tough it’s easy to ask yourself “What was I thinking??” “Is this really worth it??” “Why am I doing this?” “Does anyone really care?”. These are important questions to ask, because if you can’t answer them positively, the goal may not be the right one.
Moments to Reflect when Goal Setting
As I climbed Mt Coolum and came to the end of the ‘easy’ steps and it started to get hard, I was huffing and puffing, I was hot, I was thirsty, already my calves were burning from the climb. I was starting to have “What the hell were you thinking” thoughts. Some of my group were ahead of me, some of my team were behind me. People that had already been to the top were starting their decline. I must have looked buggered, because a gentleman that was on the way down, (I am going to say an elderly gentleman and hope that I am not offending him), reached out and said: “would you like a drink of water love?, Here you can have my bottle”.
Two thoughts occurred to me. Firstly, how nice is that. Secondly, wow he’s old if he can do this I can. When I stopped to drink the water, I turned around and was amazed at how far I had come. There was the most incredible view. The team was right behind me, diligently taking one step after the other. It occurred to me that along the way there are people that are prepared to help you, encourage you or share their resources (water), when you share the goal with your team, they will be right behind you. And most importantly you stop along the way to recognise what you have achieved and to celebrate your little wins. Drink in the view, recharge your battery, reset your commitment, adjust your strategy and continue on your path.
The climb to the top of Mt Coolum was worth every muscle screaming, sweat dripping and gasping breath. At the top, there were so many people grinning from ear to ear. We would look at each other and give a smile and nod with a silent acknowledgment of well done in shared success. The climb down was equally enlightening. Coming down every time I reached my hand out to balance myself on a tree or a rock, I was shocked at how smooth it was. Their surfaces had been smoothed by the thousands of hands that leaned on them before me. I could now give words of encouragement (the water was all gone) to those on the way up. The steps no longer seemed so steep or so far between. I remembered the fork in the path that had better steps. Future journeys up the mountain would be much easier. Future higher, steeper mountains would be easier with the lessons that I have learned. Some of my team were now forging ahead of me, talking about “next time”. The climb had become a story the whole team could now share in.
Success is Worth the Climb
The goal was to climb Mt Coolum. The success, however, was all the learnings along the way. You are not alone. If you reach out to others and share your goals, they will help you. If you reach out for help along the way, there are people that would be only too happy to help. You are not Robinson Crusoe. Others have been on similar, if not the same journey. They have stories to tell, tips to give that could be so valuable. And that view along the way!! Stopping along the way to recognise your progress and celebrate the successes can be so rewarding and inspiring.
As you set your New Years’ resolutions and goals, don’t forget to share them with others, for their support, encouragement, and guidance. Most importantly take the time to enjoy the view along the way.
Setting goals in your personal life and in your business, is an important step in achieving success. Get in touch with a HR Consultant at Bramwell Partners to see goal setting with your team can be a powerful way to achieve the shared vision of your business.