Who hasn’t had an employee who sets a goal but not only does not complete the action required to achieve success but, for one reason or another, consistently avoids even starting?  If we really want to be honest, who among us hasn’t been in this situation ourselves?

Most everyone agrees that goal setting is important because goals have implications for our lives, our lifestyles, and our relationships, both personally and professionally. However, there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to choosing specifics. Anyone who says it doesn’t matter what the goal is as long as you have one isn’t doing you any favors.

We live fluid, complex lives with competing priorities and demands on our time. These things and many other factors influence importance we place (or don’t place) on achieving our stated goals.  We know the disappointment of missing the sale or falling short of production quotas.  But past the initial disappointment may be a less-realized consequence of not achieving the target.

John Donne says No man is an island.[1]  Likewise, no goal is an island. The consequences of both success and failure ripple out into other areas of our lives.  We can get laser-focused on our professional goals and fail to remember that goals are not always only professional in nature, and the impact of achieving a goal in your career may have consequences – positive or negative – in your personal life, and vice versa.

Consistently struggling or failing to achieve your goals is a red flag.  If this is where you are, it may be time for you to ask the hard questions:  Am I setting the right goals for myself? For my team? For the organization? Consider these three areas and go to the heart of the difficulty.

A. Congruency. Is the goal what I really want?  Does it align with my values and who I am?  Hint: If the answer to those questions is ‘no’, you will likely find a way to sabotage achieving the goal. 

Questions to ask:

  1. How important is this goal to me, personally? (Use a scale of 1-10.)
  2. How does this goal align with my values?
  3. Assume I’ve achieved the goal!: How do I feel? What am I seeing, hearing, and saying to myself about this achievement?

B. Unexpected Personal Impacts: Are there negative consequences to pursuing or achieving this goal?

Questions to ask:

  1. What other areas of my life might be affected by this goal?
  2. Where does this goal fit with my priorities?
  3. What is the price of making this change (i.e., achieving this goal)? Am I willing to pay it?
  4. What’s working well about my current situation and how can I keep those good aspects while still making the change I want?

C. Relationship Impacts: How does pursuing or achieving this goal impact other people in my life? How will our interaction change?

Questions to ask:

  1. Who else will be impacted by this goal? Does that change how I feel about the goal?
  2. Can I expect support from others in my life who will be impacted by this goal?
  3. How might my life be better with this goal?
  4. How might my life be worse with this goal?

Taking time to explore the importance, urgency, and desire of your goals and their implications – regardless of the outcome – is an important step. Raising awareness around the bigger picture may help you adjust your actions and goals to ensure ongoing success.

Actively and intentionally identifying and choosing goals is a trait that can help you grow into a truly excellent leader. I can help you establish or refine your personal and professional goals and determine the best path forward.  Let’s chat!


P.S.  Book a Complimentary Strategy Session so we can get you moving in the right direction; click on my Complimentary Strategy Session calendar link here and let’s book a time together so you can get started today!

P.P.S.  With over three decades of professional experience in corporate operations and executive human resources, I am a proven results-driven leader.  My expertise includes strategy, change management, talent management and organizational development, employee relations, and executive and leadership coaching.  I am a highly effective communicator and team leader with proven ability to build long-term relationships across internal and external customer environments built with integrity, confidence, authenticity, and trust.



[1] John Donne, Meditation 17, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, 1642