Developing a Healthy Relationship with Goals


I have always hated setting goals.

No, really. I always thought, “I’ll just work as hard as I can, and wherever I get, that’ll be good.” ‘Cuz hard work gets you places, right?

It does. But never as far as you would get if you had a destination in mind. Kind of like treading water as hard as you can, versus actually swimming for shore. There are times when treading water is wisest, but not often.

My lack of goal-setting always had to do with fear. What if I don’t make it? I would feel like such a failure/never live it down/feel stupid/whatever. So rather than admit I had a goal, I would just work hard… and sometimes make the goal, sometimes not.

Case in point of how silly my relationship with success had gotten: Pampered Chef Canada had set up sales achievement goals for their consultants in January 2012 to be reached by June 30th: $10k, $12k, and $15k in sales.I was a new consultant, and I figured there would be NO WAY for me to ever to do that, so I’d just work hard and do what I could… true to the form of fear. By May 2012, I was within $2000 of the $10k goal, and started to sit up and take notice…. but still wouldn’t commit. Then, in the last 5 days of June, I was $175 away from $10k, with no time left to book parties. I suddenly realized how silly it would be to NOT reach this goal, and how much I truly wanted to, and I got desperate. I cornered a bunch of [kind, understanding, wonderful] moms on the bench at my kids’ baseball practice, told them about my [very new] goal, and asked if they or someone they knew needed any Pampered Chef. Between all those ladies, we managed to scrape enough orders together for me to reach my goal with $125 to spare. 

Still didn’t learn my lesson, though.

Then in July 2012, it was Product Free-For-All month – you could earn your new Fall product FREE based on your sales. I thought, oh, I don’t have time. I’ll be going on vacation late in the month… there’s no time for parties. Excuses, not reasons. So I pulled back from reaching for what I wanted, and submitted what I thought should be “reasonable for that season”. I didn’t make the sales result  I was secretly hoping for… but did ok. I ended up ordering the rest of my fall product at a discount.

All this secret hoping changed in August 2012, during my first Pampered Chef National Conference. I remember sitting in that room of 400+ women and men – a room charged with energy, delight and determination – listening to people talk about setting goals and then plowing fearlessly through personal troubles and doubts to achieve their professional goals.  And I thought, why not me? WHY not?  INDEED!  Everyone else around me believed in me – they told me so… why couldn’t I?

Imagine what I could have achieved in the June results if I had actually set a goal and worked towards it sooner than 5 days before the deadline!  And that July sales goal? – I was only $400 away from the level I wanted – that’s a small catalog show. How foolish was that, that I had to spend all that money to buy something that I was to afraid to earn for free?

Fear. That rotten, stinkin’ fear.

That was that. No more silliness.

I went home, set some goals, and went to work. I didn’t achieve all that I set out to do… still had some run-ins with my fear, but it sure was empowering to reach for what I wanted.

And in 2013, I had a LOT of personal troubles to work through as I reached for my professional goals. Extreme illness. Self-doubt. Even death in the family. But as I persevered, I was able to make it, with much love, support and help from those around me.

So here’s what I learned:

There is a big difference between an excuse and a reason. An excuse is trying to justify something that should have or should not have been done. A reason just is. We will either make the time for something, or we will make an excuse… and it all depends on what priority we place on a thing. How important is your goal to you?

The disappointment feels worse than the fear. Yes, the fear feels bad. Horrible, in fact. Maybe even debilitating! But, it’s true!  Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen if you do reach your goal, and if you don’t reach your goal. You’ll likely find that not reaching it will be worse than if you do.  Like that saying says, “Aim for the moon. If you don’t make it, you’ll still land among the stars.”

Help comes to those who reach for their goals. People are inspired by fearlessness and ambition. Not the ambition that is self-serving and proud and distasteful, but the positive, goal-setting kind, where you have something in mind, and you’re giving all you’ve got to go for it. I was still a ways away from some of the professional goals I had set, but because I was making such a strong effort, team members around me saw and wanted to help. I could not have made my goals without them. They. ROCK. And have helped ME to rock as a result. 😉 It forged stronger bonds with my team AND helped me reach my goal. Awesome, huh? 😉

Dwelling in fear keeps you linked to your past. The past may seem safe, but is that really where you want to live?  If you’re even thinking about goals, chances are, the answer to that is NO.  Announce your goals to the world, to keep you accountable, and to burn the bridge to the past where it is safe to live. You won’t regret it. This excerpt from Secrets of The Richest Man Who Ever Lived by Mike Murdock was fantastically helpful to me as I forged a path for myself into the land of goal-setting and success, and it was shared by a friend on Facebook. It said:

“Your DREAM should be so big, that it unleashes conversations around you.

This is very important; your dream must be big enough to consume you, or it will NOT move you; it must consume your time, your mind, and your conversation.

Telling many others about your dream destroys the option to fail.

You see, if you whisper to yourself, “I’d better not tell anyone about my dream, so I won’t look stupid in their eyes if I fail”, you have just created a BRIDGE BACK TO YESTERDAY. Stop building bridges to your past; it divides your attention and dilutes your energy and enthusiasm.”

Worried or afraid about setting goals? Don’t be. It’s the best, most constructive thing you can do for yourself.

Talk to me! What do you find holds you back from setting goals? What do you find helps you? Tell me in the comments… let’s chat! 🙂