Winning is for losers

How to achieve your goals by learning to lose

Winning is for losers? We say it is. We think (in fact, we know…) that in order to win, you must first learn to lose. We’ll explain why, and how to become a loser in order to be a winner and achieve your goals in a series of short articles.

In this first article in the series, we’ll present you with the reason why winning is for losers, and how to apply the lessons this holds for truly winning.

Let’s start with how it began…

Learning to be a loser

The first time the six-year-old boy (one of the authors) attended the martial arts school, the teacher asked him, ‘Are you a loser?’

Of course he answered: ‘No, sir’.

‘What a pity,’ was the surprising reply. ‘You do know winning is for losers, don’t you?’

Growing up, the boy came to the dojo every day. Every day the teacher asked him with interest: ‘Have you been angry about losing yet today?’ In this way he touched what kept the boy from being able to win.

Much, much later the boy, by now a grown man, understood why ‘winning is for losers’.

And now we want to tell you, too. Because once you know why winning is for losers, you’ll have become a true winner.

Winning is an effect of losing

Let’s look at losing from a logical angle. No one can win all the time. In fact winning is an effect of losing. The oft-quoted American philosopher Elbert Hubbart even wrote that ‘there is no failure except in no longer trying.’ Losing is required to improve your failing. Only by failing repeatedly, and failing better every time, can you ever hope to win.

Learn to fail better

Samuel Becket, the great stage writer, famously said to an actor who lost faith during a repetition, ‘Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better.’

The message seems to be: just be of strong will and fail better, that will make you improve. However, in order to ‘fail better’, (that is: being able to face losing, because it will enable you to win), you need something more than just ‘strong will.’ We all know that the human condition is shaped by the necessity to prevent loss – and failure is clearly a form of loss. What is it you need to be able to ‘fail better’ in spite of this?

To fail better you need the inner capacity to deal with the emotions of possible loss. You need to be able to deal with uncertainty.

Handling uncertainty

Uncertainty allows for the possibility you won’t succeed, or to put it in even harsher terms: you presumably might fail. This possibility generates emotions that most people find hard to handle. These are the emotions of loss that upset your inner peace and eat away at your self-confidence.

The effect, very understandably, is doubt. These doubts hamper your effectiveness. After a while these doubts about yourself and your abilities might even preclude the possibility to find out what causes your losing. And that means you won’t ‘fail better’ – you’ll just fail.

Our doubts are traitors

The doubts may become so strong you will start to sabotage yourself. Rather than trying to ‘fail better’ you’ll be trying to prevent losing. Instead of going all out, you’ll be acting cautiously. You’ll adapt to a lower standard that is easily within reach.

Shakespeare pointed out the effects of self-doubts when he wrote:

‘Our doubts are traitors
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt.’[1]

By not attempting something because we are afraid to fail, we block the possibility for ourselves to know what specifically causes failure. This means we don’t find out what we specifically need to improve to become a winner.

Go ahead and make one genuine attempt

So what to do instead? Well, face your doubts. And do it anyway. Make one genuine attempt at something.

What if you ‘lose’? Don’t look at the possible failure. Look instead at a means to improve your attempt, so you’ll so you’ll ‘fail better’. That’s the winner’s mentality.

A winner is a beginner. The only way to truly begin is to not continue with what has failed, but to adapt to feedback based on the true attempt. The attempt to ‘the good we oft might win’.

In the next article in this series, we’ll show you how to learn to ‘fail better’ and make a true attempt by experiencing how failure teaches success.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

See our Coaching offer: The result of our coaching is the unconstrained achievement of your personal and career goals. The coaching is measurable, adaptable and suitable for you. Right from the start you’ll know you are on your way to make progress towards your goal.

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[1] William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act 1, scene 4

Promoting yourself and your ideas at work: 3 R’s for success

Promoting your ideas at work needs to be done in a way that builds your reputation and yields the results you are looking for.  In this article we we will give you a reminder what to keep in mind at all times when you promote yourself and your ideas, (the 3 R’s), and how you prepare your strategy for success.

Promoting yourself 3 R'sThe 3 R’s of promoting your ideas

The best way, (and in reality the only way), to promote yourself is by promoting an idea, a proposal, or e.g. an initiative. For this to succeed you have to take into account a threesome you cannot compromise with. This threesome is the basis for your success. Remember it as the triple R:

  1. Relationship
  2. Results
  3. Respect

The Relationship conducts the flow of information;

Results give power to the flow;

Respect makes sure this power doesn’t overpower those concerned.

Relationship

Likeability and reliability are key factors in deepening relationships. (This was the subject of an earlier article, Relationships are Key.) Promoting your ideas is like selling. People don’t like to be sold. They buy, and they buy from someone they like and trust. Of course you are likeable and reliable, but likeable and reliable are as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That is why Results and Respect should be coupled with Relationship.

Results

Your ideas may be outstanding, but it is hardly likely that you will be able to get results in total isolation. You will need the cooperation of others. Cooperation is something people will be happy to give you when they get something out of it as well. Take care the others you involve get Results by helping you. Share and be generous, it will only make your own results more noteworthy.

Respect

Respect is the most overlooked factor and often the reason why people fail in promoting themselves in a manner that is appreciated. No one likes someone who self-promotes arrogantly. Always Respect the presence, achievements and contributions of others. Respect is also due to someone’s position in an organization. This is why you should never sidestep or overreach your boss or anyone within his or her circle.

How to go about promoting yourself and ideas

Before you start promoting your ideas with the three R’s in mind, first explore your promotion strategy. Find answers to these questions:

  • Who are the key figures?
  • What are your interfaces with them?
  • Do you know the problems, and  the underused potential in these interfaces?
  • What are the personal interests and how can you contribute to them?
  • In what way can you involve your idea?
  • What is the right course of reasoning?

When you have found the answers to these questions, find someone you trust to talk it over with. Then start promoting yourself and your ideas, keeping Relationships, Results and Respect always in mind. You will be thought worth knowing and promoting, and your promotion of yourself and your ideas will

  • be appreciated,
  • noted favorably, and
  • lead to the desired results.

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Interested in promoting yourself and your ideas? Coaching with us will make it possible to do so in an effective manner that fits with who you are and gets you the results you are looking for.

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Promoting yourself and your ideas at work is one way of achieving your goals. Achieving goals with soft skills is one of the areas we coach in.

Promoting yourself and your ideas at work: Relationships are Key

Relations are KeyPromoting yourself and your ideas is a necessity to get ahead in your career. It doesn’t have to mean you become an arrogant attention seeker. Instead you can be thought likeable and reliable enough for you and your ideas:

  • to be appreciated,
  • noted favorably,
  • and this will get you the desired results.

Relations are Key in promoting yourself and your ideas

Like water that flows through a well-maintained riverbed, promotion is achieved through the ‘channels’ of relations that have been developed earlier. Relations are the critical success factor for promoting yourself and your ideas. They can even be considered the determining factor. So, what is needed to deepen your relations enough you may use them as ‘channels’ to promote yourself and your ideas?

Likeability and Reliability will take you further

We hardly ever hear directly from the horse’s mouth what someone thinks of us. However, research shows again and again that people find two factors crucial to want to deepen a relationship. These are:

  • Likeability
  • Reliability

To take any relationship to the next step, whether private or professional, you have to be liked and trusted. When this is the case, the relationship will be deep enough to allow the flow of information to ‘channel’ the promoting of you and your ideas.

How you will be judged

Being judged likeable and reliable is in large part determined by what is important to the person in question around these factors. You could research and check this. In general, people like friendly people that are pleasant and at ease in interaction. But what is considered ‘likeable’ remains personal. What people will consider ‘reliable’ is even more dependent on personal values.

What is the like and trust factor in your organization?

The personal factor is only part of the equation. Much is also determined by what is normal in your organizational culture. To promote yourself and your ideas at work, keep in mind the culture you inhabit and approach it as a research and sales project. Find out in what way to be of service to the people you need, how to be likeable in your culture, and what are the factors within the culture you work in to be assessed as reliable.

Do your homework

Assuming you have been working there for a while, you probably know by now what is ‘normal’ in your organization, and what is expected of you. If you are new to the organization, look at how the organization advertises itself to clients, and compare this to the ads for staff. In conclusion, check the career guidelines to see what is asked for and assess in what way this is made practical and concrete in the performance review.

Now for the final touch

Now that you have found out what it takes within your organization and the people you work with to be judged likeable and reliable, it’s time for a final touch. You have to feel comfortable with these requirements! You have to be certain that what these people judge as likeable and reliable is a judgment you share sufficiently. You also need to feel secure you can meet these requirements on your own terms.

Go for it, and start developing the relations that you need to promote yourself and your ideas.

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Promoting yourself at work is part of achieving your career goals. We coach managers and professionals in achieving goals with soft skills.

Promoting yourself and your ideas at work – Earn the credit you need

Promoting yourself at work -Earn the credit you need

Promoting yourself at work is, as you will undoubtedly have discovered, a necessity if you want to have a successful career and get the things done that you think are important.

However, perhaps you are one of those professionals who fear that promoting yourself and your ideas will appear pushy or arrogant?

There’s good news for you. Actually, it’s quite easy to promote yourself without being thought arrogant. Instead you can be seen as a resourceful professional, worth knowing and promoting, who can be trusted to come up with valuable ideas.

How to achieve this is the subject of the three articles in a series. In this first article, we’ll show you how you start by promoting others. That’s the way you earn the credit you need to promote yourself at work.

The dynamics of promoting yourself at work

Promoting interpreted as an activity basically means the furthering of growth. See this as the sowing and watering of the seed, weeding the ground and taking care of the maturation until the harvest. Remember the old wisdom here: you reap what you sow.

Promoting interpreted as an interaction process means encouraging someone in a certain direction, that is: the direction you need and the direction the other person wants to go. The right ‘seed’ to sow is a blend of cooperation, endorsing, supporting, assisting, backing, contributing, fostering, nourishing, affirming, and recommending. Promoting yourself at work, however contrary this may sound, is in the first instance about promoting others.

Therefore, whatever you do next, learn to support someone else in in his or her promotion, that is, of course: if they and their ideas are worth it. By doing what they need, you earn the return of the favor, plus you’ll learn the dynamics of promoting. Having promoted someone else, you will have learned what it takes to promote yourself and your own ideas in your organization.

Does this mean you have to forget about yourself?

On the contrary – you are the starting point.

  1. You first resolve what the goal is you want to achieve.
  2. Next you assess whom you need to achieve that goal.
  3. Once you have assessed whom you need, you research their needs.
  4. Then you decide how you can help get them the results they need by promoting their ideas.

Approach your research for the right person and their needs as if it is a sales situation and take into account these factors:

  • Determine who (A) has the authority to take a decision about you and your idea.
  • Find out who (B) is able to influence A effortlessly.
  • Determine who is able to assist you in giving information about A, B, their needs  and their mutual work relation.

Sow goodwill, harvest credit

Now you have the basic information to establish the right relations. They will enable you to promote yourself and your ideas. You start with helping these people get the results they need. They, in turn, will be interested in listening to your ideas.  They will promote you within the organization. You have sown goodwill – you will harvest credit.

Did you like this article? Read the other two in the series:

Promote yourself at work: Relationships are Key

Promote yourself and your ideas at work: 3 R’s for Success

The Good Career & Life coaching for professionals:

Interested in promoting yourself and your ideas? Coaching with us will make it possible to do so in an effective manner that fits with who you are.

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Promoting yourself at work is necessary to achieve your career goals. We coach managers and professionals in achieving goals with soft skills.

Achieve the career goals you really care for

achieve the career goals you really care for

Achieve career goals you really care for: you will be using your potential to the full and reach your personal summit.

Always thought you could do more than you are doing now? You are probably right. One way to make that potential come true is to find what motivates you to step out of your comfort zone, and explore what it takes to reach your personal summit. Is that easy? No, not necessarily. But once you start exploring, you’ll find that if you do find what really inspires you, it can bring you a long way.

Achieve the career goals you really care for

Those who transform the world by showing what is possible focus on a goal they really want, and do what is necessary to achieve it. Look at people like Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first (that we know of) to reach the top of Mount Everest. He climbed that mountain not to be the first, but because he wanted to see if it was possible for him to do so.

The truly great performers are the ones who set a goal, follow their heart, act, learn, and adapt. To them it doesn’t even matter if they reach the top. What really matters to them is that they tried for something they really cared for.

Reinhold Messner, another mountaineer (reputedly the best in the world), said the same about the best climbers. They challenge the impossible in their mind because they want to accomplish a specific goal, a goal that inspires them to do extra-ordinary things. He did so himself, when he was the first (with Peter Habeler) to reach the summit of Everest without supplementary oxygen, something everyone had thought impossible.

Explore your potential

If you always do what you know you can do, or what is considered possible by the industry you work in, by history, in the society you live in, what your friends, family and colleagues believe about you, you will stay within the limitations this imposes on you. Once you set a goal outside those limitations, but within the reach of what you truly desire, you will not only test what is possible, you will explore your potential.

Just ordinary, but sufficiently motivated

Do you need to be an exceptional person to do this? Do you need to be an outstanding professional or a uniquely endowed manager, entrepreneur, salesperson, or artist? Sir Edmund Hillary had the following to say about that:

“You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated. It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

To conquer yourself means meeting the obstacles that come your way, keep your eye on the goal you want to achieve, and find a way through or around them. There surely will be obstacles arising from the circumstances of your life or work, or obstacles in your own nature. Conquering those obstacles will not be guaranteed if you pursue a goal that really motivates you. However, our experience shows that it is a lot easier to find a way to conquer them if your goal is sufficiently inspiring to you.

What inspires you?

One way to answer the question ‘what sufficiently motivates you’ is to set a goal beyond what you think is possible right now, but still truly desired by you. The next step is to start exploring the steps that are necessary to take to reach that goal. Never stop exploring this. Your exploration of your potential will prove your thoughts correct that more is possible for you. You are indeed able to do and be more than you think now. Guaranteed.

It won’t necessarily be easy to find what motivates you sufficiently to go go after it no matter what. You may need a little help in finding what it is for you. But when you do, the experience of many of our clients is that your life and work will be more meaningful, more satisfying and judged to be more successful by you.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

The Good Career and Life coaching for professionals: If you want to explore how to achieve the career goals you really care for, a coaching session with us can help you on your way. You will gain:

  • (renewed) clarity about what is important to you,
  • what inspires you and
  • what would be the first doable step you can take to achieve the career goals you really care for.

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Photo credits: This photo is showing the summit of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. copyright Fotosearch 20516453.

Achieving goals is much easier when you’re prepared

Achieving goals begins with preparation. Based on best practices, this article is a short reminder of how to prepare for achieving your life and career goals.

PreparationAchieving goals begins with preparation. It is comparable to going on a journey. You need to know your destination and prepare the journey before setting out. It’s not at all difficult. But it’s surprising how often we forget to take these preparations where it concerns our life and career goals. Prepare yourself by taking the steps we introduce below – the time will be well spent.

1) You set the goal.

Setting the goal is a process with verifiable things to do before you actually take action to achieve it.

A goal is a destination.

Achieving goals starts with defining the end. ‘The goal’ used to be a pole where a race ended. You couldn’t go any further. You had arrived. A goal is the place where the movement ends and the journey finds completion.

A goal is not a means.

To set a goal you have to make sure that it can serve the function of a pole at the end of a race. Is it really the end of the race? Or is your ‘goal’ really a means to another end? You can recognize a goal by wanting it for its own sake. It doesn’t serve to bring you somewhere else.

A goal is what you want to achieve for its own sake.

Inspired entrepreneurs are examples of people who are usually good at setting goals for their own sake. Of course they are in their business to make that business successful and make money. But for many, there is something more. They do what they do because they want to. They believe in their product or service. So much so, that even when their business is successful and they have more money than they can spend, they still keep at it.

Recognize when your goal is really a means.

Setting career goals can be a little tricky. They have a tendency to be the means towards the end, not the end itself. Say you set a goal that involves a certain job title, like manager or partner. Ask yourself: is this a goal that I want to achieve for its own sake? Or is it a means to achieve something else?

There’s nothing wrong when your ‘career goal’ turns out to be a career means. It just helps to get you where you want to be when you know what your real goal is. This will help you in making the important decisions along the way. It will also inform the objectives you have to attain in order to accomplish your goal.

2) Identify your goal

Achieving goals you want to achieve for their own sake becomes a lot easier when you can identify with the goal. ‘To identify’ does not only mean: ‘to know and recognize the identity of something’, but also ‘to associate closely with something’, and ‘to regard it as the same or identical’.

In the case of identifying a career goal this means: does the goal suit your identity? When a goal suits your identity, you will be able to identify yourself with what the goal represents once it is achieved. You will recognize it as representative of who you are.

You are the one that should answer the question ‘Does it suit me?’ Of course you can and maybe even should ask advice of others. They will probably give you valuable ideas and insights about your possibilities. But you should make the final decision.

3) Prepare the first step

Achieving goals is done one step at the time. Once you have set your goal and identified it as suitable to your identity, you formulate objectives that you can take action on. An objective is something concrete that can be achieved and brings you closer to the goal. The objective must be in line with the goal you set and with your identity.

Set an objective that is doable. Make sure you formulate the objective in such a clear and concrete way you are able to evaluate whether or not you have achieved it. This means that you formulate identifiable concrete criteria that have to be met.

You must at least be able to take the next step. This is what ‘doable’ means. Don’t yet worry about the step after that, but do try to formulate them when you have an idea.

(Here’s a preview of the rest of the journey: When you have achieved this first step: formulate the next objective and the next doable step. When you failed to achieve the first step: evaluate why not. Adapt, take a next step, evaluate. Follow this process until you have accomplished your goal.)

Show and tell

Frame your goal into a sentence of seven to twelve words. What is the goal? Why do you want it and how does it suit you? Once you are satisfied with the language, find someone to say it to. Then tell them about the first doable objective you have chosen to act on. Observe how you feel. It should feel like a game where you cannot lose, because you have formulated a goal you want to achieve.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

(P.S. You can find a checklist at the end.)

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Checklist:

• I have set the goal

• It is an end-goal, not a means

• I can identify with this goal

• I have formulated doable objectives

• The objectives are in line with my goal

• I have formulated identifiable concrete criteria

• I know what to evaluate

• A doable next step has been formulated

• Goal, objectives, action, and criteria suit me

Photo credits:
(c) Can Stock Photo /fmcginn

Achieving your career goals: How do you do it?

the challenge of the process

There is one career challenge that, if you take it on, makes the difference between a slow and a fast progression towards achieving your career goals.

One of the most unexpected and underestimated challenges to achieving your career goals usually has very little to do with your level of professionalism. Instead, it has everything to do with how you handle the process with people.

You will be amazed how easily and readily you achieve results when you take care of the interaction process.

How do you achieve your career goals?

It’s not only your professionalism that you’re judged on. That you are a professional and capable of performing professionally, or at least showing the potential of being able to do so, is more or less a given. This is just the content.

What is never taken for granted is how you perform as a professional, in your relations with your clients, and with your colleagues and bosses. This is the process. It’s what people talk about when they say you need soft skills to achieve your goals.  (By the way, we offer coaching in achieving goals with soft skills.)

  • Content is about what you do.
  • Process is about how you do it.

‘How you do it’ has to do with the social interaction you have with clients, colleagues and bosses, and how they perceive this interaction. Seen from this perspective, essentially it comes down to this question: Do people (clients and colleagues) like to work with you?

How not to do it

Process (how you relate to people) is just as important as content in achieving your career goals. Paradoxically, many organizational cultures are not very accustomed to addressing this issue directly.

Most careers start with the task to achieve content-focused results. Experience grows from the kind of interaction this engenders. These interactions tend to focus almost exclusively on content – on what you do. This leaves the interaction – how you do it – under-exposed.

If process is a topic at all, most of the time the participants in the discussion try to avoid the distractions the difficulties or frustrations of interaction cause.

As a result, issues concerning the interaction often are expressed in words, habits, and manners common to the culture of focusing on content. This means process-related concerns are usually shared with you in one of the following manners:

  • Related to content (but really concerning the interaction with you)
  • Unsuitable content words concerning the interaction with you. They should say something about the quality of the interaction, but usually don’t.

Most professionals (including those leading others) have very little experience in seeing content and process as inextricably linked in achieving results. The chance is great therefore you never learned how you achieve your goals by taking care consciously of the process between yourself and other people.

How to use the process to achieve your career goals

Before you read on, answer this question. Would you like to be recognized for what you want and need professionally and personally, and get it?

If the answer was yes, know that most other people answer that question the same way. When you give this recognition and appreciation to others, you are using the process in a way that is advantageous to everybody.

Using the process to your advantage is possible when you learn to address the process consciously as a factor in your dealings with other people. This is done by acquiring some experience with two simple angles to pay attention to in your interaction with others.

These two things are:

  • Recognition.

This means you are able to recognize that people are different, and recognize their particular needs in social interaction. These needs may be the same as the ones you appreciate or they may be radically different. Take for instance people who need precision and focus on detail, vs. those who work with approximations and the bold move. Or those who believe in explicit and factual representation, vs. those who like a more implicit style.[1]

  • Appreciation.

This means that you actively show in your words and manner that you have recognized the needs and preferences of the other. You show you are able to make your own needs and preferences part of the interaction in a socially suitable way .

When you are able to recognize people and show this in your interaction by appreciation, you are able to interact with a broad range of people on a deep level. This increases the quantity of possible relations.  It also augments the quality of potential relations.

This is where the professional interaction gets a bit more personal. It offers you more free space to find common ground, explain what is meant, build and maintain trust, and get to know each other.

You achieve your career goals faster if you consciously use the process side next to your focus on content. Maybe more importantly, probably in a more agreeable manner as well.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

The Good Career and Life coaching for professionals. If you want to know more about your style of interaction and preferences, and understand more about those of others, our coaching helps. We offer coaching in achieving goals with soft skills.

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[1] There are many more preferences in style that color interactions between people. We developed a method that addresses this among other things. It gives you insight in your own preferences, and some understanding of the preferences of others.

Photo credits:
(c) Can Stock Photo /xilius.

Do your career goals have what it takes?

do your career goals have what it needs?The best way to achieve career goals is to interpret your career as a means to an end. The provision here is that you know what the end is, meaning: what purpose does it serve. Why do you do what you do? What should it lead to? What are the needs your career should fulfill?

Your career goal should, in this perspective, also serve your life goal. Your career goal should be part of fulfilling your needs in life. This means that to achieve career goals you have to determine what your life is about and how your career serves this purpose. What do you need in your life? How does your career support those needs?

Do your career goals have what you need?

Let’s look at your needs here. The needs in your life range from the basics of survival to the peak of personal development. Abraham Maslow designed a hierarchy of human needs that is still practical and widely used. [1] It is of course just a model, but useful to get some insight into the different needs you have in life.

The hierarchy starts with the real basics: what you need to survive as a body. It ends with what you need as a human being in terms of non-material personal development.

This is what the pyramid of needs looks like (from bottom to top):

  • Basics like income and preconditions for health
  • Security like a roof over your head, insurance
  • Belonging and community
  • Appreciation and learning
  • Life purpose participation and realization.

If your Career would only serve your highest needs, it wouldn’t serve its purpose. After all, you do need to stay alive in order to serve your life’s purpose. But, when your basic needs are covered, it is natural to want to climb the pyramid, and strive towards a meaningful life.

Let’s assume that your basic needs are covered. (By the way, do you know what they are? Do you have a realistic picture of what you really need financially each month?) Next, you should be aware of what your other ‘needs’ are. Are you? And do you know how you want to fulfill them?

Feeling comfortable?

Without exhaustively and precisely knowing what our needs are, most of us have a pretty good general idea of what they are, or might be. There is also a good way to simply feel if your needs are met, or not. Since we are talking about career goals, the best approach would be to start there.

How do you know if your career goals answer your needs?

If a career fits your needs, you’ll feel comfortable and at ease with yourself. If not, the career either isn’t suitable to fulfill your needs, or you mixed up the timing of your need(s) and the reality of their present fulfillment.

Use your discomfort

Use your feeling of discomfort to find out why and where your needs are not met. For this, you’d need to reassess what (life) needs your career is supposed to fulfill, and detect where the gap occurs. When you’ve found the gap, you’ll know where you have work to do.

Sometimes you need a major rethink about your career goals. More often, it’s a matter of knowing what you really want, and putting your priorities straight. What you need here is to take the time for reflection, think things through, inform yourself about your options, and set your career goals accordingly.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi De Graaf

The Good Career and Life coaching for professionals: A coaching session can assist you in assessing your needs and whether your career goals have what it takes to fulfill them.

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[1] You can find a diagram of Maslow’s pyramid (and some more information about his ideas) on http://www.businessballs.com/maslow.htm. Businessballs is a free learning and development resource for people and organizations, run by Alan Chapman, in Leicester, U.K.

Photo credits:  © Can Stock Photo Inc. / poselenov

Do your results lead towards your goal?

results are steps towards your goal

The difference between a change and a result

Once your goal is set, specific results are necessary to accomplish it. The achievement of the result should have brought you closer to the goal. If this is not the case, the outcome is not a result, but merely a change. This difference is a crucial. In many cases where people assume they fail, a mere change was produced instead of a true result.

To make sure that the results you achieve will indeed lead you to accomplish the goal, it is crucial that you know the difference between a true result, and a result that looks like one, but in reality is merely a change. In short, the difference is this:

  • A result resembles your goal, and leads you towards its accomplishment.
  • A change is an effect of your actions that does not (or not sufficiently) resemble your goal. It does not (or not sufficiently) lead you towards your goal.

Results are steps towards your goal

What did you do?

Results and changes should be interpreted as outcomes of particular actions. The outcome came into existence because of an action you took. Evaluation of your action will show you if you caused a result, or a change.

Once you take action an outcome is guaranteed. You caused a difference. Evaluation serves to find out precisely what caused the difference. You find the main aspects of this cause in the action you took, in your thinking, and in your perception. What you need to find out is how you perceived your own capabilities toward the situation, and also its possibilities and constraints.

How to recognize results

A result is a specific outcome aimed at the goal you set out to achieve. It contains some of the features of the goal. Results are specifically planned to achieve a precise progress towards the goal. You can evaluate them along these lines. It is a result when it leads you towards your goal, and also shares the features of the goal.

When you have achieved a result, it will allow you to build on it. It will help you achieve a next result.  This will take you even further in the direction of the goal.

How to recognize a change

A change is an outcome of an action that was aimed at the goal, but deviated from it. The action you took was planned to lead you to the goal. Evaluation will show you it did not do so. The outcome does not share features with your goal.

If it was a change you caused, correction of your next actions will allow you to achieve a true result.

How to progress towards your goal

Building from a result towards the next result, or correcting a change to achieve a result next time works like this:

  • If it is a change, you evaluate what went wrong in the execution. This you correct and you re-enact the now improved action.
  • When it is a result, you evaluate what went right in the execution. You continue with what went right. Moreover, you add to the action that which will bring you further in the direction of your goal.

In our experience it helps to practice the accomplishing of a goal as if it is a journey. Results are the steps towards the destination.

Sometimes they are steps in the wrong direction. When you take the time to evaluate and see if you achieved results, or caused a change, you’ll find your steps tend to go more and more in the right direction. If wrong, you improve, if right, you continue. Take small steps – you’ll learn soon enough to stride with confidence towards your goal.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

The Good Career and Life coaching for professionals: Are you achieving results that bring you closer to your (career) goal? Find out how to achieve the results you need by giving us a call. One coaching session can make the difference.

Achieving goals is one of the soft skills we offer coaching in.

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What a goal can do for you

what a goal can do for you

Goals provide a sense of direction

Usually, people talk about what you have to do in order to achieve a goal. This time we’ll look at what a goal can do for you. When you look properly at what a goal is, you’ll see it can provide you with two very important things:

  • A sure sense of direction for your actions and decisions.
  • Energy to achieve the results you need.

A goal that is the right one for you is part of your being. It is part of who you are. That’s why it will give you energy. It will guide your actions in all circumstances.

The distinction between a goal and a result

In order to show you what a goal can do for you, it is necessary to define what it is. One way of doing that is by making a clear distinction between goals and results.

In its origin ‘goal’ meant a barrier, something where you could not go beyond. A goal is a desired end you want to reach. Results should bring you there. A goal is about your being; a result is concrete and refers to your doing.

This distinction enables you to interpret the characteristics of the goal you set as something that is always with you. It can give you the energy to act and aim to your actions.

A goal is not a means. It does not bring something about. There is no effectuation, implementation or execution. A goal understood as a desired end that you want to reach gives you purposeful energy and a clear sense of direction. Ideally this is a life goal. It answers in broad terms what your life is about for you. It is what gives you purpose and joy. A life goal makes taking action meaningful.

A result requires means to be brought about. You can plan and evaluate the execution. After evaluation, you can improve your actions. A result needs energy, and you draw that energy from the goal .

A goal is about the process

A goal is abstract and about the process instead of about the specific activity. An inspiring career goal is almost never a concrete occupation. Sometimes it can be related to a specific activity like sculpting, when someone really enjoys working with marble. But working with marble, however enjoyable, is just a means to create what was in the mind of the artist. The goal is to create art. You might mention a profession like physician. There also, the occupation in most cases is the means to satisfy the need of helping people. Helping people is the goal for these people. That is what gives them the energy to achieve their medical results.

Look at your own career goal. What is the reason you are doing what you do? Does it give you energy and a clear sense of direction?

A goal acts as true north

Consider for a few moments the life of someone who can always find true North. In all cases he or she knows what direction to take in order to reach the goal. All things are considered from this sure point.

Of course this doesn’t imply there are no problems, but the answer can be always found by seeing how they relate to the goal. You can always measure  the actions you take to achieve results by evaluating if they lead towards or away from the goal. Gradually, step-by-step, results are achieved to the degree the situation and your own capabilities allow. Always your goal provides you with the means to determine your direction. Your goal will give you the energy to go forward, until you’ve accomplished the desired end.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

The Good Career and Life coaching for professionals: Achieving goals is one of the soft skills we offer coaching in. When you want to know what your goals can do for you, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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