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There is more than one way to skin a cat

You have dreams inside you. Big things that you want to accomplish. Yet, you have never started many of them. Your dreams remain thoughts in your head. You have convinced yourself that they are impossible. Or you don’t know where to start. Or you don’t have time.

inspiration with Cynthia C Hakutangwi

What’s stopping you from pursuing your dreams? Have you taken time to translate those dreams into goals? Have you been open to different ways and pragmatic in your approach to goal achievement? Those people who believe there is only one way to achieve goals will operate in a “straitjacket’ way, resulting in them missing opportunities that will arise through the journey.

Embrace flexibility to create positive change

Goal achievement is not meant to be a fixed rigorous process. I observe so many people at a personal, team and organisational level who set goals and then believe that reality of progress must suit the goal. It’s the other way around. Your goal and movement towards those goals must reflect reality. Living without flexibility in the way we act and see the world leaves us at a severe disadvantage. I always wanted to be one of those people with incredible drive. The kind of person who doesn’t take no for an answer. As I became more and more like my ideal, I learned that trying to control everything just doesn’t pan out in the long run. Real power comes from flexibility, not rigidity. No matter who you are, you’ll have a lot of things happen to you. Some will be good, and some will be bad. Goals are good, but trying to constantly force your will is not only exhausting, but excruciatingly futile.

How to help your team achieve their goals

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric 1981-2001, remarked that “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” One of the most motivating and transformational conversations a manager can have with a team member is about that person’s goals. Not company KPIs, not the next core project and their responsibilities, their goals. When you tap into someone’s core drive and interests, you unleash their greatest motivations on the job. They’ll even do much of the work on their own time.
Regardless of age, people have goals that if you tap into, they will be more motivated for all their work and will improve your relationship with you as their manager. The first step in helping people achieve their goals is to understand what their goals are. For many, they’ve never been asked this question so they may not have a great answer ready. They may also be afraid to share their goals if it doesn’t align perfectly with their current job with you. Talking about their goals is great, but if all you’re doing is talking, it won’t have the lasting, motivating impact on your team. Too often, I’ve heard from managers and employees alike that goals are often a check box on an annual review that gets filled out and then never discussed until the next review. Not surprisingly, the second time this question is asked in a review, the goal is not exactly something they’re excited to discuss. Often, this story plays out that the employee gives up on the company helping them reach their goals and eventually leaves to go somewhere else that provides the opportunities that align with their goals and growth. The Progress Principle says that “Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.”

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Even if you’re really good at something, it doesn’t bode well if you can’t adapt to the world around you. Step out of your productivity bubble for some quality reflection now and then. When you’re wrapped up in something important, it can be really hard to be objective. It could be that while you’re making excellent progress, you were too rigid in the beginning and now you’re off-track. Or perhaps you need to adapt your project to the changing marketplace rather than insisting on using outdated paradigms. Embrace change rather than fighting it, and you’ll be surprised with the results.

Stay committed to your decisions, but remain flexible in your approach

Dreams don’t happen in one big effort. The truth is that they are accomplished in many small steps that add up to success. Dreams that are too rigid are often broken by daily life. Your goals need to be adaptable to your life and happenings. So as you prepare for 2017, remember to use the SMARTER goal setting process. Develop ways to keep those goals in focus. Develop ways to monitor progress towards those goals, and take corrective action by adjusting your direction, flow and strength to achieve those goals. When you do take corrective action, it doesn’t mean you have failed in achieving your goal, or your goal is irrelevant – it means you have been courageous enough to stop, reflect and act in a more relevant and meaningful manner. You might even be surprised that your original dream wasn’t big enough when you learn what’s possible. When you’re stuck in a state of ambivalence, do whatever it takes to break the impasse. Do something radically different than what you’ve been doing.

Cynthia C Hakutangwi is a communications and personal development consultant, life coach, author and strategist. She is the managing consultant of Wholeness Incorporated. Her most recent published book is titled The Wealthy Diary of African Wisdom, previously published titles include Destination Wholeness – Going Beyond Brokenness, The Whole You – Vital Keys for Balanced Living and Intelligent Conversations: A Mindset Shift Towards a Developed Africa. She is co-author of Success Within Reach. E-mail: cynthia@wholenessinc.com. Facebook: Wholeness Incorporated. Website: www.wholenessinc.com

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