When It Comes to Goals, Be a Jackass

Career Blog

I have a habit of embracing June with the same optimism as January. After all, mid-year is an ideal time to celebrate our accomplishments, analyze our setbacks, and reevaluate the big-ticket BEST goals we set at the start of the year. These activities, especially the last two, propel one to future success.

Let’s face it. Despite best intentions, New Year goals often remain unaccomplished, and resolutions, if remembered, are safely rationalized and put into obscurity. We’ve all been there – started something with an overwhelming sense of enthusiasm only to lose steam and fail to finish. It’s a lousy feeling that, if left unchecked, can incessantly chip away at your confidence. Luckily, the following tips can help you get back on track and set yourself up for a great second act:

Ensure It’s YOUR Goal

Often, people fail before they begin because they never owned the goal in the first place. Sure, you can lose weight for your spouse, win the title for your dearly departed dad, or build a business so your kids can have the best of everything. These are powerful motivators, but they will fail unless YOU – your head and heart – own the actions. The world is replete with noble causes and notable people, but YOU have to decide which is worth your time and how you will support them.

Ditch the Shoulds

Due to their formulaic nature, SMART goals tend to multiply and transform into little more than tick-box action items. Once you’ve decided to truly own a goal, you have to make it big. By big, I mean B.E.S.T. – a Bold, Enriching, Supported Target. If you want to make an impact on your life or the lives of others, you must let go of the white noise and focus on the one or two most important items. 

Be a Jackass

There is an excellent line in the movie Serendipity where Jeremy Piven’s character praises John Cusak’s character for unabashedly going after love. If you really want something, you must be willing to risk spectacular failure – I’m talking about an old school, Wide World of Sports ski jump accident, style failure. But here’s the thing: even Vinko Bogataj, the original “agony of defeat” example, survived the fall and lived to see another day – happily, I might add. You have to embrace (potential) embarrassment as a consequence of possible success. It is better to soar for a moment than to never reach for the sky.

Take this time to recommit to your BEST goal or, if priorities have changed, select a new one and then commit with all your energy.  There’s a word for the “jackass” who achieves the goal.  It’s winner.

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