Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Energizing Power Of Goals

Energized!Energised - Image by Jaako via FlickrBy Marsha Egan

How much more effective are you at getting projects finalized and your work cleared down in the few days before you're due to go on vacation?

You know that you need to get a report handed in, make a particular phone call, or pass certain tasks to colleagues to advance a project BEFORE you leave; you push yourself and make sure it's all organized, knowing you'll relax all the better on vacation knowing it's dealt with.

Can you imagine what the working world would be like if we were like that all the time? We'd be unstoppable!

Now, for most of us, if we're honest with ourselves, we know that we're not. Therefore, we need to understand what it was that was different in the run-up to the vacation. You had tasks which had to be done, both for work and on a personal level.

You'd made your list, and you had the all-important deadline. That deadline was absolute - sadly, planes do not wait because one of the passengers is still in the office! Your goal in this case isn't the tasks on your list, it's the perfect relaxing vacation you've been planning and saving for!

The same kind of energy exists outside of your working life - when you're planning a party or maybe arranging a wedding anniversary surprise. Not only do you have a clear goal, such as the look on your partner's face or a great party where everyone has a good time, but you also have an absolute deadline which you set when you send the invitations out!

Without these absolute deadlines, we don't reach, we just 'do'. We have our routines and we stick rigidly to them - they control us, rather than the other way around! A fun, exciting way to reverse this and take charge of your own routine is to create some new goals; ones that you know you'll love achieving.

What do you really want to do before you're 40? Before you're 50? By Christmas? What have you always fancied doing, but never gotten around to? Whether it's learning to make the perfect soufflé, sky-diving or learning to belly-dance, we all have goals at the back of our minds.

In order for goals to be as energizing as that pre-vacation clear-up, they have to be clear in your own mind. I like to challenge my coaching clients to think of a goal as a destination. If you don't have a map and don't know where you're going, how do you know when you've arrived?

An example challenge is to decide where you're going - a weekend in Vermont or Vegas? Once you've decided where you're going, then it's time to plan the details. What's your budget, and how will you stick to it? Are you taking the train, flying or driving? When are you going and who is coming with you?

The difference between the vast majority of people and those who are truly successful can be as simple as having selected the destination. In addition, they not only know where they're going, but they've set the date. If you don't put that 'line in the sand' and buy the tickets, you may never get there.

Deadlines give your goals the energy you need to get them done, and they bring them to life. The energy pulls you towards your goal, gets you excited about reaching it and allows you to enjoy the journey you take to get there. It becomes a positive force in your life.

There's an ancient Chinese proverb, which states that a journey of 100 miles begins, and ends, with a single step. Journeys without a clear destination are no fun - if you're constantly looking for where you think you ought to be going, you don't get the chance to enjoy the view!

So, plan your destination, and give yourself a new goal. Then give it a deadline, and feel the positive pre-vacation energy carry you there!

Marsha Egan, CPCU, PCC is CEO of The Egan Group, Inc., a Reading, PA based professional coaching firm. She is a certified workplace productivity coach and professional speaker, specializing in leadership development and can be reached at marsha@marshaegan.com or visit http://www.InboxDetox.com.

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