The previous post finished with the idea that athletic or sports goals are easier to achieve than business or life goals, particularly for entrepreneurs, Network and Internet Marketers. Using the widely accepted S.M.A.R.T. system of goal setting, let’s explore the differences between physical goals and the more spiritual or creative goals which we need to achieve to improve our lives. Here is a list of factors that may shed some light on the differences between these goals.
- Simplicity of physical goals
- Less distractions
- No or less financial penalty for failure (for amateur sports)
- More intense desire
- Focusing on simple steps or actions
- Better support network of peers
- Easy to monitor progress
- Quicker feedback
- Easy to set mini goals or milestones
- Improvement more incremental and regular
- Milestones reinforce belief
- Rest of comfort zone or lifestyle is not threatened by goal
- Easier to contain and deal with physical pain
- Stress is closely related to pursuit of goal and lessened by the activity
That is quite a list, how do they apply to the different types of goals and what lessons can we learn from comparing them? We will explore the first three of them in this post.
1) Simplicity of goal
Most sports or athletic goals can be adequately described in a few words. Most will have measurement criteria that can be easily stated and involve: distance, time, speed, height, weight, frequency, score or a combination of these.
We often find that business goals are not as easily stated. Take the example of a Network Marketer with a goal of reaching a certain level distributor within a specified time. The specific accomplishments to reach that goal might be anything but simple. It could require a combination of distributors, customers and sales volume. In this case there are 3 variables compared to say, a goal of running x miles or kilometres in y minutes by a specified date.
The first lesson we can take from our sports comparison then, is to break our business goals into their smallest discrete components. Nothing wrong with having a goal like in the example above as a mid to longer term goal but focus on smaller interim or mini goals like – x customers by a specified date. Then move on to the next one.
Some people get better results by focusing on action not the goals themselves, if it works for you, great but the trap here is that it can be falsely comforting to keep repeating actions without those actions moving you closer to your goal.
Take a Network Marketing example of a new person in the organisation who has set a goal of talking to 5 new people a day. That action will only get results if there is an attempt to recruit, or sell to, those of the 5 that qualify as prospects or potential customers. Talking to 5 or even 100 people about the weather, politics or last night’s game will not achieve any goals. The bottom line is simple, clearly stated unambiguous goals, with a series of milestones or mini goals if that helps clarity and focus.
2) Less Distractions
Most of the effort and action for a sports goal takes place outside our normal working or home environment. Either in the company of others pursuing similar goals or in isolation on the road, track, course, field, in the water or in the gym. It is easy to turn off and tune out all the distractions of modern life, phones, email, staff, colleagues, customers, family.
With less distractions, it is easier to focus on the exact steps needed to achieve our goal. The lesson here then is that we need to organise our time and working environment to provide periods when we can focus 100% on taking action to achieving our goals without distraction.
3) No or less Financial Penalty for Failure
Leaving out professional athletes or sports men and women, for whom sports goals are often the same as business goals, here is a factor that many people do not realise could be holding them back.
This difference gets very little attention in most goal setting literature, but I believe for many people it is a real handicap. For someone who does something else for a living, the monetary cost of getting the equipment, travelling and everything else involved in training for and then attempting to achieve a sports goal may or may not be significant. Whether it is a few dollars or a few thousand, the total cost will be much the same whether the goal is achieved or not.The cost will have been budgeted for and payment or credit arranged.
Achieving or missing the goal will not usually change that cost much.The main income source will still be intact – except possibly as a result of injury. Contrast this with a business goal where the financial survival of an individual, a family or even a group of employees could depend on the goal being achieved.
Concern at the financial implications of failing can prevent us from setting challenging business goals and make our approach to achieving these goals too cautious. Uncertainty does not encourage 100 % commitment.
More comparisons in the next post.
Do you need a framework to help you set goals? Here’s a system that is designed to help you set goals, monitor your progress and create a vision board. Goals on Track.
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.
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