We are entering a new phase – a new phase in a new world. A world that this time a year ago would have been unimaginable. After months of lockdown stasis, businesses are re-opening, leisure activities are a possibility again and there is a glimmer of hope in the air. More and more people are also beginning to plan – whether it is for their holidays, their business or their personal life.
For some, working in a reactive and flexible way during this time has been a fascinating pivoting challenge. However, for many, the reality of being one of the 9.3 million on furlough has meant that they are in no man’s land. Being paid to not work but aware that they could be called back at a day or two’s notice, or for some, having the threat of redundancy looming. In June, the Samaritans reported that a third of their 7000 daily calls were about Covid-19 related issues. For many, planning or even considering what tomorrow will bring has been an unbelievable challenge.
Arguably, though, never before has goal-setting been more important: knowing where your internal compass is heading, what you are focussing on and what your priorities are irrespective of external factors.
Yes, goal-setting in an uncertain world is not without practical challenges, but not doing so leads to even greater difficulties which I have seen amongst many of my clients. Namely, the feeling of being frustrated, uncertain and exposed.
How do I do it then?
There are many ways to set goals and many ways to plan. However, in a deeply uncertain economic climate, flexibility is key, as is working in bitesize chunks. All too often goals and plans fail due to people being rigid in their vision and taking on too much at once.
We are going to go through a series of steps, not just looking at the goals you would wish to set, but also at your wider situation. So, get a cuppa and let’s get cracking.
1) Firstly, where is your focus currently?
Think about how much time in a typical day you dedicate to work; to study; caring or other responsibilities; exercise and (dare I say it…) fun! Considering this allows you to understand how much time you have to dedicate to a particular goal. Look at where, realistically you might have capacity to set renewed focus. Be kind to yourself and consider this exercise with compassion.
2) What do you really want?
In this exercise: ‘what if, without difficulty’ = x; ‘what’s stopping you’ = y
Let’s pretend that if you could (x) & be guaranteed that (y) wouldn’t get in your way, what would you do?
Now, we’re moving onto….
3) In 30 seconds write down 10 strengths
Go on, you can do it. Set your timer & go!
How was that?
4) Next, we’re going to look at any areas you think are a bit weaker…
So, in 15 seconds write down 5 weaknesses
5) Shake that off & we’re going to look at things from a more positive perspective
What are you really good at? What are your stellar strengths? Not just your strengths, but the starry, sparkly ones. Choose between 1-3. The things that you do effortlessly, with your eyes closed and are particularly good at. Most importantly, not the ones that people think are your ‘thing’ but the one(s) that really make you very happy and that you would like to be known for.
Ideally, aim to spend 80% of your work time on your stellar strengths. These are what you want to become known for.
6) And saving the best bit until last
Keeping in mind all the above that we have worked through, namely: what time you realistically have to dedicate to the goal(s); your strengths, your weaknesses and your super strengths, what, if there were no object, you would wish to focus on.
Now, it is goal-setting time.
Start with one. State it in positives e.g. “I will focus on digital marketing for 30 minutes every working day” rather than “I won’t check my email for 15 minutes”.
Next, time stamp it: when will you do this and by when? So, “I will complete my monthly report by July 29th at midday”.
And finally, to gold plate it: consider an accountability partner. Who will hold you to this goal? Having that extra commitment is an extraordinarily effective motivator. You won’t want to let yourself or them down.
Enjoy creating your powerful goal(s) and I look forward to hearing how you have finished 2020 on top!
P.S. and for a gold star, schedule when you will re-visit your goal(s) regularly.
Nicola Pitt – Executive Coach & Trainer delivering inspiring team training I webinars I 1:1 coaching www.nicolapitt.co.uk