Goal Setting: Focus on the Process not the Product
One of the challenges I’ve always had with setting goals is the fact they can seem to be a bit presumptuous. By that I mean, a goal presumes on a future outcome I desire that involves factors that may be beyond my ability to control. For example, if I have a goal to make “X” amount of income in my business this year, who knows for sure whether I will actually be able to make that happen. In my line of work, I’m dependent upon a certain number of people with the right financial profile saying “yes” to working with me, and that outcome comes down to others’ independent decision making. Something I ultimately have no control over. Of course, I can do things that give me the greatest probability of success (like increasing the number of people I talk to in the niche I work with, providing top notch service, etc.), but still, in the final analysis, I’m dependent on factors outside my control going my way.
This has led me to conclude that while goal setting is a great tool to get me headed in the right direction, I must not cling too tightly to the outcome I'm seeking. Otherwise, if I believe I can force the outcome I want, I may be tempted to manipulate people or do things I know I shouldn’t to get my way. Haven’t we all been tempted to use that miracle supplement to lose weight, or met that salesman who would do or say anything to make the sale? In this sense, when it comes to my personal goal setting, the ends do not justify the means. This means that I should be much more concerned about the process (i.e. the how of reaching my goals) rather than the product (i.e. the what I’m seeking to achieve). Said another way, my focus must be on the sowing rather than the reaping. After all, the farmer can control how, when, and where he sows his seed, but who knows if a hailstorm will wipe out his crop between now and the harvest?
In the end, all we can do is focus our attention on the things we can control (the process) and have a humble attitude about achieving the outcome (the product) we are hoping for.