Personal Brands: Stop Setting Goals, Set Requirements

Career DevelopmentPersonal Branding

You have already taught yourself how to fail. You set goals and you fail to reach them. You may even be a serial goal-setter. Maybe you set goals every January. Maybe even more often.  The more times you set them, the more chances to fail.

You might be a goal-mover. You take all the goals you have on your calendar for one day, and just move them over to the next day. Maybe you do this daily. Maybe you’ve just learned to let goals expire, lingering on your calendar until enough days pass and you can’t see them anymore.

Maybe you’re a goal-sabotager. You know exactly what you’ve resolved to do and you arrange your life so you couldn’t possibly reach those resolutions. You know, your goal is to lose 15 pounds so when you go grocery shopping, you slip in cookies or chips (in case someone drops by). Or worse, you ask for a letter of recommendation and then never follow-up (after all, you wouldn’t want to bother someone!).

Failing to meet what you’ve called your “goals,” doesn’t mean you haven’t been successful. In fact, if you took as much time to take an inventory of your successes and by looking at that – learned what really matters to you, you’d probably be impressed. You probably are a success.

But, why look at what you’re good at and what you’ve found compelling to accomplish, when you can pick away at your weaknesses? Sure, you may have loved StrengthFinders, but who would strive to be more of their authentic self – when you can drive yourself into a depression by being unfair, unrealistic and unkind.

The biggest bullies we meet are ourselves. Hence, my sarcasm about all of our goal-setting antics. I am a recovering goal setter. I set goals for years – done it with professionals, gurus and experts – and I have given it up for success.

I am largely successful because I no longer have goals.

I have requirements instead.

Requirements are like deadlines. They must be met. There’s nothing optional. Requirements aren’t shoulds. Requirements are fundamental to life.

May I respectfully recommend you stop “shoulding” on yourself by setting goals that sound like something you should do? How about sitting with yourself and looking at what you have done.

Make a success list no less than 100 items long.

That means you count adopting a shelter dog, making a great meal for a sick friend, staying up all night getting that report done, looking up a “word of the day” to post on Facebook every day, keeping current on wars or being the first in your crowd to wear those ugly eyeglasses that are so popular.

When you look at your life to see the road you have chosen, you have the best vision to plan the road ahead. You have done plenty of new things that have enlarged your vision up until now, so make sure you fill in a requirement for how much new you need. In fact, fill out a list of no less than 100 requirements for yourself.

Let your first requirement be honoring the success you are.