Do you know why goals fail? I have listened carefully to dozens of people tell me why they have not been successful. I have failed more often than I’ve succeeded myself but I’m fortunate to have some victories too.
Setting effective goals is only the start of your journey. This article is going to address why goals fail, even if you have already set your SMARTEST goals.
I used to be a police officer, which is a job where I learned to expect the unexpected. Imagine being sent to arrest someone at their house. Would they stay? Was it likely they were going to run? Were they ready for a fight? Or indeed was I ready if they attacked me?
In each case, our training had prepared us for a range of scenarios. We had repeated drills, as part of our training, in case we would find ourselves confronted with a life threatening situation. We had standard procedures for those who were cooperative too but that was rarely the case. In this role, I learned more than in any other about why goals fail.
Soon I learned business was no different. Perhaps not as dangerous or life threatening as my previous role as a police officer. My point is, there are so many moving parts inside and outside a business. Competitors, governments, regulators, economies and industries are always changing. They are mostly fluid and unpredictable.
In business, as in life, things will change. Things might go wrong or not according to plan.
Why do goals fail? Most goals fail because the person or organisation pursuing them wasn’t prepared for what was coming. I know that seems like an obvious point but I still see people set goals as if nothing could go wrong.
Most people set goals with a positive mind set. Don’t get me wrong. Positivity helps. But if you truly believe nothing can possibly go wrong, how can you be ready for it when it does?
In blunt terms, what are you going to do when the shit hits the fan? If your goal is big enough, you are going to be challenged. If you try hard enough, you might even fail. Failure is a learning experience, not an end point.
Next time you’re setting some goals, write down all of the things that could possibly go wrong. Choose the problems that are most likely and write down how you might avoid them. Write down your worst case scenario for each and how you might minimise the damage.
Bruce Lee said it best when he said, “Don’t pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
Anything worth doing in life will be hard. In my experience that’s the way life is. My question is, what will you do when things get tough? Don’t give up.
Prepare yourself because lack of preparation is why goals fail. Nothing great ever comes easy. Great things come when you overcome adversity.