Blog Cover Image 1

What's your real goal setting mindset?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 6/30/15 8:00 AM

Goal setting has been a hot topic lately with coaching clients- both new and existing. For new clients, they are trying to figure out what it is that they really want. What is it that is so personally compelling to them that they will do whatever it takes to make it happen?

For existing clients, it's figuring out what's next. They have reached their first set of goals, and with it face new challenges (like having to hire their first, or more new employees). 

I am a pretty firm believer in goal setting, but real goal setting meets these 5 criteria:

  1. Personally compelling
  2. Written down
  3. Has an action plan with deadlines
  4. Is shared with others (some who are vested and not-vested in your goal)
  5. Progress is reported to others (that you have shared it with)

And it's not easy, not at all. Don't let the simplicity of it fool you. Goal setting like this goes deep and personal. But it is absolutely crucial. 


In nearly every sales evaluation that we do with a new client, the results show that even if they have goals, they aren't written down, or they aren't compelling enough. It leads back to their motivation and incentive to change which are key factors in the likelihood of success.  

So let's start with the first one, the mindset. Is it personally compelling? Here is how I describe what personally compelling means.

We recently watched the movie “The Gambler” and there is this classic scene with John Goodman and Mark Wahlberg where Mark, the gambler, goes to John, the loan shark, for 260,000 dollars so that he can pay off the other loan sharks he owes. After Goodman asks Wahlberg why he didn’t leave the table when he was up 2.5 million, he tells him about the theory of “F-you.”

(Warning, there's a bit of profanity here...)

“You get up two and a half million dollars, any asshole in the world knows what to do. You get a house with a 25-year roof, an indestructible Jap economy shitbox, you put the rest into the system at 3%-to-5% to pay your taxes, and that's your base, get me? That's your Fortress of Fucking Solitude. That puts you for the rest of your life at a level of "fuck you." Somebody wants you to do something? Fuck you. Boss pisses you off? Fuck you… A wise man’s life is based around fuck you.”

What does your daily life look like in order for you to be able to say "Fuck you" to anyone? Where are you trying to get to? Or what do you want to do, but aren't there yet? What does your life look like in 6 months, a year? How is it different?

Does that seem selfish to you? Maybe you are motivated by the impact you have on others, so that they can have their "fuck you" position. Whether it is your kids, your spouse, your employees- you might be more motivated by what they want more than what you want. How does your goal make their life different?

Here are a couple more articles to help you with your goals setting- both what to do and what not to do:

You might also want to check out the goal setting resources that we use with clients.

Topics: goal setting