Carol Kinsey GomanWorking with clients as a therapist in private practice and now as an executive coach, I’ve learned some valuable but unorthodox lessons about goal setting:

  • Don’t focus on building up your areas of weakness. Talents overlooked may atrophy, and weaknesses – regardless of how much effort is put into trying to improve them – will never match your natural abilities. Of course, learning is a lifelong process (especially as we pivot to be successful in changing work environments), but focusing on your weaknesses can be self-defeating. Instead, focus on your strengths and place yourself in positions where those strengths can make you even more successful.
  • Learn to embrace failure. Appreciate that growth and development come as much from failure as it does from success. Understanding what doesn’t work may be at least as important as understanding what does, especially when these failures are acknowledged early on and are swiftly examined for the lessons they contain.

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  • Find your tribe. I don’t care how smart or talented you are, no one can reach their goals alone. What really distinguishes high achievers from the rest of the pack is their ability to build relationships and maintain and leverage large, diversified networks rich in experience and mutually supportive.
  • Don’t set goals. Create action plans. Anybody can write a wish list. The secret of achieving your goals lies in forming the habit of doing those things required to succeed. I have no complaint with those who write down their goals and visualize the achievement of their ambitions. (In fact, I do so myself.) But please don’t stop there. Jumping into action is what will turn dreams into reality.
  • Go for it! The biggest obstacle to reaching 2022 goals may be that you lack the courage or confidence to leave your comfort zones and embrace new experiences. Helen Keller once said, “Security is mostly a superstition. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

I hope you reach your goals, but even more, I hope you stay open to the unpredictable and exciting opportunities life has in store for you. If your year is filled with daring adventure, you will have succeeded – perhaps more than you can now even imagine.

Carol Kinsey Goman, PhD, is an executive coach, consultant, and international keynote speaker at corporate, government, and association events. She is also the author of STAND OUT: How to Build Your Leadership Presence. For interview requests, click here.


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