A life and leadership organization
Why We Don't Achieve Our Goals

Why We Don't Achieve Our Goals

Part 1 of 5

It's been my life's work helping people - athletes, entrepreneurs, and organizational leaders - discover their purpose and achieve their goals. That's how God made me. I love to learn, organize, strategize, execute, teach, and win. I call all of this, coaching. I love coaching people who have a zest for life. Even so, achieving our dreams and goals is not as easy as advertised.

Over the decades, I have observed five key performance areas that most determine a person, team, or organization’s ability to achieve. Here, I share the first of five:

A Definitive Chief Aim. Call it vision, purpose, mission, or goal. For now, I don't care what you call it. But what I do care about is if it's real. Is it real? If your chief aim is not real, it's not going to happen.

To be real it must be divine. By divine, you must have a clear mental picture of what it looks like. The ability to see something in your mind’s eye that is not visible to others. And if you do not have a sincere or desperate desire for it, you’ll lack the faith to overcome obstacles.

It’s just this simple. If a Christian truly believes in heaven, it will supernaturally inform her behavior. Just because one likes the idea of heaven it will not have a transforming effect. There truly is a big difference between a definitive goal and a wish. A wish is not a goal and hope is not a strategy. Consider a child. Over his birthday cake, he makes a wish before blowing out the candles. But it's just a wish.

When I first sit with a potential client, I want to know his chief aim. I don't care if his timeline for achievement is 30 days or several years. What is it? Can you clearly define it? Can you describe it emotionally and concretely? In other words, after listening to you, do I believe you want to accomplish this and can I see in my mind’s eye what you're describing?

We often have competing goals!

Rarely do I walk into a new relationship where one's chief aim is definitive. Most of the time I hear of many goals. Even business schools propagate such things. Here in lies one of our achievement problems. - dis-alignment. We often have competing goals! This is true for your business and your personal life. Both are conflicted. One aspect of a definitive chief aim is singleness. One. One clear vision. If you can identify your bull's eye, you've established clarity and focus. You're now aiming at one target!

A definitive chief aim is not just about focus, it's also about desire. If your desire does not exceed your chief aim, you won't get there. I'm sorry but it's true. It may be a good idea, a dream, a "wouldn't it be nice" kind of feeling, but it's not going to happen if you are not emotionally and deeply connected to it. You'll quit. As soon as hardship, disappointment, and loss occurs, you'll exit and run back to your sense of comfort and safety.

To be a leader is to rally yourself and/or a people toward a goal. That's what leaders do but sometimes it seems people and organizations feel obligated - instead of impassioned- to have a current goal, so they simply choose one. They want to appear as a leader and wear the uniform of an achiever. I know this sounds harsh but not everyone has a chief aim. They have values (often different than the ones hanging on the wall) and when these values are threatened, a chief aim usually arises. Don't go through the motions. It's not worth it. But if you have something brewing down deep inside, identify it and test it to see if it is definitive.

How do you test your emerging and definitive chief aim? Does it get you up in the morning? Do you feel it at your core? Are you rallying others around it? Are you noticing all your activities in one way or another support the accomplishment of this aim? Are you making sacrifices and taking risks toward its achievement? Are you able to overcome rejection from temporary setbacks? Are you able to shrug off scoldings from your friends and family? Are you experiencing the emotions of victories and defeats yet continue toward the summit? These are some of the evidences of true desire that meet or exceed what is necessary to accomplish your goals.

You'll also notice, in time, you'll be able to identify the source of your desire. As your desire continues to fuel you toward the attainment of your definitive chief aim, you'll be able to describe it - it’s your secret power.

Your power is the true reason, the true "why" you started this journey in the first place. As it is revealed, it will either take you to the summit of achievement or it will open up a new and truer path of understanding.

The number one key performance failure I see for those trying to achieve is that they are working toward a goal that is not definitive. It's not real. Something is wrong with it. Perhaps the goal belongs to someone else. Perhaps it's too small. Perhaps it's just a wish. Whatever the reason, the four key performance areas for goal achievement that follow are irrelevant if there is no definitive aim.

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James (Jim) Piper, Jr. is a leader’s coach. His life’s work is to walk alongside leaders committed to performing at the highest levels of strategy, skill, and character. He serves leaders through individual coaching, team alignment sessions, workshops, keynotes, writing, and new podcast #NewYou.

His strengths are built upon a foundation of faith and a life of unique leadership experiences, strategic giftedness, and people systems insight. He has been happily married to his wife Rhonda since 1980, has two grown and married children who have blessed them both with six grandchildren.

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You can contact Jim by email at jim@leadtodaysociety.com

by Jim Piper, Jr.

Tags for this article
Achieve Goals, performance failure, desire, focus