Are goals the  beginning or end?

Jerome Emanzi

What you need to know:

  • ‘‘Like most people, when I achieved my goals, I thought that was the end. However, I was very wrong” 

This month, we have gone on a journey and established that, to succeed as leaders, we need to clearly define our purpose and vision. Today, we wrap up the month and close out the loop by tackling goals. On my mind now is the question, ‘where does the journey end and where does it begin?’

The term goal setting is not new to most of us. The hope is that at some given time we have set goals, achieved them and or have failed. Every beginning of the year I set some ambitious goals and I am sure that most of you can relate. If not, at some point we have been asked; what is your goal(s)? Or we have asked a company or individual what the goal(s) is? We may have heard of the term SMART goals, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound. There is plenty out there on how to set and achieve goals.
However, the intent of this article is to be intentional in the process of goal creation. 

Great leaders are intentional in what goals they set. As we go through the goal creation process, as leaders, we need to have established and articulated our purpose and vision, so we are ready to identify and create our goals. When talking about goal creation, most of the goals we create should come from our vision statement so that we are able to live according to our vision.

It has taken me years to fully understand the purpose of goals. Over the years of my professional and personal development, I thought I was becoming better at goal setting and more often goal achieving. However, I have come to realise that there is an aspect of the goal creation process that I have been missing out on. This is the growth part. Like most people, when I achieved my goals, I thought that was the end. However, I was very wrong, as I suddenly realised that was just the beginning. I say it is the beginning because the purpose of achieving my goals was that I was on the journey of growth to become the person who achieves goals. 

From his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell teaches that, “If you focus on goals, you might hit the goals - but that does not guarantee growth.” Take a moment to digest that statement. This was a major shift in my life, and it changed the way I set and achieve goals. There is no guarantee for growth just because we have set and achieved our goals. This eureka moment certainly changed everything realising that the growth part was the piece I missed most of the time and this obviously affected my growth as a leader. 
Let us also remember there will always be some failures in the process. Which in my view is okay because this is what leadership 101 is.

Retail department store founder J. C Penny declared, “Give may a stock clerk with a goal and I will give you a man who will make history. Give me a man without a goal and I will give you a stock clerk.” Penny recognised the power and importance of goals. While you work on them, they work on you.  

In addition, it is imperative to remember that it is not only what you get when you achieve your goals but also who you become. In my view, the main purpose in the goal creating process, is not the achievement of the goal, it is to become the person that achieves the goal.

Let us bring this in for a landing. This journey began with creating a purpose by answering the question, ‘why do you do what you do?’ Next, we looked at how we use our vision, which is a detailed description of living in the full achievement and presence of purpose. We conclude with the fact that goals are the benchmarking progress to cause growth in our lives and make us better leaders. 

Let us take inventory of who we want to become in our goal creation process because if growth is at the forefront and we become the person who can accomplish the goals, then we can accomplish any goals we set out for. We are human beings and not human doings. It’s all about the process of becoming.
I believe in you. In virtue and wisdom lead the world.

Emanzi is a transformational leader Coach with the Maxwell Certified Leadership Team.         [email protected]