Thriving During Tough Times Tip #14 – It’s All About Progress in Tough Times!

“Part of the issue of achievement is to be able to set realistic goals, but that’s one of the hardest things to do because you don’t always know exactly where you’re going, and you shouldn’t.”
— George Lucas
It is the progress, not the targets, that measures success in tough times!

Far too often, I find people and organizations misapplying the goal setting process. Just having goals is a major step in the right direction! However, it is only about 50% of the full “goal setting” equation to create short and long-term success. There are many subtleties in the second part of the equation that maximize the impact of goals.
One important subtlety is that goals are NOT necessarily meant to be fully achieved. Yet, most people are energized when they complete tasks, projects, and other items. This creates quite a dilemma when you apply the goal setting process to yourself and your organization as we are rarely able to be fully energized by the results when compared to our goals.
How do we deal with the paradox that comes with applying goals? We want to achieve greater success but we also need to be fully energized through that act of successfully completing things along the way. If we continually set goals that we do not achieve for ourselves or in our organizations, we can become discouraged and down right cynical!
This creates a closed-loop process that does not allow us to move forward. Our cynicism poisons the goals setting process because we feel the new goals will just continue to make us feel worse about not achieving them in the end.
Michael Eisner, CEO of the Walt Disney Company from 1984 to 2005, once described the leadership process at Disney as; setting grand goals, inevitable failing to achieve those goals, and learning as much as possible from the pursuit of the goals.

“An ambitious horse will never return to its old stable.”
— Chinese Proverbs
I think he forgot one step in the process that most people ignore as well. We must celebrate the PROGRESS that we made, the things that we achieved along the way, and how we have grown during the process. This gives everyone the opportunity to “check-off” items on the proverbial “To Do List.” This simple, physical checking-off process provides more psychological, emotional, and spiritual energy to us, and those around us, than we could possibly imagine!

How are you regularly celebrating PROGRESS to enhance your energy or the energy of the people around you?