My Target is to have no Goals

TargetMy mentor once told me that entrepreneurial success was 99% psychology. I’m not sure what the other 1% is, perhaps its hard work, perhaps its good luck.

The point he was trying to make is that managing your mindset, and that of others, is the difference between success and failure. Managing self doubt, managing your confidence or over-confidence to the right levels makes all the difference in whether you will fall into the 96% of businesses that fail category, or the 4% that succeed category.

Motivating others, convincing others to buy your product, or give you a second chance contributes equally to your fate as a successful entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial success is 99% psychology.

Remember in previous blogs I spoke about the 90% of the 96% of entrepreneurs that simply give up because it’s too damn hard? What if by simply changing your relationship with goals you could reduce your likelihood of giving up?

 The Problem with Goals

The problem with goals, for me, is that they are so binary. You either achieve them or you do not. In soccer, you either get the ball into the back of the net, or you don’t. You don’t get half a point for taking the shot. There is no reward for trying, there is no reward for action, only reward for success.

But life is not that cruel. If I set my goal to lose 10kg and I lose 9kg, I have not achieved my goal, but I have lost 9kg. If I set my sales goal for $1m and achieve $938k I have not achieved my goal but I have sold $938k’s worth of goods or services.

When you mindset is binary, “I achieved or did not achieve”, then you spend much of your time managing your mood and self-confidence every time you do not achieve your goals. And let’s be honest, that happens quite often.

A Target Mindset

When you have a Target Mindset you always get rewarded for action, for trying, for taking the shot. Whether you achieve the goal or not, you are rewarded with feedback, partial success, or at the very least some experience.

Like a target with 100 points for the middle bulls-eye, and the surrounding rings attracting 90 points, 80 points etc., when you shoot for the bulls-eye and hit the third ring, you still get 70 points. It ain’t 100, but it also ain’t zero. The psychological feedback loop is that if I try, I achieve some sort of success. Action generates reward every-time.

This is a completely different psychology to, only 100% is good enough. This positive feedback loop is for more effective in keeping me motivated, hopeful and moving forward than that of a binary feedback loop.

Dropping Standards?

Some might argue that a Target Mindset gives you a way out to be less precise, even less ambitious. Whilst that may be true in some contexts, I believe that in an entrepreneurial context that is not the case. The entrepreneurial  context is about “more”, it’s about moving toward the vision. Any less than perfect achievement of a goal (the target) would be interpreted as an interim step. Some reflection, some re-calibration, and then another attempt to hit bulls-eye. I have yet to come across an entrepreneur that says “average is good enough for me.”

We still always aim for the 100 points (the goal), but we have a Target Mindset relationship with the outcome.

5 Things to consider with a Target Mindset

  1. Targets can also be SMART

Targets, like goals are also more effective if they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Focused  and Time-bound (P.S. its very frustrating this SMART thing, there are so many interpretations of the acronym, here is another one Specific, Meaningful, Action-Orientated, Realistic and Timely).

2.  Targets require reflection

There is a stronger mandate on the entrepreneur with a Target Mindset to reflect on the results of action taken. Why did we achieve what we did, what were the inputs or omissions that caused the result?

3. Targets require re-calibration

How far were we from the bulls-eye? Did we undershoot or overshoot the target. Do we need to rethink the inputs, effort and strategy before we take the next shot?

4. Targets require forgiveness

Targets require forgiveness when a bulls-eye is not achieved. Once the reflection and re-calibration are complete, let go of any guilt or anger. Let go of the past, focus on the present and aim for the future.

5. Targets require celebration

Focus on what was achieved more than what was not. When you hit the 70 (instead of the 100), focus on the 70 and not the 30. Celebrate the 70 and the opportunity to move closer to the 100.






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