It’s Bigger and Better Than a Goal

‘Tis the season for making resolutions and setting goals. In many instances they are set-ups for disappointment and a pre-determined sense of failure. Why? Because they are too narrow, too specific and not very intriguing or motivating. Lose 10 pounds – now that gets your heart pounding, yes? I don’t think so. It has to be you in that fabulous outfit looking healthy, trim and walking into the room and people complimenting you on how great you look, not a scale moving backwards.

Any top athlete will tell you if they had to think about the training they would never get into the sport. What they do is envision the win, imagine the rush of going over the finish line and achieving their ultimate goal of being the best. The operative word is vision.

I had written many a vision statement in my corporate days. It was an interesting exercise usually because it proved how far apart different factions were from one another. If well-facilitated, we reached some common ground, developed language and synthesized why we were there and what we did. Unfortunately, we rarely looked at it again and most people went right back to doing the same ole same ole with few repercussions.

It can be different for you and your organization. First of all you have to value a sense of the future. For some people this is scary; it feels restrictive or a bit vague. For others it is a major thought shift, looking further than the To Do List or the quarterly report and combining ideas with an emotional component. It also takes honesty and the willingness to say this is what I want, need, desire and I am open to trying and working at it to realize my dream.

Bill Gates had a vision of a PC on every desk. Ted Turner went forward to create an all-news, global network even though not so long ago “serious journalist” referred to CNN as “Chicken Noodle Network”. They saw it as soft, repetitive reporting. Maybe it is, but the viewership is soaring and the traditional networks are diving. Does anyone think it just dawned on Hillary Clinton to run for President? Hard to imagine.

My point is that some people have a natural bent toward forward thinking. Many more happy and successful people actually work at creating it. They have intention and discipline.

So what would you have to do to create your vision statement? I will say this – the younger you are the further out you should look. How can that be when you barely know what the next six months have in store? Think about it. Remember when you first learned to drive how short your sight range was? There was a natural fear to look further than just beyond the front bumper because you were in new territory and it seemed dangerous. You now realize how life threatening that approach can be. As you became more experienced you were comfortable looking further a field, actually allowing yourself to turn your head now and than, reading signs in the distance to anticipate your next maneuver. So early in your career and personal life you have to avoid the hood ornament syndrome and imagine the freeway. Like most thoroughfares there are exit ramps, occasionally a place to make a U-turn and usually a shoulder. You will have options but there is a direction and sort of a speed limit.

Your challenge for the week:

  1. Create a vision statement. Use simple, graphic language. Blend career with personal. Beware of your inner critic – that voice that sabotages new ideas and encourages you to avoid risk and return to the familiar.
  2. Share your vision with another. This is what many of my clients use coaching for – to make a commitment and be held accountable.
  3. Create a system(s) to monitor your progress. For example, I have always had ten year financial vision (definition of financial freedom, running numbers, addressing where I want to be in a decade and how much that would cost) but I measure progress on a monthly basis. My assistant, Lisa, is empowered to nag me if I have not made the month’s investment. Those simple steps have not only gotten me to where I wanted to be, but also encouraged me to stretch and exceed.

Jane Cranston is an executive coach, career coach and “The Job Search Expert” based in New York City. She shares with success driven executives and professionals techniques, skills and goal setting strategies that advance their careers, increase people management skills and assists them in career change or job search. Receive Jane’s free "Competitive Edge Report" and the free audio download “Creating a Career Strategy” by visiting

About the Author

Jane Cranston - Executive Coach NY (New York)Executive and career coach, “The Job Search Expert,” Jane Cranston understands the challenges and opportunities in the workplace. She integrates years of experience as an accomplished senior executive with global brand name companies, with the lessons learned from opening three successful businesses, and then applies her education and coach training. This sophisticated mix affords her clients her unique perspective, business sensibility, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Jane is the founder and Managing Director of ExecutiveCoachNY, an executive and career coaching business based in New York City with clients nationwide. She coaches success-driven executives and managers to develop a career strategy that accelerates advancement, increases compensation, enhances people-management skills as well as gets the competitive edge in all business activities.

Coaching with Jane is dynamic, structured, forward-focused as well as fun and inspirational. Working with clients in fields such as finance, technology, media and entertainment, real estate, and the law, she assists them in recognizing and achieving their full potential at work and in their personal lives.

Clients claim coaching with Jane has “changed my career focus,” “helped me better understand how to motivate my staff,” “given me ideas that have increased my income by $100,000s,” and “made me realize what is my part and what isn’t,” and claim coaching is “the best thing you could do for yourself.”

Jane’s soon to be published “Great Job Tough Times” is a step-by-step job search system designed to assist managers and executives looking for employment, or contemplating leaving their current positions, with their resume writing, interviewing skills, networking techniques, and negotiating need to get the right job fast.

Jane Cranston is frequently seen on CNN’s “Your Money” and quoted in nationally syndicated newspapers, magazines, as well as Internet article sites and virtual programs. She authors the free, twice monthly, “Competitive Edge Report.” Learn more on her website


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