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How to get goal setting right by John Shackleton (Business Speaker)

How to get goal setting right by John Shackleton (Business Speaker)

by ICMI on Thursday, 11 February 2016

John Shackleton is a sports psychologist with an amazing power to transform an audience’s thinking. As New Zealand’s top inspirational speaker John is a world leader in performance improvement. He’s been motivating CEO’s and top sales people from numerous industries for more than 30 years and coached Olympians and World Champions, helping them to change their thinking, change their habits and dramatically improve their results.

As we all set off into the New Year it’s a perfect time to re-evaluate our goals, here the Business Speaker shares his expertise on getting goal setting right.


My goals

I’ve been a goal setter for more than 30 years. At times I’ve focused on my finances, sometimes my business, sometimes my health and sometimes my relationships. I’ve always had a major goal that’s driving me onward.

I’ve changed my mind about goals!

Now don’t worry, I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t have goals. I think it’s really important that we know where we’re going in life, because if we don’t, we probably won’t like where we end up! However I do believe that it’s easy to approach goal setting in a harmful way.

As a dedicated goal setter you may have experienced a time when you’ve become goal obsessed, so inspired and focused on your goal that it’s become all-consuming and takes over your life. Some of the athletes I’ve worked with have become so obsessive about winning that they neglect the people or the things that really matter to them. They get completely out of balance and are often extremely difficult to live with!

Goal setting for business people

Some of the business and sales people I’ve worked with have become so fixated on achieving their goal that they lose sight of their client’s needs. They become so inward facing, so ego driven that they can end up repelling prospects rather than attracting them.

When we become goal obsessed we live our lives in the future rather than in the present, thinking thoughts like:

“Life will be great when …….”

“I’ll be happy when …….”

“Things will be perfect when …….”

Goal obsession is about the destination rather than the journey. We become focused on the future and forget to enjoy the present. We believe that when we’ve got that promotion, bought the car, regained our fitness or found that special partner – we’ll be happy.

Exactly when will I be happy?

Happiness doesn’t happen in the future, it’s a NOW thing. When you’ve finally earned the money and bought that new car, you may be happy FOR A SHORT WHILE. But within a few weeks that happiness will fade and the new car will be just like the old one, full of used coffee cups and too expensive to fill with fuel! It’s a great goal to achieve, but buying a new car won’t make you happy! Happiness happens on the road to achievement, not when we arrive.

Focus on the task not the outcome

I know from past experience that when I ‘let go’ of my goal and become action or task focused I’m better at doing the best job I can for other people and am much more considerate of their needs.

As Depak Chopra says “Once we’ve set a goal we need to lose our attachment to it and turn our attention onto the activities that will create it”. The key for me is once I’ve set the goal I ask myself; what activity do I need to do every day that will help me achieve my goal?

I can then focus all my attention on the activity, occasionally looking up to see if I’m making progress. That way I achieve my goal AND stay happy while I’m doing it. According to my family it makes me much nicer to live with as well!