Goal Setting for Real Life

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You’re reading this because you’ve been on the challenge course or a program with me. When you look up at the high ropes element, all sorts of thoughts go through your mind. Earlier in my days, we didn’t “do” goals. People typically made two choices: either go to the top or don’t climb at all. Fortunately, Tom Leahy taught me a version of this back in the mid-90’s and I’ve used it ever since. This method is fully transferrable to real life. Try it out and email me back to let me know what you think. On Belay!


Set a guaranteed goal for yourself. Guarantee means just that. A guarantee. What will you do, that you are 100% positive that you can do. Forgive the grammar and flow of these fragments. We’re not talking about the Little Red Engine that Could…I think I can, I think I can. I’m talking about: I know I can. I am fully certain I can deliver.

When you set this goal, verbalize or write it down. On the challenge course we verbalize it so other hear it and help keep us accountable to it. They let us know when we get there and support us in the process.

In life, you may need to write it and post it somewhere. I write my goals on Post-it Notes and place them along the bottom of my computer, or pin them on the corkboard next to my desk.

I am also a checklist addict. So I will use an app on my iPhone and iPad (Microsoft OneNote) to establish checklists of guaranteed goals. I love pressing that screen to check it off. I also love putting pen to paper and checking off my easy goals, or guaranteed goals.

When you reach this guaranteed goal, you establish that “your word” is good. That your “yes means yes and your no means no.” Delivering on a promise creates a strong foundation of self-confidence and identifying your lower limits. Yes, the bar is set low. Its perfectly OK to crawl before you walk. If you can crawl and walk, then maybe you’re ready to run! Onto the next level – the Challenge Goal!


This is the goal that you’d like to accomplish, but if you don’t, your world won’t end. If you reach this challenge goal you should feel proud that you pushed past your guaranteed goal and placed focus and effort in to tacking this challenge goal.

When I post my goals, I write them in two parts. For instance:
1. GG Write one whitepaper for the web site this month.
2. CG Each quarter, write three whitepapers, post to the website, post on FB and send to ACCT Parallel Lines.


On the course we ask: So how can we support you, quiet, coaching or cheering? Supporting others should never be through peer pressure or coercion. Cheerleading others is often a form of distraction. Effective leaders never want to be distracted. Think about what YOU need for support.

One of the greatest goal setting tools you have at your disposal is to ask for what you need. If you don’t ask, how will other know? This is not a sign of weakness. Instead it is living out the value of the power of people, not as standalone individuals, but as reliable allies who practice compassion, communication and collaboration in order to authentically support others because the actually care!