Why don’t my goals work?

By Dr. Cheryl Leitschuh, Ed.D.


It is not unusual for me to meet with someone who has an incredibly detailed outline of their goals.  It is sometimes layed out in a PowerPoint presentation with pictures and symbols.  To the outside world it looks as if they have a very focused and productive guide for the future…BUT, they will say to me, “These are the same goals I have had for the last 7 years.  I have made no progress towards these goals.  What is the problem?”  This month’s spotlight is to focus on what is missing when you have goals that you never seem to reach.

When you are faced with this frustration, there are two key questions that may give you the answers to shift your success:

  • Are my goals tied to something important to ME?
  • Do I bring my goals into my daily focus and activities?

Let’s look at each question in more depth:

1. Are my goals tied to something important to ME?

I recently met with a young, successful professional who was experiencing great distress in movement toward his goals.  The goal list was impressive.  When I asked why he had the goals on the list, the answer was something like “Well, that is what my firm wants.”  OR “That is what my family asks.”  The truth is, you will never achieve a goal if it is based on someone else’s desire.  OR you will achieve it with a feeling of obligation and, perhaps, anger.  Success with despair is not success!

Here is what we did.  We set aside the goals and focused on his vision for his life and career.  By using a structured process and involving the many factors necessary for an effective vision, we were able to define a vision based on HIS desires not someone else’s.  We then moved to generating a goal list based on this vision.  Guess what?  80% of what was on the previous goal list was also on this list?  What is the difference?  It was HIS list, not someone else’s.  The remaining 20% were goals that he needed to make his life more fulfilling and satisfying.

2. Do I bring my goals into my daily focus and activities?

Second problem with goals – if they do not bring focus in the present, they are merely a nice exercise to be placed on a shelf.  Here is the beauty of bringing your goals to the present:

  • The present is perfect because the present is all there is.
  • The present is perfect because you CAN do something about it.
  • The present is perfect because there is a gift in everything.
  • The present is perfect because you can learn quickly from it.
  • The present is perfect because it’s leverageable – what you do today WILL effect the future.

Trust me, someday will never come.  Only today is reality.  Do what you can to bring your goals to the present.  Put the list on your mirror, in your planner.  Make it something that is constantly in front of you.  Review it daily – or at least weekly asking:  What have I done today to move in the direction of my goals?  What gift has come my way to assist me in moving close to my goals?

About the Author

Cheryl Leitschuh

Dr. Cheryl Leitschuh, Ed.D. is a leadership energy consultant creating environments of success for individuals, teams and organizations.  She is author of the new book, Leadership Energy:  Unlocking The Secrets To Your Success.  For information on services and  resources for individuals and organizations, visit www.TheLeadershipEnergy.com

About What’s For Work?

The Premier Career Site for Women. http://www.whatsforwork.com

Our Mission: Provide a community that encourages members, employers and providers to work together; to inspire and help each other grow.


Don’t Succumb to Career-Seeker Frenzy!

by Jessica Weatherford


Source: smallbiztrends.com

If you have ever woken up, hunched over your desk with a cold cup of stale coffee next to your elbow and your keyboard imprinted onto your cheek with the most recent jobs posted online still listed on your screen, keep reading.  You are exhibiting signs of Career-Seeker Frenzy, CSF for short.  Other signs of CSF include hourly checking of LinkedIn Groups for newly posted jobs, a feeling of guilt over seeing a movie when you could be on Craigslist and an increasing level of anxiety that you May. Never. Be. Hired. Again.

First, you will be hired.  Your dedication and determination are the very traits your future employer is looking for.   Second, let’s take a step back and recognize that by spiraling into Career-Seeker Frenzy you are:

  • Adding extra anxiety and stress to your life
  • Probably showing up to your interviews with a sheen of sweat that doesn’t exactly exude “confident and ready” and
  • Creating negative-self talk that further erodes your self-esteem

Career-Seeker Frenzy often leads to accepting a job, any job.  You don’t want a job, you want a career, right?  Work that allows you to reach your true potential, make an impact, perform highly and is in alignment with your core values.

The antidote to crippling CSF is taking back control over your career destiny.  By setting the right daily, weekly and monthly goals you will begin to see incremental successes that will reduce stress, increase your self-confidence and begin to open the doors to your future successful career.

Now, we are going to walk through the rules of peak performance goal setting and a goal setting process that has helped me reach any achievement I set out for.

The peak performance goal setting rules are as follows:

  • Goals must be incremental and all supporting larger, ultimate goals.
  • All goals must be SMART:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound)
  • Goals must be written.  People who regularly write their goals have been shown to make up to 9 times as much in a lifetime than those who don’t.
  • Goals must be shared with accountability.  People who share goals with a friend and check in on them regularly increase their success rate by 33%.

Now, use these rules to create your personal peak performance goal plan, as shown below.  As you check off each incremental goal throughout the weeks, your sense of achievement and confidence will increase week by week, which is a much better look than that sheen of anxiety on your brow.

Here is an example of how a person in the throes of Career-Seeker Frenzy can create goals to calm the anxiety and focus their search towards the career they’ve been searching for.

Goal Setting

Source: peerlessgolf.ca

Peak Performance Goal Setting

Ultimate Goal:  Career as an HR Business Partner within a company that aligns with my core values and offers constant career development.

Supporting Goals: 

  • 6 total interviews over the next 3 months
  • 3 of the interviews will be for jobs found through word of mouth or websites
  • 3 of the interviews will be for jobs found through the “Hidden Job Market”, as described by What’s For Work? leader Dennis Thompson.  (The Hidden Job Market are the jobs that need to be filled but either the company hasn’t gotten around to posting yet, or they don’t yet know you exist and that they desperately need you.)
  • Belong to 3 groups that offer networks of people who will support your career.

Incremental Goals:

  • Identify 15 career postings per month to apply for.
  • Spend 5-10 minutes per day, per website reviewing job postings (a total of 30-60 minutes).
  • Identify 10 companies per month which don’t have posted jobs, but you would be interested in working for.

Call each one and ask the HR manager for 5 minutes.  Mention you are interested in leaving a resume with the company for future reference, but want to make sure you would be a right fit.  Ask relevant questions about the company and mention your experience as appropriate.

  • Identify 6 possible career-networking groups to join and try their next meeting out for fit.
  • Create an interesting sentence this week that describes your ideal position and the value you offer.  Memorize.  Tell as many people as possible.

You can see how each level of goals supports the one above it.  The plan needs to be flexible based on the job market, your career development and your weekly goal calibration.  By using this format, I have achieved ultimate goals I never thought possible.

Most importantly, as you check off your weekly and monthly goals don’t forget to celebrate!  We are so quick to mentally admonish ourselves for failing to achieve a goal, but a special cupcake or glass of wine is in order to bask in your incremental achievement.  Take a minute to let your newly increased confidence and control over your career destiny sink in!

About the Author

Jessica Weatherford

Jessica Weatherford is CEO of Marble Arch Consultants, Inc.  She leverages an arsenal of proven tools to remove the conflict causing stress in daily life, then replace it with habits that increase career success and relationship connection.  Everyone gets a no-charge hour of consultation with Jessica and the arsenal.  Email now to schedule yours:  jessica@marblearchinc.com or connect on Twitter @jvweatherford.

About What’s For Work?

The Premier Career Site for Women. Real People. Real Connections. Real Support. — with everything in one place! http://www.whatsforwork.com/

Mission: To redefine how employers acquire talent and women find and preserve their dream jobs using innovative technologies.

Company Overview: What’s For Work? helps women take control of their careers by providing a rich set of tools that develop their knowledge, skills and confidence they need to land and preserve their dream jobs.