Did you manage to get a holiday this year? Or a staycation, as most of us have had to do? I do hope you gave yourself a break over the summer months.
September is a time of change. Not only seasonally, but also being the beginning of the academic year. Businesses often use this time to consider their final quarter and look ahead to the next year. So ideally, now needs to be about making positive choices, whether in business, academia or another area of your life.
Autumn also tends to be a time of looking at how far we have progressed – what we’ve harvested – as well as considering what still needs to be done. It’s a good time to set some objectives. Or, as I prefer to say, decide on the outcomes.
Let me explain….
When you’re working on your objectives, what’s the first thing you do? Many people write down a to-do list, a list of actions. All that does is give you a load of tasks – it doesn’t provide you with any goals.
Instead, think in terms of the outcome. Ask yourself why you’re taking that action and what it’s leading you towards.
Coaching is Future Focused
‘Objectives’ is a word that’s used a lot in the corporate world. Whereas I find ‘outcome’ is less ambiguous, more focused. A subtle language change like that can transform people’s thinking and alter their perspective.
What do I mean by that? Well, when you think of an objective, it appears as something to aim for. How tangible is it? Can you visualise it? Whereas when you set an outcome, it usually comes with a clear image of what that outcome should look like. That, in turn, helps to define your purpose.
The process I work on with my clients looks something like this:
- Focus on the objective you’re moving towards and set it as an outcome. This is similar to goal setting, which I talk about here
- Define the outcome. This adds purpose and helps to overcome procrastination. Defining your outcome – really seeing it in your mind – provides the drive and a focal point for you to work towards
- Set the vision which gives you the direction you need to be heading in
- Achieve the outcome. Once you think you’re there, you have something tangible to measure your progress from, to see where and how you’ve travelled. That helps you to recognise that you’ve reached your destination and achieved your desired outcome.
Having that focus – being future focused – gives you a finishing point and helps you to find your steps along the way. Once you have that clarity of vision, choosing your actions to take you there, or understanding the steps you need to take to achieve your outcome, becomes a lot easier.
A word of caution. If you don’t define your outcome, you will most likely do lots of things on your action list, be very busy and head in the wrong direction or meander around making no progress.
Don’t Be the Busy Fool
What will you be doing over the next six months? Unless you set your objectives to consider the outcomes, you may end up being busy and not achieve anything. We think we’re being useful because we’re busy. Some people even make sure they’re looking busy to keep their jobs, which comes from a place of insecurity. Either way, it’s not necessarily efficient or effective. Your busy-ness could stop you from seeing the key things that need doing.
Goals, objectives and outcomes are all about thinking into the future. They are ostensibly the same. It’s just that the word ‘outcomes’ isn’t readily used. When you’re asked what the outcome is, it makes you think harder to see yourself in that place.
Think about it this way:
- A goal or objective is something you look at from where you stand now. You will do it.
An outcome transports you to the time when you have achieved it. You’re there and can visualise the end result, giving you more certainty and focus.
Finite Resources – Time, Energy and Money
When considering your objectives and outcomes, remember to factor in your resources. You only have a set budget and so much time in the day. Your energy is also finite; look after your physical and mental energy, resting regularly to replenish them. Without considering all that, you may risk burn out and not achieve what you need. Take it steady!
Outcomes need to be specific, measurable and trackable. That specificity helps you to track your progress and reach your outcome. Then, when you’ve achieved your goal, it’s time to celebrate! Reap the rewards of your efforts with a bumper harvest.
What Outcomes do You Want by the End of the Year?
Do you have a clear vision of what outcomes you want to achieve? It can be a struggle to convert a set of specific, well defined goals. In turn, that lack of vision makes it hard to measure your progress, ensure you’re still on the right track and achieve your outcome.
Coaching is an ideal way to tease those visions out of you, giving you clarity on your journey to your various goals and outcomes.
Luckily, I have a few appointments still available for October. Currently, there are only six appointments free, so if you need help to decipher and define your outcomes, please use the Reservio link to find a suitable date and time for you.
I’m looking forward to working with you to help you achieve the outcomes you need. Either ring me on 07766 004964 or click here to email me.