Why Setting Goals will Help You Get #Better – EP 12

By Allison McConnell
April 30, 2021
Work Better Podcast
Work Better Podcast
Why Setting Goals will Help You Get #Better - EP 12
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We all have goals we want to achieve, but how exactly does setting a goal help you get #better? In this episode, Allison and Ryan talk about not just the “how”, but also “why” goals are important in everything: your work, your business, and even your life.

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Episode Transcription

Allison McConnell: Hey Ryan, how’s it going?

Ryan Kononoff: Good. Good. I’m excited to chat with you again,

Allison McConnell: Me too. This week we were talking everything goals, as you know, this is an area that I’m super passionate and very excited about. I’m excited to pick your brain and then to kind of share this.

Ryan Kononoff: Sounds great.

Allison McConnell: Awesome, so let’s dive in.

How can creating a goal setting culture help us improve our business?

Ryan Kononoff: I think goals are a prereq prerequisite for getting better at something. I think in life, if we don’t set goals, then we’re never going to move the ball forward. So I think it’s, it’s, it’s a necessary part of any company that wants to get better at the work that they do every single day.

Allison McConnell: Absolutely. I find if we don’t have goals, it’s like, we’re not driving the, our own bus. Like we’re just kind of being reactive to every single thing that we’re doing. That’s more on a individual level than a company level. But I would imagine it probably applies the same.

Ryan Kononoff: Yeah, I think so. I mean, when I think about my, my upbringing, so much of… every aspect of my life from, from the sports that I did to different businesses that I was involved into my education to jobs and career, it was always about setting a goal. And then reaching it and then immediately resetting a new goal and, and perpetually doing that at every opportunity that I had, I think goals for me have been a big part of my life.

And, and I’ve, you know, I’ve seen the people around me who have, have been great goal setters succeed in, in their own careers as a result of that. I think it’s, it’s fundamental to, to being successful is, is to be regularly setting goals for yourself.

Allison McConnell: Yeah, absolutely. I wasn’t raised in the same way with so many goals, but I remember my life tremendously shifting like every area of my life when I started running and training for marathons, because that is the ultimate example of setting and reaching a goal.

So that shifted my entire mindset and everything that I do and how I approach all areas now.

Ryan Kononoff: I think that’s a perfect example. I mean, we can all, everyone’s run a race at some point in their life, you know, whether it, whether it be a race in grade three or later on in your life. I think about my wife who does a ton of trail running.

She doesn’t ever run the distances that she runs and races, and that’s just normal. I mean, most people that are, that are competitive they’re, they’re competitive. You know, the, the, the events that they go into are events that actually pushed them beyond their limits. And, and so I think the race you know, running a race, any kind of races is a great example of that, where, you know, you work towards this goal.

And for many people it’s over the course of, you know, not just months, but often years where you’re, you’re perpetually training and, and, you know, looking to get to a certain point and then most athletes, when they, when they attain a goal, they’re immediately resetting something. You know, they’re, they’re saying, okay, well, I’m going to do, you know enter this race, which is a longer distance.

I even think about you know, certain sports athletes who, who played and had a career, a really successful career in one sport, and then went on to set a new goal in an entirely different sport, and Michael Jordan jumps to my mind. I don’t think he was particularly good at baseball, but after really successful basketball career, he pivoted and said, okay, well I need to challenge myself in a, in a new way.

And so I, I think, I think there’s, there’s examples in all of our lives of people who have done exactly that and being successful as a result of, of those goals.

Allison McConnell: Absolutely. So what are some challenges you see people face or even specifically our people at Clearbridge face? When it comes to setting goals?

Ryan Kononoff: I think often you know, the first stall there is related to fear of failure. I think as a, as a culture, as a society, we’re so we’re so afraid to let people down around us and maybe even let ourselves down that as a result, we don’t set a goal or, or we set a goal that’s… you know, a weak goal. We set a goal that we know with 100% certainty we can attain, but I don’t believe that that really pushes us outside of our comfort zone.

And therefore it doesn’t help us to actually get better. It just helps us to do the things we know we’re already capable of, which I really believe is, is, is not the purpose of a goal. Purpose of a goal is to push. Push ourselves to an uncomfortable spot where, where we’re actually realizing some improvements or some gains beyond where we were previously.

So I think that’s the first thing that jumps to me is just fear of failure. And, and yet failure is the only way we improve. Without failure, we can’t get better at something. We w yeah, so I think that’s, you know, the, the first thing that jumps to my mind and probably the biggest example that I see at not only at Clearbridge, but just all around me.

I think that’s that’s the, the, the most common cause for, for a lack of setting goals or, or, or cause for setting overly attainable goals.

Allison McConnell: Right, right. When, in fact, like when you say the fear of failure, but failing is absolutely a part of the goal, you know, when you think about, you know, you want to set a goal to run a 30 minute 5km, well, you’re going to run a whole bunch of 5km’s that are over 30 minutes to be able to get to that 30 minute 5km it’s a series of failures.

 One and one other thing that I definitely notice is people don’t like to be uncomfortable. They think that, or, or they don’t understand that, that discomfort and that hard is part of the journey too. That’s the part where we really are expanded and pushed.

Ryan Kononoff: I think, I think. As a society, we live in a very comfortable place.

Like we, we live in a very comfortable part of the world. You know, we have apps and computers and systems that do things for us that we used to have to, you know, people used to have to really work hard for. And you know, I I’m sure. You know, my parents and their parents would have, would all have, you know, even better examples, but there there’s, you know, we, we have vacuum cleaners that can vacuum our floors now.

And we have, you know, the, the, the means to, you know, press a button on our phone and our food shows up, you know, half an hour later. I mean, there’s so many conveniences as a, as a world that we have that You know, it, it, it, I think it’s just baked, you know, an expectation of comfort into, into all of us.

And so it’s perhaps counterintuitive as a society to become an intentionally, put yourself in a position where you are uncomfortable.

Allison McConnell: Right. That is exactly it. All right. So let’s talk about SMART goals. I, I do think that SMART goals are a little bit. The phrase is a little bit overdone, but for the simplicity of setting a goal, I there’s just nothing quite like it.

So obviously SMART goals are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic. And time-bound what do you think the most important part of that is? If you could pick one

Ryan Kononoff: you know, I love the concept of SMART goals. I think it’s super important to set SMART goals. But I don’t think there’s any one part of that that is more important than another. I actually think you need the sum of all of those parts to create a good goal. And so I don’t think you could say, well, this is the most important part of a goal, because if something is absent or it doesn’t exist, then it’s, it’s not, it’s not a great goal.

So I think. What, what is a great goal? What’s the most important part it’s having all of those parts there. Sorry.

Allison McConnell: No, that’s okay. I’ll let you off the hook with that. I’m not that surprised by that answer. All right. So let’s try and wrap this up. Why don’t you tell me some of the simple things our people can do today or anybody can do today to start setting and achieving their goals.

Ryan Kononoff: Great question. So I think, you know, going back to what we were talking about before, I think it’s super important to set goals that make you uncomfortable: goals that, that push you beyond your limits and that drive you towards better work. A number of years ago, I had a mentor of mine ingrain this idea of, of failing fast into, into me and my life.

And, and, and that puts importance on not only failing, but being able to get back up, brush yourself off and get back on the horse. And I think that’s really important as a part of failure is to recognize that it needs to happen not just once, but it needs to happen regularly. So with frequency and you have to be able to get back up.

From it, you, you, you can’t let it de-motivate or discourage you. Also I think it’s really important to set SMART goals, to set goals that are you know, th th the sum of all of those parts related to setting a SMART goal are really important. And so ensuring that every time you’re setting goals, that you’ve…

you’re ticking all of those boxes so that you can look back and, and you can look back with clarity around what you set, what you achieved and, and how that provided value.

Allison McConnell: Right? I think one thing that I would love to add to that list is sharing with your community or with your coworkers that is having somebody help you keep accountable to what you want to be doing is so important.

Especially in the times when it is really hard. I think a great example that I’ll share is one of my goals this week was to complete this podcast with you and it’s simply wouldn’t, it was, it was off my radar. It wasn’t happening, but because I shared that and you were a part of it you were able to help me keep accountable and it, all it took was a quick mindset shift to let me to remind me that I could actually get it completed.

So here we are completing it with time to spare.

Ryan Kononoff: Absolutely. I think that’s super important. And thanks, thanks for adding that. It’s really easy to fail in secret and not tell anyone and then not be, you know willing to get back up and try again. But if you’ve told everyone that you were going to do something then hopefully the world around you can, can hold you accountable to that.

So, yeah. Thanks for adding that as well.

Allison McConnell: Awesome. Well, thank you for helping me get my goal completed this week. That’s everything for us today. Thanks Ryan.