Monday, March 31, 2014

Workshop on Goal Setting and Preparation

Conducted the workshop on 'Goal Setting and Preparation' yesterday. Shreya, Preeti, Krishna, Pranav, Harika, Tanvi and Nikitha participated in the half-day program.

As always the workshop started at about 1030 in the morning. We discussed the two components of the workshop, goal setting (being clear about what you want) and preparation (being prepared to receive what you want). Both, equally important.

Goal Setting
We discussed the importance of setting goals, the Harvard study on goal setting (contested by many of course but it's an interesting story), John Goddard's tale and why goals are good. The participants were asked to write down their goals (not differentiated from dreams or fantasies here), to write down all that they wished for on an immediate, short term and long term perspective.

We discussed the resources we have at our disposal - Time and Energy. The more time and energy we put behind goals, the better. But its also important to zero down to those few goals that one wants to put these resources behind. The search now was to identify the goals that matter to put our resources behind.

50 goals were listed. They were then filtered using filters of belief, desire, effort, responsibility, commitment and emotion. The 50 odd goals became a manageable number. Now we could zero down to the goals to achieve.

Among the five or ten goals left we identified an Enabling Goal. This is that one goal which would fetch us the kind of return for use of our resources (time and energy) and fulfill all our other goals. Expertise in a particular area for example could make one rich, famous, get travel, love etc. Once the enabling goals were identified, one or two at best, it was clear where to put one's effort.

The shortlisted goals were then aligned in the time frames of immediate (3 months), short term (3 months to 3 years) and longer term (3 years to 10 years or more). Once they were laid out in the time plan, all short listed goals now appeared gettable with number of hours deployed to attain the same.

The goals were vague so we needed to make them sharper and clearer. We used a method similar to the SMART goals i.e. made them more specific (removed words like good, well, success, hope etc), looked at specific outcomes (want to get into IIT, Engineer, IIM etc and wherever possible even clearer about which college etc). Then we added numbers to that i.e. metrics wherever possible (top the class, 85%, top 10% etc). Then we added a time aspect to it and made the goals time bound. 

Goals clearer now, we visualised them in our minds using all our senses - feeling the images as if we were already there. We then discussed the use of words can be as in affirmations (bringing the future down to the present i.e. I am studying in IIT, Chennai as opposed to I want to study in IIT, Chennai). Lastly we used the power of images as in a vision board or a chart where images of the outcomes are seen everyday to make the goals come true.

When the goal is clear, preparation becomes apparent. Bigger the goal bigger the preparation. Being a CEO of a company (your own firm) requires no preparation almost as against being the CEO of a Google or a Microsoft. That is the difference between an unclear goal and a clear goal.

Results do not happen by luck or chance. They happen because of a process of preparation. The best prepared win.

We discussed the 'Mindset - The New Psychology of Success' and the two mindsets - fixed and growth oriented mindsets. The desire to learn, to embrace challenges, to persist in the face of setbacks, to see effort as the route to mastery, to learn from criticism and to find lessons from others success is what the growth mindset is all about and it is far more empowering than the fixed mindset which relies on words like 'talent' and not on 'work'. Growth is about purposeful work.

We also discussed the concept of the 10000 hour rule to expertise and the 20 hour rule to competence. It was inescapable by now that hard work had no substitute. Champions were truly the ones who worked the hardest.

We looked at preparation which is almost 90% of the way we perform. Only 10% is actual implementation.
 We understood preparation in the three aspects - skill, physical and mental. One needed to prepare well on all three to deliver solid performances. The mental aspect is considered 80% of high performance.

The physical part is a factor of discipline, work and purposeful training. Skill can be learned from good teachers and coaches and requires a number of hours to attain expertise. Both constitute 20-30% of the performance. The 80% is in the mind, which also impacts both physical and skill as well.

The mental aspect involves knowing the context, process-orientation and beliefs and mindsets.

Knowing the context is to an extent addressed by expressing what one wants (the goals) and knowing where one stands. The gap between what we want and where we stand becomes apparent once the context is known.

Process-orientation is knowing the process of how to achieve anything. The process of self-correction is learned through this aspect which helps deal with performances under pressure. Process-orientation involves goal clarity, planning, action or execution, monitoring, correction, belief in the process and your abilities and achievement. Most goals are achieved through this process and once anyone understands it, setting a goal and achieving it down becomes as simple as following step 1 to 7. Having achieved a goal, one must reset goals to next higher level and go further up the ladder.

Enjoying the  process is a side-effect where one loves the aspect of learning, getting better and is fully in the growth mindset. Enjoying the process.

We did a brief plan on three goals - immediate, short term and long term - by drawing a six step process to reach it. Planning can go pretty deep and must always have a time bound and action bound sequence as in a time table or a chart which clearly shows progress and work to be done. Most of us slack off here especially with goals we are not convinced about but one must do these few things. Make that time table and stick it up where you can see it. Go and get that immediate goal and see if the process worked for you.

Sustaining the process
What we learn in a 4 hour session cannot perhaps change a lifetime of beliefs and habits unless we are conscious of it and badly want those goals. Most of our big goals lie outside our belief system - that we do not deserve them and this is where the mind constantly puts it off. To counter the mind, we must remind ourselves of our resolve to achieve those goals.

Vision board
The best way to do this is to make a vision board with all the images of your future, the clearer and more specific the better, either on a chart or as a powerpoint. This vision board must be seen every day so the images draw you to them. Our mind starts accepting them as reality and lets us work towards them. This is the first thing one can do to see results.

Keep company that encourages you on this path, keep in touch with good mentors and guides (me included), maintain a journal, enjoy the process of growth, share and teach what you learned to those who are interested and who can benefit. Good luck all of you - Shreya, Preeti, Nikitha, Krishna, Pranav, Harika and Tanvi. The Universe offers us all equal chance at getting what we want, its a matter  of being clear about what we want and being prepared to receive it. I am sure you will all achieve far more than what you can imagine.

Participant feedback: 
Found the workshop extremely  helpful. Discovered that anything is achievable with hard work. Learned that being organised, efficient and consistent at work can take us places. Have to believe in myself and my goal. Going to put up a visual inspiration to motivate me. - Shreya

Wonderful experience. Helped me get more clarity on what I want to achieve. - Krishna Rao

Jotting goals down on paper gave me clarity. Scrutinising the same through filters helped to me identify SMART goals. Vision board - will definitely do that. - Tanvi Jyoti

Was really helpful. Learnt many new things. Got to know the right method of preparation and the power of words and positive imaging. - Pranav

Find myself a lot more focussed and I know where I am heading. It will eventually help me reach my goal. - Nikitha 

Very good experience. My goal is now clear. I know exactly what I want to achieve. I am confident that I can achieve it. Hard work is the only way to success. I know what I need to achieve my goal - Harika

Learnt about how one can achieve one's goals, how one can be clear about objectives. Hard work is the ultimate stepping stone to success. Learned about preparation and the growth mindset. - Preeti

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