Reaching a goal isn't the same as achieving a goal

There’s a difference between reaching a goal and achieving a goal. Making it to a level of an objective is reaching a goal, whereas, completing the objective successfully is achieving the goal. The differences are subtle yet profound. 

The Olympic Games over the last 2 weeks is a great example of this. All participants who qualify for the Olympics are the best at what they do in the world. So in a way just to make the Olympics is like reaching a goal. However, not everyone wins a gold medal and this has an impact on what happens after the Games.

One example is the Australian women’s basketball team who were expected to challenge for a medal. Instead, they were eliminated before making it to the medal rounds. There’s now concern the sport will lose the vital government funding necessary to drive greater levels of excellence throughout the women’s basketball program.

On the other hand, the successes at these Games of swimmer Michael Phelps and athlete Usain Bolt have been well documented. Both are expected to reap significant commercial success from achieving a record number of gold medals in their chosen sports.

I relate the Olympic scenario to many of my customers who are high achievers in the business world by driving outcomes in their daily work environment. However, that doesn’t mean they always achieve their goals (this is sometimes due to their goals being lofty aspirations). What I see the consistent performers do well is the same whether the goal has been reached or achieved. You see they review and reset.

By reviewing they consider:

  • If the outcome aligned with expectations?
  • What worked?
  • What didn’t?
  • What could or should be done differently or better?

By resetting they determine the next actions:

  • Where to from here?
  • Continue with this goal or move onto the another goal?
  • What will be the timeframe?
  • How committed will they need to be to achieve the goal?
  • What’s the probability of achieving the goal?

The review and reset approach has become part of how they work, much like executing the activities required to achieve the goal.

It’s the good habits we’re able to learn and build into our daily rhythms that enable us to consistently perform to our potential. What rhythms do you need to refine to help you achieve your goals?