Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Hero’s Journey Makes Your Goals SMART

In his book What They Don't Teach You in the Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack cited a study conducted on the students in the 1979 Harvard MBA class. The students were asked:

"Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?"

Only 3% of the class had written goals and plans. 13% had goals, but did not write them down. 84% had no specific goals at all!

Ten years later, the researchers interviewed the MBA Class of ’79 again, and the findings were simply stunning. The 13% who had unwritten goals were earning twice as much as the 84% who had no goals at all. And what of the 3% who had clear, written goals? They were earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together!

Does anyone need any more convincing before they start setting goals smartly?

A good way to set goals is the S.M.A.R.T. way. S.M.A.R.T. is the acronym for:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Timed Frame
Top business coach, Jim Rohn said that the most effective goals, are those that our hearts conceive, our minds believe, and our bodies will carry out.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals using the Hero’s Journey,

The Calling – Accepting the Call – Crossing the Threshold – Meeting the Mentor – Facing the Ordeal – The Hero is Transformed – The Reward - Return with the Elixir,

helps us set S.M.A.R.T. goals that engage our hearts, minds and body.

Specific – To be specific, a goal must address the six "W" questions:

  • Who: Who is involved?
  • What: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Where: Identify a location.
  • When: Establish a time frame.
  • Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
  • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
The Hero’s Journey addresses all the “W” questions comprehensively and in a way that connects our heart with our mind:

  • Who: Who is the Hero? Mentor? Demon?
  • What: What is the Calling? Reward? Elixir?
  • Where: Where is the Threshold? Return the Elixir to where?
  • When: When will the Journey end and when will the milestones be crossed?
  • Which: What are the demons in the way of accepting the Calling? Reward?
  • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of the Calling, the Elixir. 

Measurable – The Hero’s Journey sets concrete criteria for measuring progress towards the attainment of the goal we set, the Reward we sought. Concrete criteria let us know whether we have attained our goal or not. When we measure our progress, we stay on track, meet our target dates, and experience the joy of achievement that spurs us on to sustained effort required to reach our goal.

Achievable – The Hero’s Journey helps us figure out ways we can make our goals come true. The Hero’s Journey has a plan that transforms us, helps us develop the attitudes, abilities, and skills to reach our goals.

When we set our goals and make our plans with the Hero’s Journey, we build our self-image as the lead actor. We see ourselves as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow us to achieve them.

Realistic - The Hero’s Journey makes our goal realistic as it makes us willing and able to work towards it. Realistic goals should be big and audacious. A high goal is often more attainable than a low one because low goals generate little motivational power. As Goethe said "Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men."

Timed Frame - The Hero’s Journey gives our goals a concrete time frame and structure. Some people spend a lot of time talking about what they want to do, someday. But, without a target date and milestones there is no sense of urgency, no reason to take any action today or even tomorrow. The Hero’s Journey provides specific time frames that give us the impetus to get going and also helps us track our progress.

The importance of setting our goals is clear. Poor goals lead to poor results. Incomplete goals lead to incomplete results. The S.M.A.R.T. way helps us set smarter goals.

The Hero’s Journey way of goal setting makes the S.M.A.R.T. way even better.

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