Personal effectiveness is often measured by the ability to perform consistently and achieve goals. But following a path blindly or fixating on a goal when that goal is no longer meaningful or attainable is counter-productive and may be destructive. To maximize your effectiveness, you have to be flexible. But you can’t be so flexible that you cannot attain a goal.

Flexibility in this sense means to compare your partial results to the goal to measure or adjust your progress. Focusing solely on the goal causes you to miss opportunities. Or it can cause you to run off a cliff because you ignored the “bridge out” sign. Flexibility means to continually check yourself and your progress on the path against the goal you are seeking. It means that you find where the path is smooth and where the path has deviated. Or where it should deviate. Your progress on the path needs to be aware of external forces that may help you or hinder you.

Think of your journey and your effectiveness as a plane in flight. The flight path is drawn o the map perfectly straight. From the ground, the plane appears to be flying perfectly straight. From inside the plane, though, you can feel those times when it is not flying perfectly straight. But you cannot feel the constant adjustments that the plane is making. The plane has to adjust back to the flight path each time a gust of wind pushes it off track, or an updraft pushes it higher than it is intended to fly. Also, before a plane takes off, the pilot will do a complete visual inspection of the airplane, to ensure that all systems are working. There is crew on board, each member of which has specific duties for the safety and comfort of the passengers or freight. All of this is done because the goal is not only to arrive at a specific destination, but to do it safely. There is not really an alternative.

In order to compare your partial results against the ultimate goal, you must have specific measurable goals. No matter what goal setting paradigm you are using, there must be a way to see if you will be able to achieve it or if you will miss it. By doing this, you can make corrections as early as possible. The corrections can be to the path or the goals. The corrections will also be more likely to be correct, as opposed to what someone feels it should be. And, to keep your team or project motivated and focused, this method allows you issue rewards for partial successes or achievements.

Achieving the goal is the goal. In life, you rarely get rewarded for attempting something. The idea of “well, you did your best and I am proud of you” is what you hear in children’s books on self esteem. Most people would not want to drive over a bridge that the engineers tried their best to reach the other side. Success is achieving goals, not sticking to path. Success is achieving the proper goals, not just the original goals. It also makes it easier and more acceptable to distribute rewards. Finally, having flexibility concerning goals and the path to the goals helps you decide when you are done, and when the goals are no longer necessary. Because personal effectiveness is also measured by not wasting time on unproductive activities.

Author's Bio: 

Rick Carter created STRESS JUDO COACHING, aggressive stress management coaching for maximum personal effectiveness, based on his 17+ years of experienced in the courtroom and 25+ years of experience in the dojo (martial arts school). Rick is a certified coach and attorney licensed in 3 states. If you want to develop the mindset of a black belt martial artist toward stressful situations, go to STRESS JUDO COACHING.