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Achieving A Goal Is Admirable, If You Picked The Right One

Achieving A Goal Is Admirable, If You Picked The Right One

Sometimes we’re so focused on achieving a goal, we don’t realize we don’t want it anymore, or it wasn’t the right thing to begin with. In a recent Forbes post, I wrote about tackling that interview bugaboo, the “tell me about yourself” question. A mistake many job candidates make is to answer the literal question, rather than its underlying intent. (In the post I share four underlying intents behind that question. It’s never about talking about yourself!) Likewise with our goals, many times the end goal isn’t the goal we set but something different.

A goal to get a job may actually be to achieve career growth or more money or more autonomy. Losing weight is about getting healthy or looking better. Making more money is about feeling secure or having more freedom, like the freedom to quit your job – which in turn is about something else than just quitting!

Why are you going after what you’re going after? Connie and I launched SixFigureStart eight years ago because: 1) we wanted to be on the individual’s side of the hiring process after years on the corporate recruiting side; 2) we wanted to work together; and 3) we wanted to have more freedom in our lives. When you’re an entrepreneur, things never go as planned, of course, so when things got tense in our business, it really helped to go back to the original intentions. Our goals had become about building this business (launching it, then growing it, then maintaining it) and all manner of financial, operational and service goals. But these tactical goals don’t matter if we’re working so much we don’t have the flexibility and freedom, or we’re not working together well, or we’re not focusing on the meaningful parts of our business.

How about your goals? Are you staying true to your original intentions, or have you set off after just the tactical? If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, or worse, if you’re hitting your targets but still feeling empty, go back to the reasons why you’re trying to achieve your goals in the first place. When you reconnect with your why, you may get a second wind. Or you may realize that your current tactical goals actually won’t get you to what you really want and you need to do something else. Or maybe you’ve been so focused on getting to a goal just to say you’ve done it but you no longer care.

Take a step back and reassess the goals that you’ve been pursuing. What’s your underlying intent? Does the goal still matter? Do you need to focus on something else? Are you even more pumped up now that you’ve reconnected with your WHY? Let me know what you find!


Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career and business coach with SixFigureStart®. She has worked with executives from Amazon, American Express, Condé Nast, Gilt, Goldman Sachs, Google, McKinsey, and other leading firms. She’s also a stand-up comic, so she’s not your typical coach.

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