Setting goals and removing the C word

Everyone reading this will have a dream that has eluded them for one reason or another. What that dream is, varies per person. It could manifest itself in a physical challenge such as a marathon, or even something as everyday as stopping smoking or buying a house. What everyone also has in common, is that there will be hurdles that present themselves over time, that make that dream a little bit fainter, pushing it further-and-further out of reach.

We have come to realise over the past 18 months the importance of setting goals. Without them, we tend to float about with little purpose or drive. When we landed in Barbados after the Atlantic row, a goal that had driven us for the best part of two-years was no longer present, and a void now existed in its place. We had an undeniable urge to place another marker in the sand to work towards (in that case, it was a kayaking trip through Sweden). Without a light at the end of the tunnel, one simply wanders in the dark.

We have found that there is no better way to achieve things than to commit them to paper. The art of writing something down, acts as a personal contract which in some form, bonds you to completion. This has become a strategy we use on a constant basis, both setting daily goals (what we want to achieve that day) and longer term, more lofty goals (taking on adventures, where the business needs to be in 6 months etc).

We have been lucky enough to speak at some amazing companies around the world, to some amazing people, and the recurring question we get asked is “what is the first step?”. People are often unsure of how to get the ball rolling, and how to put themselves on a path to success in which they will overcome the inevitable hurdles life will place in their way. At the end of the day, it is far easier to accept defeat and carry-on as usual, than to push yourself through the comfort zone and encourage change.

We are certainly no experts on behavioural psychology, but our answer is a simple one. We give them a speech card and an envelope, and ask them to write down their goal, along with one-step they can take within the next 24 hours which will set them on a course for success. We then seal it (without seeing their goal) and take it away. 6 months later, we then ask their employer to place this envelope on their desk, as a reminder to their commitment to themselves and the goal.

We have found this technique, although simple, to be extremely effective. It is a commitment to yourself, and a psychical representation of what you want to achieve. 

Without doubt, the largest hurdle people face is not a lack of willingness or hunger to succeed, instead it is the language they use that dictates their lives. The word ‘can’t’ is a parasite on progression. It limits peoples capabilities, sinks companies, and prevents innovation, yet it is a knee-jerk verbal reaction to an idea or concept that is irregular or uncomfortable. “I can’t do that, I don't have the time”, “Of course I can’t, I'm far too old”, “We can’t do that, it’s just not how we do things around here”. The power of the C word can affect not only an individual, but the culture of an entire organisation. Take a second to think how many times you may have used the word “can’t” in the last week. Now imagine if you removed it from your vocabulary, and the possibilities that could occur from simply removing the final letter.

So with this in mind, we challenge you to:

  1. spend 10 minutes over a coffee to think about that one thing you have always wanted to achieve, there will be something! Then grab yourself a piece of paper, and write it down. You will be one-step closer, so back yourself and just f*cking crush it! People will stand in your way, and you will have 1000’s of reasons to quit, but keep your eyes on the finish line, and work towards it with passion. Once you are there, your perception of what you are capable of will have been flipped on its head, and the doors will open.
  2. Remove the word ‘can’t’ from you vocabulary. If you can manage this change, it will change your life. You can do whatever you want to do, no question. So don’t hide behind the C word anymore, and push yourself to new limits.

Good luck - and fire us an email if you want to share your story, we would love to hear it.


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