A Coaching Power Tool created by Sheri Bodnaruk
(Business Coach, CANADA)
Have you ever heard the phrase “You get what you ask for”? That usually implies that you may be communicating what you want in too vague a way and it could be interpreted in multiple ways. You could then end up with something that is nothing like you wanted. To get what you really want you need to be specific in what you are asking for.
Getting specific about what we want can sometimes be difficult to do. We tend to want to generalize, much like King Midas did when Dionysus granted him a reward of his choice. Instead of being specific in his request King Midas was vague and asked for everything he touched to turn to gold. Can you imagine what he would have gotten if he had been more specific?
Midas didn’t really want everything to turn to gold when he touched it, he really wanted to have all the riches in the world, more specifically he wanted to be the man with the most gold! Instead he died of starvation because he didn’t communicate his request clearly. You need to communicate what you want clearly and to do that you need to know what it is that you want.
Has anyone ever asked you what you really want in life? Was your answer something like “I just want to be happy”? What exactly makes you happy? Is it having a wonderful family, a rewarding career, traveling to new places, or just having the freedom to do what you want? If you are vague in what you want the chances of failure become greater, you need to define what is really important to you so you stay motivated to get it.
Life coach Martha Beck wrote, “It’s like telling a waiter, ‘Bring me something delicious. I have no idea what, but I’ll know it when I taste it.’ No order that fuzzy is likely to produce a satisfying result. … People who get what they want tend to be the ones who make the effort to know what they want”.
Think about the last New Years Resolution you made, how specific were you in communicating that goal to yourself? Were you able to keep the resolution?
Specific Goals – Getting What You Really Want
Getting what we want in our lives begins with setting some very specific goals that will get you real results. Setting goals with a specific outcome will increase your chances of success because you’ll know exactly what you want, how and when you are going to achieve it, and where you want to be at the end of your journey.
When we are vague with our goals it’s difficult to set clear milestones to get there as well as knowing that we are even progressing towards that goal. Compare this vague goal, “I’d like to own a house” to this more specific one, “I’d like to own a house by the time I’m 40, in the country, with 4 bedrooms, lots of windows and a beautiful yard. I’d like to have enough space so our families can visit and we can entertain our friends”. Which goal inspires you more, the vague one or the specific one?
Vague goals are less inspiring because they lack the details that motivate us. With vague goals it is more difficult to create concrete milestones to move towards. It is also difficult to measure your progress and commit to these vague goals because you are not completely invested in them – they have no real meaning for you. Getting specific with your goals forces you to become more detailed and brings out their real meaning for you. If your goals are vague you’ll lose interest and most likely give up before you achieve them.
- What goals would you like to achieve in the next year?
- How exactly are you going to achieve them?
- Are these goals attainable in the timeline of a year?
- Why are these goals important to you?