At this time of the year, there’s a lot of thought and conversation about setting and achieving goals, and as a result, I often blog on this topic, often finding metaphors in unusual places. Like the time my unexpected encounter with a sea otter offered some insights. Today’s musings … about drinking water.
It’s a lot easier to drink water when you have a glass
Potable water … absolutely essential to survival, but unless it is contained – within a glass, a bowl, or even a cupped hand – almost impossible to drink. Sure you could kneel and lap at a running stream just like other members of the animal kingdom, but it’s a lot easier if it is in a vessel of some sort. Even animals appreciate drinking from an enclosed source such as a pond or a puddle.
If you are focusing on setting and achieving goals and targets for your professional and personal life, this liquid reality offers an apt metaphor. Think of water as representing dreams and aspirations, the goals and objectives that you hope to accomplish over the next twelve months. Just like a liquid takes less effort to drink when it is contained within a vessel, desired targets are easier to achieve when they are surrounded by a solid structure. So what is this vessel that lets you move goals and aspirations from mere dreams to concrete reality? The outer form of the vessel may differ from situation to situation, but it must always be constructed of three components – it must be specific, it must be measurable, and it must have a deadline.
Here is an example
Let’s say that one of your leadership objectives is to build technical capability in your team over the next year. A worthy goal, but if you want to significantly increase the likelihood of actually achieving this target, then make it specific, measurable, and attach a deadline. So for example, be explicit about which specific employees will obtain what particular technical certifications, and by what date. Pouring water (your leadership objectives) into this vessel (a solid structure that is specific, measurable, and assigned a deadline) will increase the likelihood that you can successfully drink from this glass.
Does this metaphor resonate with you? What are doing to maximize the odds of achieving your goals in the upcoming year? Please share your thoughts below.