That’s Audacious!

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Not too long ago, a couple of friends of mine asked me for my input. The two guys were identical twins and I’d known them since High School where they had fooled and frustrated teachers and fellow students alike by switching classes, sports teams and even at one stage girlfriends!

They had decided to compete in the Noosa triathlon, which was a tall order considering their state of fitness. They had asked me about putting together individual training programs to give them a chance of finishing the event.

So, I introduced them to S.M.A.R.T goals (from the Leadership and Management Diploma course I was training), emphasising the importance of establishing their own training regimes with the acronym front of mind. I told them to go away and separately set a training plan and goals that were: –

Specific – not ‘to get fit’ but to set exact goals for their program – eg run 30kms a week

Measurable – make sure that the goals they set would be, without doubt, measured to have been achieved or not achieved – eg to be able to run 5kms in under 35 minutes

Achievable – ensure the goals they set were achievable (not impossible) – eg not to run 5kms in under 15 minutes

Relevant – set goals that were directly relevant to the objective – e.g. reading books on the history of the Noosa triathlon would not help them compete in the race

Time-bound – remember the timeframe they were working in – the triathlon was in November and when they committed to competing  in June

One week later, I reconvened with them separately, to see what they had come up with.

The first identical twin had committed to exercise for 1 ½ hours, four times a week, every week until the triathlon.

The second twin had committed to exercise for 3 hours, every day of the week, every week until the triathlon.

I congratulated both on coming up with S.M.A.R.T goals (although they could have been more specific) and wished them luck.

A couple of days before the triathlon I contacted them and asked how they had gone with their goals?

The first twin proudly told me he had achieved his goal of exercise for 1 ½ hours, four times a week, every week.

The second twin, a little sheepishly, informed me he had ‘failed’ in his exercise regime and had only averaged 2 ½ hours, six times a week, each week.

Q Which twin did better in the Noosa Triathlon?

The second twin finished much faster than his identical brother. Even though he had not achieved his audacious training goal, whereas his brother had completed his achievable goal. Simply put, he had done more exercise and was fitter.

The interesting question in Leadership and Management is, should the A in S.M.A.R.T be A=Achievable or A=Audacious?

There is a school of thought that we should set extremely high targets or goals for ourselves, in order to grow and stretch. These are sometimes referred to as Audacious goals and they work well for some. Whilst it is important to grow and stretch, if we set goals that aren’t doable, we may get discouraged and stop trying. The really high achievers in the world understand the delicate balance of setting goals that they know are challenging yet they can reach, with a little stretching. And when they get there, they set another goal they know they can just reach. They climb the mountain in as big a steps as they can but one step at a time.

It’s good to think big (audaciously), but it’s also important that you don’t set a goal that is too big. A goal that’s achievable for you is one that you believe you can reach and have the means necessary in order to achieve. So if you plan to work out with a personal trainer but don’t have the discretionary dollars in your budget, that goal wouldn’t be achievable for you.

To determine whether your goal is achievable, ask yourself honestly if you believe you can achieve it and have all the resources (including time) available to make it happen.  Do you have (or will you be able to obtain) all the support, equipment, knowledge and resources needed to put your goals into action? Does this goal fall in line with your other priorities in your work or personal life? If not, how can you revise your goal to make it more realistic?

Australis College provides a variety of business and management programs aimed at providing individuals and businesses with the knowledge, skills and tools to make a positive impact in their job roles, careers and personal lives. The information in this article is from the BSB51915 Diploma of Leadership and Management. For more information on Australis and our programs please visit our website by clicking here for more information and to get started today.