WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP YOUR GOALS TO YOURSELF (Shhh…keep some things to yourself)
Though there is a good amount of argument favoring sharing our goals publicly will improve the rate of goal attainment, I am cautious with that notion for I see value in the opposite. Here are my reasons:
In sharing goals publicly, people may have a tendency to give you advice and feedback that is unsolicited. This advice sometimes turns into dumping their own projections, negative thoughts, and experiences on you which may affect your self-confidence or even the possibility of your triumph. According to research, especially for beginners, receiving negative feedback may decrease the strength in the commitment to their goals.
That’s what almost happened to one of my coaching client who is at the very early stage of his career in Pharmacy. After earning his PharmD two years ago, he was trying to get a full-time hospital pharmacist position without having completed a residency. When he shared this goal with close friends and peers he kept getting the same response: “There is no way you can get a hospital gig without a residency especially in the current Pharmacy job market.” (According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent occupational outlook, the Employment of pharmacists is projected to decline 2 percent from 2020 to 2030). My coachee was told that even if he had a chance to find one, he would receive a very low hourly pay because he was a new graduate with no experience. In my career coaching, there is emotional work that accompanies the practical strategies that we follow through and after working together, not only was he able to get a job offer in a top healthcare institute in his area, he also received a higher hourly rate than he was initially hoping to get. It is in our best interest to avoid the pessimistic comments we receive from those in our environment. This applies broadly to all areas of our lives but especially in our careers; before embracing any impossibility in our mind, we should reach for more data and not count on just a few people’s experiences. Even though “the impossible idea” might get support from the majority, you can be that person that is excluded from a general statement depending on your strong desire to reach your objective. Another downside of oversharing your goals, you may end up with people asking about your progress. Why do I call it a downside? Isn’t this supposed to create a positive impact and accountability? Well, it depends. There is a sensitive balance between attachment vs non-attachment from the outcome when you’re working towards your target. Doing your best without attaching to the outcome can not be easily done, especially when you have people who keep asking about your results. For example, one of my clients was sharing all the little tiny details about her career goals with her parents, which was creating some sort of stress whenever she was going through a challenge in her path because she was having conflicts with her parents and spending all of her energy to convince them, which is as if creating another battlefield in an immense war to achieve. A simple question helped her… “Are your parents experienced professionals in your field and can they give qualified advice?” The answer was “No.” The second follow-up question was “ Okay, if their input has no tactical value other than creating more pressure on you, can you share your goal after you achieve it and how does that make you feel?” It was a total relief...
I am not suggesting not connecting with family or loved ones but sometimes even the closest people can create some sort of negative stress, all the while we are trying to stay motivated and positive on the challenges that we have embarked. Instead of sharing your goals randomly with people without any purpose, share them with a small group, a mentor, peer, or a coach whom you trust their judgment and are sure that they won't pull you down. Tasha Eurich, calls this group “loving critics” in her profound work on self awareness. Loving critics are whom we should seek feedback from in our professional, leadership, and career development. I think this is also applicable to the situations when we seek not only feedback but also advice and information regarding our career goals. It is not guaranteed that these opinions will always be positive and encouraging but it is up to us how we use this information as tactics to implement our next strategy or just ignore them.
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