Thursday, January 14, 2010

Maybe You Should Be More Specific

I was cleaning out some drawers recently and found one of my favorite Mother's Day cards of all time. The front of the card says, "Mom, remember when you told me you wanted me to grow up and be somebody?" When you open the card it says," Maybe you should have been more specific." I love this sense of humor but there's really more to it than just a funny punch line. The fact is, that whether we are inspiring our children, setting goals for ourselves or interacting with co-workers in the workplace, being more specific is actually a good idea. Accountability is the buzz word of the year but along with it is setting measureable goals. Somehow, in my experience, this is something that most people seem very reluctant to do. We like to talk about goals in a vague and general way. We like to get all involved in the process but don't want to take time to revise it. We like to talk with authority about how this or that plan or strategy isn't working, but when we are held accountable with facts, no one much wants to take the time or effort to put them together and analyze them. We'd rather rely on our own intuition and perception of the problem rather than focusing on solutions. Many times as a counselor when I suggest a possible solution, the first reaction is 'yes, but I've already tried that and it doesn't work.' When you get right down to the facts though, what this really means is "I made a half-hearted effort for a minimal amount of time and just as I expected I did not get the 100% change in behavior that I want and expect so I quit doing it." Are you able to change your behavior that quickly? I'm not. Real change, real accomplishment of goals takes time and consistent effort. Oh yes,and if you really want to become the person you have in mind, maybe you should be more specific...

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