Friday, May 09, 2008

Gaps

By now we hopefully all understand the importance of goal setting as a means to success. We know that we need to set realistic goals that we will bite off in small increments with a structure that will create stepping stones which ultimately lead to our long term goal. In our goal setting however, there are two hidden gaps, one which will continue to facilitate achievement and one that will cause declines in our self esteem.

The purpose of goal setting is to help us maintain achievement motivation, to keep us on the path to large success by experiencing small successes. When done correctly we realistically know exactly where we are at, where we want to be, and how we plan to get there. What this creates is a gap between where we are and where we eventually will be; essentially we are creating an achievement gap. This achievement gap is filled over time through our ability to create successes that keep us on the right path and with an awareness that brings us back to our path when we get sidetracked or experience failure.

Ultimately our ability to fill the space between where our reality dictates we are and what we are trying to achieve is directly related to the size of our achievement gap. If we are able to keep the achievement gap within striking distance we will eventually see that the hard work we are putting into our goals is paying off, associate positively with our effort, and narrow the gap until we experience our ultimate success. When this is accomplished we look to new challenges and set our sights to new standards.

Within our achievement gap is potential for disaster and we unconsciously turn our achievement gap into a disappointment gap. Crossing the fine line in gaps between achievement and disappointment is done in two ways; 1) by setting our sights beyond our skill set, and 2) by continually pushing the gap further away and never letting ourselves experience ultimate success.

When we set our goals beyond our skill set we continually keep our nose out of the water but don’t gain distance between our current situation and where we are trying to get to. Instead of experiencing small successes and seeing that our journey is coming to a close, we lose the ability to work smart and instead just push harder trying to force something that is unavailable. Over time our achievement gap is filled with disappointment and frustration, ultimately leading to our unwillingness to continue on.

More common but less obvious is when we begin to successfully move through our achievement gap, but readjust and create new end goals. In doing this we never complete our goals, we never feel the satisfaction of ultimate achievement, and we never have time to appreciate our journey because we never come in contact with an end point. Because our chase is eternal, we at some point are faced with the real fact that our goals are not getting any closer, in fact they keep getting pushed further away from us. We fail to recognize what we are doing because we are constantly trying to achieve, therefore we feel like we are making forward progress. The fact is that we are making progress, but we are also pushing our gap from achievement into disappointment.

When we create a disappointment gap we lose the ability to feel success and lose motivation because the need to achieve is replaced with the disappointment of not achieving. Success is dependant on feeling successful, on experiencing the ego rush of accomplishment, and when we create an environment that makes this impossible, we have no choice but to feel disappointed in our efforts.

As we move forward in our lives and look to create a better self, it is imperative that we keep the gap between reality and hope an achievement gap. Once we create a disappointment gap we will struggle to not only find out what is happening, but we will not find a favorable journey once we meet our reality.

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