One of the most common questions I get on the subject of Goal Setting is whether or not you should share your goal with others.
The short answer is… it depends.
I think the better questions is actually, “With whom should I share my Goals?”
There are clearly times when it is in your best interest to tell people and more specifically, there are times when you should share your goals with certain people.
For most of us, our goals and dreams are our most personal and sacred ‘possessions.’ However not everyone will treat them as such. Factor in that we all have different sensitivity levels when it comes to how we will be impacted if and when we receive negative feedback, criticism or even worse, the inevitable reaction from a harsh and heavy dream crusher.
Do I share every goal I set with anyone and everyone? Nope. But I do have some guidelines and recommendations for you to help you determine the appropriate people to share your goals with.
If you share your goals with no one, then you deprive yourself of the often valuable input and help that other people can offer.
Ten People With Whom You Should Consider Sharing Your Goals:
1. People who have goals of their own and more importantly, people who are actively engaged in advancing goals of their own. A person with no goals is probably not going to be able to relate to yours or offer much in the way of positive feedback and encouragement. They may lack the skills and ability to give your goals the value they deserve.
2. People who are engaged in the same area of your goal. This person is someone who may have something constructive to offer in the way of experience and feedback regarding your goal. Share your goal only if you respect their opinion on the particular area of your goal. For example, if you are an entrepreneur, a person who works in a 9-5 corporate environment might not be able to relate to your vision. But someone who works in a similar endeavor, probably has something to offer.
3. Connectors. These are people who are natural connectors of people. They live to help people bridge the gaps between you and someone who has the means and ability to assist you. They have a large network and enjoy introducing people they think should know each other. They don’t need to have a particular affinity in the area of your goal, but they may be able to make an introduction to someone who does.
4. Your Goal Buddy. A goal buddy is someone who will act as your accountability partner as you work towards your goal. You will tell them specific actions you are committed to taking and when, and you follow up with them at regular scheduled intervals to report your progress. Their role is to help you do what you said you were going to do.
5. Your Goals Coach. If you tell no one else, your Coach should be the person who knows everything about you and your goal. They can help you avoid common roadblocks and can help you achieve it much faster than if you went about it all by your lonesome. Your Coach will be able to spot patterns and limiting beliefs that may be holding you back that would take years to uncover by yourself. A Coach will keep you focused and on track.
6. The Listener. This is a safe person who may not have much to say about your goal one way or another, but they are a neutral sounding board with whom you can practice talking about your goal. Sometimes all they do is ask questions without judging your goal one way or another and this can be extremely helpful at helping you flush out your ideas and plans.
7. Your spouse/partner/significant other. I’m going to preface this by saying that this is the most sensitive area for most people. For some, your spouse is your greatest critic (I hope not), and for others, your spouse is your greatest encourager. If you are sensitive to the feedback you may get, I recommend sharing your goal but keeping it short and sweet and ask for what you need when you share the goal, “Honey it’s really important for me to share with you one of my deepest desires and I’m a little sensitive about it so please be gentle after I tell you. I just want you to listen because this goal is so important to me.” Ask for the specific kind of support you need, whether that’s extra time alone to work on it, feedback, encouragement and so on. If your significant other does not support your goals, and if that nurturing environment is lacking, I recommend you make it a top priority to take a closer look into that issue and resolve it as soon as possible. You must create a safe and loving environment between you and your partner, even when you disagree.
8. The Critic. We all know someone who looks at everything with a critical eye. If there is someone like this in your life, you know who this person is. The cup is always half empty and they are often pessimistic. They are the one who can find something wrong with everything and they freely tell you what it is, whether you ask or not. You may be asking, “Why on Earth would I want to tell someone whom I know will most certainly pick my goal apart?” That’s exactly why you may want to share your goal with that person. They will expose anything that even slightly resembles a flaw or weakness. This not for the faint at heart and if you know you are extremely sensitive about your goal, you may want to avoid telling the critic. If you can work with the feedback and not get tripped up by it or not take it personally, give it a whirl.
9. The Encourager. The encourager is someone who thinks everything is a miracle, including you. They are an endless stream of wind beneath your wings. Even though they may have concerns, they address them with compassionate encouragement, kindness and tenderness. They lift you with every word they speak and make you feel great about yourself, even when you make mistakes in life. They want your goal for you as much as you do. For me, this source of constant light was my mom. She often did not understand my ambitions, but by golly, she was my greatest supporter and cheerleader and she made me feel like I could do anything (thanks Mom).
10. Your Social Media Circle: Last year on my Facebook page, I publicly declared a goal of my own, that I would jog 365 miles in 365 days. Each time I completed a run, it posted to my Facebook page and with that, received a lot of encouragement, strengthened connections with people with an interest in health and fitness (which is always good) and this year we have a number of people joining us in the challenge. I have seen people go on a specific diet and post pictures of each meal they eat as a means of public accountability. They know their friends will ask them if they veer off track and for many people this is a powerful form of motivation. Others post their weight and measurements.
When thinking about sharing your goals with someone, ask yourself, “Does it serve me to share my goal? Does it serve my goal to share it with this person?”
Finally, whenever someone tells you their goals, be the person who treats the person and their goal with great compassion, care and respect. Regardless of whether or not it is a goal that you like or would ever pursue for yourself, even if you think the goal is impossible, remember it is that person’s goal and they thought enough of you and entrusted you with it enough to share it.
“You can criticize or encourage. One kills, the other gives life.” Jill Koenig
Which type of feedback do you think is most empowering?
Your support and encouragement might mean the world to them. Your input might be the difference between whether or not they pursue the goal and achieve it. Especially when it comes to your children, your spouse and your loved ones, be the wind beneath their wings, not the dream crusher who blasts it to pieces. If they pursue it and fail to achieve it, they will certainly learn some valuable lessons that they can apply to future endeavors. That is priceless and much more valuable than if they never attempted it at all.
Never impose your own fears, limiting beliefs or limitations on someone else. And if you’re the one on the receiving end, do not allow other people’s limitations to become your own.
If you have nothing else to offer, you can always offer kindness and encouragement. It costs nothing to give and it’s one of the most compassionate, loving, long lasting gifts you can give to another.
Live Your Dreams,
Share your thoughts below: Do you share your goals with others?