leadership incorporated blog

June 7, 2010

Inspired to Succeed: Are You Being Specific Enough?

Ever feel like you’re going nowhere fast?

This is easy to change but few people do.

We tend to just speed up, work harder and not get there even faster.

This is true whether you are a leader in a $500 Million+ organization or are in transition and looking for work – or anything in between.

What gets in people’s way more than anything (except their mindset) is that they haven’t developed their ability to get specific.

Let me give you a pedestrian example:

Have you ever set a goal to lose weight?

Were you able to lose it?

If so, what happened once you reached the goal?

Many people who have gained and lost and gained and lost (or who continually diet without losing weight) have yet to realize that when they say, think and act on “losing weight” they aren’t being specific enough.

Most people approach their business and success in the same nonspecific way and get the same non-results. I’ve seen CEOs whose lack of specificity results in maintaining the status quo at a time when change is essential to survival. And I see people looking for work whose lack of specificity keeps them from even knowing what steps they can take that will result in paying work.

What keeps people from getting specific?

They don’t know how to do the work of getting specific. There are ways to improve your ability to clearly define your goals. I see a lot of people who haven’t yet learned how to do this, yet who think they should already know what the specifics are. When they don’t already know, and think they should, they get stuck. I’ll be talking more about some of these over the coming weeks.

They are afraid to get specific. Many people doubt they will actually achieve the specifics they set. They don’t want the disappointment,  so they simply don’t engage in the process. Ironically, they live with a low grade of perpetual disappointment as a result.

They think the first specifics they come up with will be the ones they’re stuck with. Critical to the process of getting specific to create what you want is knowing that creating what you want involves jumping in, daring to have clear opinions, making decisions and knowing that those decisions are not cast in granite.

The first steps in getting specific are internal.

1. Open to the possibility that you shouldn’t know the specifics until you’ve gone through the process for finding clarity.

2. Dare to believe success is not just possible but likely. It’s amazing how when you combine a clear and specific vision of where you’re going, a plan for setbacks, and commitment to the long-run your odds of success dramatically increase.

3. Give yourself permission to get messy. Go ahead and define specifics that might be the “wrong” direction. I think you’ll find there is no such thing as a wrong direction. Even if you end up doing a 180 and redefining specifics that are exactly the opposite of where you began, that first move will have played a key role in sending you in the “right” direction. The only wrong move is not getting into the process of defining the specifics.

4. Trust your gut. You have the specifics inside you if you are willing to look.

Next time let’s talk about some tools for setting specific goals.



  1. Hello Sharon,
    We met at WRS a few years ago and I wanted to let you know I enjoyed reading this post. It’s clear, interesting, and gives me enough information to do what it suggests. I love your writing. What advice could you offer to me to improve my writing?

    Comment by Brushed by Grace — June 7, 2010 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

  2. Forgot to leave my name. Grace Comisso

    Comment by Brushed by Grace — June 7, 2010 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

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