Why focusing on better outcomes is not the answer to success (and what the answer really is)
Some say that when you are faced with a challenge, the answer to success is to focus on the outcome; on what you hope to achieve.
We say otherwise.
Whatever your goal might be, by focusing simply on achieving it, you ignore the things are within your control. Instead, you hope to be driven to success by an outcome that doesn’t yet exist, and which could easily be affected by several different factors.
A big part of our mantra is to do everything with positivity. But while they undoubtedly always lead to better outcomes, optimism, hopefulness and positivity will not prompt your ultimate success, unless accompanied by action.
This is why it is crucial that you focus on things that you can control, then pair your strategy with true positivity.
How to set the right sorts of goals
Goal setting is hugely important in business. While there is little to no point in focusing on the outcome of your personal challenge as a motivator, needless to say, it is worth acknowledging the outcome that you hope to achieve.
Once you have a set outcome in mind you can create your goals, categorise them as “outcome, performance or process”, then focus on the actions that will help you achieve them.
Let’s look at an example.
Your superior tells you they want to see an increase in profit margin by the end of the financial year (regardless of the worldwide pandemic!).
Already, you have a clear outcome goal: to increase profit margin (perhaps you add a percentage to quantify it).
Next, you set your process and performance goals. In this instance, your process goal could be to dedicate an extra hour every day to marketing. Then perhaps your performance goal would be to bring full concentration and vigour every time, or to instil the same enthusiasm in the staff you are leading in these new efforts.
If you were to focus solely on the outcome, rather than your performance and process goals, you would be at risk of several things:
- You might find yourself demotivated and give up too soon (especially if it looks like you might not quite reach that percentage you set).
- You might worry more about others’ decisions than your own activity.
- You might slip into a negative state which would further inhibit your work rate.
Why positivity makes all the difference
Multiple studies demonstrate that optimists are more persistent and more successful at achieving the goals they set. This is because they spend more time in a positive emotional state, which leads to resilience and Zest.