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There’s a wealth of evidence that having goals and setting them is an important process. And
that goals are best considered as performance goals rather than outcome goals - principally
because a performance goal is something that the individual can be in charge, whereas an
outcome is often dependent on other people and/or other things happening as well.
The difficulty with goal setting is not the process of setting or creating goals, it is ACTING on
achieving those goals. The alignment mode you are in can make a substantial difference to your
success or otherwise of achieving your goals. There are three major modes of alignment found in
Mark Forster’s excellent book entilted ”How to make your dreams come true“. These are ”Push
mode” , ”Pull mode” and ”Drift mode”-
combined together as they often can be, creates a fourth
type, one I call the ”Pushmepullyou mode”.
If you have to drive others towards an objective, even drive yourself towards it, I call this being
in push mode.
Push mode is typified by focusing your attention on problems that need to be resolved, or
things that need fixing. Many people use a ‘todo’ list or a GTD (getting things done) system.
Are you one of them? Take a look at yours now and see if it is a list of problems.
The fun, creative or enjoyable things rarely make it onto a ‘todo’ list - rather there is a tendency
to say that once the list is done and I have time, then I’ll do the fun stuff.
What’s more, you will already know that the things we pay attention to are the things that grow
and the things we don’t pay attention to tend to fade away. So if we focus on problems (call
them challenges or issues if you must but they are still the same thing), we will find that the
problems grow. So here’s a radical thought, if we focus our attention on interesting, exciting,
fun things, they will grow. And our problems, won’t they fade away?
“But you don’t understand. I have to get this report done, I have a ton of emails to clear, I have
to attend this meeting, I have calls to make to angry customers, and if I don’t I’ll get fired. I
simply don’t have time to talk to people, take it easy, smell the flowers…”
And when your stress levels have made you so sick that you can’t work, let alone afford the
hospital bills you’ll feel what exactly? Accomplished? Valued? Important?
Nothing more satisfying than lying in bed recovering from a heart attack knowing how much
your contribution is missed.
I’m not saying that these things (some of them anyway) don’t need to be done but that by not
focusing on them, they will (and do) fade away. Oftentimes, they just get done. Without stress,
In Push Mode, we are continuously pushing ourselves (and others) towards our goals relying
on our own effort to keep us on our straight and planned track. Obstacles that we face in our
way are enemies to progress which may force us to re- plan our route. Our motivation stems
form outside forces, the concrete and measurable goal is frequently thought to be motivation
enough and any resistance to achieving the goal, self-inflicted or external resistance, is just
In Push Mode, when progress is slow, we re-plan and consider time management a priority.
Only, unless you have discovered the secret to warping the space-time continuum, you cannot
actually manage time.