be accomplishment goals, but others should be learning goals. Accomplishment goals are the types of things
you write on performance reviews and
on resumes, the kind you are probably most used to setting. They might
include things like submitting a paper,
earning an award, receiving a grant, getting that job offer, etc. Learning goals
are the ones that make you stretch past
your normal comfort zone and, regardless of the outcome, allow you to grow
from the experience. For instance, that
time you forced yourself to go to a networking event where you were uncomfortable, but you made the effort (and it
felt awkward). The time you volunteered
to take a leadership position that you
felt you weren’t totally qualified for and
were turned down. Or the time you submitted an application for a job for which
you didn’t have all the required experience and didn’t get a call back. Learning
goals can also apply to things you feel
you deserve and are qualified for but are
January was National Mentoring Month. This provided me with a
time to reflect on all the things the mentors in my life have taught me.
I have had the good fortune of
learning from some outstanding mentors. They’ve inspired me through their
words and actions. They were and are
great examples of success and empowerment. They help others to achieve their
goals. Most importantly, they taught me
the importance of authenticity, which
is often described as being true to your
values, mission, personality, and unique
strengths; respecting boundaries; and
knowing and owning your story.
Even with this, still there are moments when I find gems of advice I wish
I had heard much earlier.
Remembering A Time I Failed
While I was in grad school, there was
a great big goal I worked very hard at
that ultimately I failed to accomplish. I
had not just put in many hours; I had
taken a lot of calculated risks, and I had
poured my heart into achieving this
goal. Alas, the goal had been too lofty.
It wasn’t for lack of effort; it just wasn’t
going to happen. I felt I had let my family down. I also felt I let myself down.
To be honest, it is still painful to think
about. It made me cautious about approaching and taking calculated risks on
similar goals. I punished myself for even
attempting the goal. I did not want to be
hurt that badly again.
What I Wish I Had Known
Looking back, the one piece of advice I
wish I had received much earlier is this:
In life you should deliberately make
two types of goals. Some goals should
scared to do, like that time you negotiated
for a higher salary, and you were scared
to do it, but you knew you were worth it.
Setting learning goals invites discomfort. Doing something new almost
always involves attempts that don’t work
out. Also, the process requires expanding your ideas about who you are or what
you can do. Why set such goals? Because they may help you grow more and
achieve more than you think you can.
The Significance of Learning
The value of applying learning goals
was reflected in the advice I read in a
Harvard Business Review article titled,
“The Authenticity Paradox,” by Her-minia Ibarra, an organizational behavior
professor at London Business School.
(Her related TED Talk is at https://www.
The point I took away is that successful
leadership requires both accomplishment and learning goals. Although au-
The Best Advice I Never Got