Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

Stretch Goals in Business



Goals are the challenging targets we set for ourselves and strive towards. They are the things we wish to achieve.
What fascinates me is the way we respond to the goals we set. 

Too easy and we get bored. Too hard and we give up. 

In other words, good goals are a little bit like the three bears and their porridge – not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
To make a distinction, stretch goals are a little bit different in two ways:
1. They are usually harder than normal goals, and
2. They involve novelty (creative thinking, or total overhaul).
Stretch goals are for the brave.
They help you challenge yourself to get better at what you do.
And they are a bit like highly concentrated dishwashing liquid - you only need one or two drops to get amazing results.
Some people call them ‘impossible goals’.
I like to think of them as hard, scary but believable goals.
And in business, just as in life, stretch goals are a wonderful tool to help you move through fear, challenges and self-doubt.

What Is A Stretch Goal?

According to Harvard Business Review, a stretch goal is a blend of extreme difficulty and extreme novelty.

Extreme difficulty means going beyond your current capability and performance.
This could mean going all out to lose 15kg, or holding a big marketing event to attract 100 people to your business, or just saving an extra $300 this month.

Extreme novelty means working differently, creatively, following new paths or approaches never tried before.
For you, this could mean trying a totally new exercise approach, or making a complete change in your business model.

Why Set A Stretch Goal?

You’re probably thinking that the whole stretch goal idea sounds a bit hard, a bit crazy and a bit scary. It sounds like a risk. 
And it is ALL those things.
BUT the results you get from a stretch goal are worth it:
courage 
determination 
agility 
the ability to manage risks, and
self-belief.
In summary, a stretch goal is a hard goal that really pushes you outside your comfort zone so you can truly discover what you’re capable of.
It requires you to be creative, resourceful and focused, to be courageous and determined, and well organised.
Top performers know that failure is part of the process so more than anything, stretch goals are an exercise in developing self-belief, acceptance and persistence by achieving bigger things than you thought were possible.

Choosing a Stretch Goal

When choosing an audacious stretch goal, it makes sense to select an area in which you have a good chance of succeeding, right?
Think about an area of your business that you find super challenging, but which is within your reach.
Maybe it’s the courage to speak at a networking group – if live conversation is generally a strength of yours already.
Maybe it’s submitting an article to an online magazine you’d love to be featured in, like Mamma Mia, or Thrive Global.
Maybe it’s running a free 5-day challenge to people in your audience and getting in touch with everyone you know to help you promote it.
Maybe it’s asking for help from a mentor to get some tech set up, or attending a course, so you can finally get your business going.

Alternatives to Stretch Goals

If you’re not quite in the right headspace or resource base for a stretch goal, you can choose something different.
Here are some ideas:
Choose a smaller goal that you KNOW you can win (confidence)
Choose a small-risk goal that might be a loss but that will teach you something (knowledge and growth) 
Create efficiencies in what you’re doing now (improve, enhance)
Create a buffer of time, money or other resources to help you overcome your current obstacles (build a buffer)

Smaller goals can still give you valuable belief-building wins and valuable lessons.
Recently, I challenged myself to do 30 minutes of exercise every day of the month. I managed to exercise every day, but it wasn’t always 30 minutes.
So, I won most days, and lost a few.
But I learned SO much in that process.
Committing to exercise no matter what forced me to be agile when situations changed, so I could still fit in some exercise. 
It made me schedule time each day to fit it in.
It made me think creatively to overcome my barriers to exercise: tiredness, rain, cold weather, a busy schedule.
Most of all, this challenge taught me to anticipate disruptions and plan for them so I could fit in some exercise every day, no matter what.
The result?
Yes, I ‘closed my rings’ on most days (still wearing the Apple watch).
But I also sharpened my agility, and I learned more about how I work and planning, how to get the best out of myself in any situation, how to persist, and I enjoyed more work life balance, a better mood, more focus and a sense of achievement. 
Stretch goals can be something that boost your business to the next level, by helping you muster the courage to propel yourself past, around and over the obstacles.

Coaching for Mental Wellbeing




As Health and Wellness Coaches we know that our main focus is supporting people in adopting healthier habits that will improve their physical health.  Right?  And it is tempting for outsiders to think that our work focuses purely on nutrition, physical activity and maybe sleep habits. But the reality is, we work in a much wider space.

Let’s review the model we learn. Our job is to find out –
What a client wants?  
Why is that important?  
What is getting in the way?  

The first two of key to helping a client change.  Unless they know where they’re heading and why they’re going there, they are unlikely to move forward. But let’s consider the last factor.
Do you recall the four categories of common obstacles?  Barriers can be -
Situational
Behavioural
Cognitive, 
Emotional

And we all agree that it is helpful to recognise that any one of these areas could present a challenge. 

My belief is that the majority of our work needs to focus on helping people overcome those obstacles.  Not just work out what changes they need to make, but base those changes on the things that are stopping them.  And guess what? Which category do you think is most commonly reported?  Well, actually all of them.  But the commonality might become clear when we take a look at these examples:

Situational – clients might have multiple responsibilities with childcare, aged parents, work etc.
Behavioural – clients may use social media before bed to unwind from the day – result?  Poor sleep
Cognitive – clients tell themselves that they are out of control, can never get on top of things, are not good enough!
Emotional – out of the above thinking comes emotions like fear, anxiety and hopelessness

What is the end result of all of the above?  STRESS!  The important point here is that unless we can get control of our mental wellbeing, our physical wellbeing will not be good.  Unless we can help clients calm their minds, they will not be able to harness the resources they need to succeed.

So where do we start?

Step 1 – recognise that a client’s mental state is part of our work.  That does not mean becoming psychologists or psychotherapists.  It means listening for and observing signs that a client is struggling with how they are feeling.  And enquiring and acknowledging those feelings.  

Step 2 – find out what it would take for them to feel somewhat better.  We often presume that if they could achieve their (health) goals they would automatically feel better, but it is unlikely that this will occur until they get their mental wellbeing under control

Step 3 – help them implement small changes that will help calm their minds now.  It may be something as simple as rethinking (or reframing) a situation.  Or perhaps enlisting help from someone in their circle.  You may be that person, but on your own, not enough.

Step 4 – support them in feeling better about their situation as it is now and recognising what is in their power to change and what is not.  This conversation may uncover some previously hidden possibilities.  

Never forget that your ideas for them may not be as good as their own.  Trust their ability to become self-aware and support them in trying out new ways of doing things, or thinking about things. 
Normalise their stress but don’t downplay it.  These are challenging times, but life will continually throw up challenges.  Come armed with your toolbox of experiments, not solutions.
Show them your belief that they can, if not change, then tweak their mindset.  Sometimes the smallest adjustments can create the biggest wins!
Always remember that a health and wellness coach covers mental wellbeing as well as physical wellbeing.  

Note: if you feel that you could benefit from some more training in this area, why not enquire about our Understanding Stress (for you and your client) programme.




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