Setting Ambitious Goals In Uncertain Times


Business is uncertain, we all get it. When you run a business for over 10 years you know that the best of plans are not going to happen exactly as you imagined them. But the focus of a good plan is to bring you closer to your goal, whatever it might be, simply by having the goal. But setting goals at the moment may feel a little off. We all get a bit of imposter syndrome at the best of times, perhaps never more so than being asked to set confident goals when the last thing you might be feeling is confident.

Let me share this summary I found on Positive Psychology, I think it captures the power of goals beautifully and a little positivity could be just the ticket for 2022;

Setting goals helps trigger new behaviors, helps guides your focus and helps you sustain that momentum in life. Goals also help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery. In the end, you can’t manage what you don’t measure and you can’t improve upon something that you don’t properly manage.

(Abstract from

But setting goals and targets for many businesses during the past 2 years has tested the resolve of many. And it isn’t all bad. No-one predicted the booms in shares or property at the start of the pandemic, quite the opposite, with many underinvested in the boom. And of course, our friends and colleagues in entertainment, travel or events have struggled despite their best efforts. There are many businesses that are the walking wounded, and who valiantly fight on.

Out of all this uncertainty, one thing is certain. Time marches on. This year is already marching on. If we are not setting ambitious goals and planning with clarity, then we are destined to hit mediocre outcomes. No one in business wants that.

So wherever you’re at in your business we want to celebrate the courage and tenacity of business owners and your teams. We are here to support you. We are also setting our goals and wanted to share some of the take outs of some interesting conversations we have been having. Enjoy.

New Year, Do You Need New Goals?

As we enter the new year, we are meeting a lot of business owners that are desperate to get back to their ambitious, excited and energetic selves. They are sick and tired of the malaise but feel cautiously restrained because of the ongoing changes in the world around us. We are having some great conversations about the benefit of goals and what goals we should set.

Do We Even Bother Setting Goals?

The reflexive answer is we have to. But perhaps a more thoughtful answer is to consider the types of goals we should set in such uncertain times. Can we strike a better balance between goals we can control against those we only hope we can influence the outcome? Goals become meaningless if we never get a sense of achievement from meeting them. Perhaps we are kind to ourselves by having some goals that stretch us, take us in the right direction but we are pretty sure we can meet.

What Sort Of Goals Can We Control?

When the outcome is uncertain, there is power in managing the inputs. It is on us what time we get up, how applied and focused we are, the diet, sleep and exercise we keep in the mix to maintain our energy levels. Bringing our best self to our work and lifting others up as best we can is the part we can control. We may get the same results or rewards as we would in ‘typical’ times, but the honour in putting our best selves forward is a certain reward.

And perhaps we pay more attention to the goals we could set that aren’t financial or business goals. Perhaps now is a great time to get control over the Life side of the Work/Life balance. These goals should see us support our family and friends more, they can bring deep satisfaction and lift up others who might need that little bit of help some days. Maybe you need lifting up. Maybe today is that day.

Goals Tied To Values

I enjoyed watching Don’t Look Up recently. While it centred on an environmental disaster, there were clear parallels to the pandemic and the low trust in the mechanism of government and big pharma to put public health first 5 minutes on social media strips bare the unhealthy debates on vaccinations, and highlight how hard it is to get to the truth by looking for any reliable data.

So I guess it is time to look inward. What are our values, who do we serve best, what do they need from us most, where do we spend our time? I loved the part of the Don’t Look Up movie where they all gather together to share a meal. In the darkest of days, with the material things in life reduced to what they are … things; the one thing they craved was human connection. An ear, a gentle touch, a familiar smile.

Can I Help You At All?

While many of us work from home again as 2022 kicked off, many of us were weary and disconnected. Our team are reaching out to connect with our network and we are hoping we can be that ear and familiar support to help ease the uncertainty.

For many of our partners we are hoping to be the catalyst to spark them back to being ambitious for the year despite the uncertainty. We have come a long way during this pandemic from the Chicken Little “Sky is falling” early days.

Let’s all stay positive, support and encourage each other to set ambitious goals and do the work to move us closer to great goals. And if you need help, please ask!


Mark Jones is Principal of Your Digital Solution, a Brisbane-based digital strategy agency.

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