When we focus on the question, “What do I want?” it is common to set goals.  In the TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) ™ work, we encourage putting your focus on setting outcomes more than setting goals.

We are often asked, “what is the difference between a goal and an outcome?”  Goals are specific and often measurable action steps while outcomes are a way of being.  Common goal statements are:

  • “I will lose 20 pounds”
  • “I will get out of debt”
  • “I will stop fighting with my partner”

Goals are concrete steps based upon something we don’t like and wish was different about our life.  When we focus on what we don’t like, our reptilian brain kicks in and immediately gets defensive.  For example, if you think about losing 20 pounds, you subconsciously say to yourself, “I don’t like my body.  I know I shouldn’t eat this or that.”

Without realizing it you are making yourself a Victim of your own thinking—focusing on what you don’t like or don’t want.  This pulls you into the reactive Victim Orientation and tends to set up the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) ™.

An outcome is focused on what you want (rather than what you don’t want).   Creating outcome language calms the reptilian brain and sparks positive emotions that motivate you.  Outcome language might sound like this:

  • “I choose to focus on optimal health and eating”
  • “I choose to create financial freedom”
  • “I will listen to and respect my partner”
Goals are what you do.  Outcomes are a way of being.  To help clarify your outcome, a powerful question to ask yourself is, “If I accomplished this goal, what would it allow me to do, be or have?”  Once you answer that question you can focus on goals in service to the true outcome you want for your life and work.

Take a break from focusing just on concrete goals.  Rather than persecuting yourself for not reaching your goal, focus instead on defining the language that describes what you really want.  Doing this will give yourself a better chance of creating the life really you want. Your brain, and YOU, will love the difference.