Are You Stuck? Change Your Goal!

What to Do When You Can’t Reach Your Goal

Have you ever felt stuck?  You can’t achieve a goal, no matter how hard you try? Everything is working against you, no matter what you do.  Perhaps, it time to let go of the goal and create a new one.  We can all learn a lesson from a leader who let go of his life-long goal and succeeded in a way he never imagined.

Why Shackleton Changed His Goal

Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic Explorer, found himself in an untenable situation in 1914.  Having secured the money for a ship, men and supplies, he was ready to make the first walk across Antarctica, when the unexpected happened. His ship became “stuck in the ice” for several months and eventually sunk.  His goal of exploring the Antarctic was dashed and, yet, he quickly formed a new goal, to bring every one of his men and himself home alive(28 in total).

Rather than display his utter disappointment, he devoted himself to his new goal, the survival of his crew.  He created a stable environment for his men by keeping them busy, productive and relatively happy for almost two years.  The men exercised their dogs, held athletic competitions, ate and worked together, and had some great parties!

They not only made it back alive, but many enlisted into World War I as well as joined him on future expeditions.  In contrast, another Arctic explorer, Stefansson, kept his goal of exploration when his ship was stuck on a North Pole expedition.  He disserted the crew, leaving many to die.

Shackleton’s first goal, to explore Antarctica, was never realized, but he has been recognized as one of the greatest leaders of the last century.  His ability to change  goals and to save the lives of his his team, despite his own personal disappointment, is a great example of true leadership.

Know When To Change A Goal

Ask yourself these two important questions:

  1. What is driving and supporting my goal? (Opportunities, money, time, resources, others)
  2. What is resisting my goal? (Obstacles, lack of money, time, resources, others)

Once you have answered the two questions, you must realistically assess where you have more influence and control to reach your goal.