KATE TRAFFORD, Speaker, The Academy for Chief Executives
Our theme is effortless success. What we're really interested in is: on the one hand, what is it costing you to achieve on the level that you're achieving. And that might be costing you personally in terms of health and wellbeing, in terms of relationships, in terms of time for yourself, time to play, time to just explore, and all of that good stuff.

Or it might be just in terms of sustainability within your business. It's like, 'if I don't keep up this pace, is it all just going to stop?' On the other hand aswell, what we're interested in talking to you about is how authentic do you feel you're able to be in your roles in business and perhaps even in your life as a whole. So how much of the real you is just flowing through everything that you say and do.

Our work is all about what are the small things that make a big difference in the context of all of that. So when we do this as perhaps part of a half day slot we end up going through about seven or eight different aspects of goal-setting, where small changes make a really big difference. So I'm just going to mention a couple of those right now, just to get the cogs whirring, for you to think about how does that relate to the ones I've got on my list.

That might be personal goals that you're working towards or that might be, think also about your business planning cycle, because in a workshop we'd be talking to you about both of those aspects.

And the 'I'll be happy when' pattern goes something like this. Look at your life and say something like, well, I'm here now and where I want to be is over there. And when I'm over there, I'll be happy. Happier than I am right now. So you set a goal from that place. It's like, and when I achieve this goal, then I'll be happy.

So that might be something like, when I get that next promotion, then I'll feel really secure. When I get X amount of money in my bank account, then I'll feel abundant. When I've got the relationship of my dreams, then I'll feel blissful.

But the problem with that pattern is, it's actually a negative affirmation because what you're actually saying to your unconscious mind is I can't be happy now because I haven't achieved the goal.

So what that pattern creates, unwittingly, is long, dry spells punctuated by the occasional Wahoo! and then long, dry spells. Basically, that's if your lucky. Because for most of us, by the time we get close to achieving the goal, we have another one in mind that's beyond that and so quite often it just turns into long, dry spell.

The other problem with that particular pattern is the state that you are saying you will have when you get the goal is invariably the very state you need to be in, in order to do what's needed to achieve the goal.

So you have to get happy now. You have to feel good about yourself now. You have to feel secure now, or you aren't going to do the things that are going to get you to that future point anyway.

So when we do this as a workshop what we do is lots of work around how to make that happen now, so it's happy, happy, happy, even happier, even happier, just gets better, I'm on a roll. That's the way you're living your life.

One of the other things we like talking about in this workshop is the whole area of certainty and uncertainty. Think about the last fourteen/fifteen months from a business point of view. Who when they were doing their business planning eighteen months ago would have predicted what was going to happen over the last twelve to fifteen months - banks collapsing left, right and centre, and so-on - madness. The style of goal-setting and planning that is like, OK, let's set our goals for the next twelve months and then work towards them. What that relies on is a certain amount of certainty right now or predictability about the way that things are going to unfold. It's crystal ball gazing time. But what you actually need is a goal-setting and planning process that has uncertainty built into it, ok? So yes you might have your once a quarter look ahead, crystal ball gazing session, but then we pull it right back now into this moment right now and what that does is, if you're always making your decisions from this moment now, uncertainties - far from being a "threat" to the plan - which is quite honestly out-of-date as soon as the ink's dry, is it not - instead of that being a threat, the uncertainties that you could not have anticipated become the opportunities that you get to capitalize on.