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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

3 reasons goal-setting sucks in the 21st century and 4 tips [Wise Wednesdays]

Think about some of the best moments or opportunities of your life or career: chances are there was an element of spontaneity and surprise. Perhaps it seemed like a problem to start with, then turned into a great opportunity.

This week I came home and found a copy of the Institute of Leadership and Management journal which I wasn’t expecting. I’d forgotten I’d written a piece on happiness a few months ago which appeared in this quarter’s issue. It wasn’t a goal. The opportunity came about through a series of conversations and the development of relationships around values I care about: freedom, truth and deep fulfilment.

When we’re in flow, our goal-setting mind is switched off. Masterful musicians and artists do this. You’ve probably experienced moments of flow in particular activities yourself. You may have even experienced a wider sense of synchronicity and ease in periods of your life.

Our culture disconnects us from flow as a way of being. Goals and results are idolised. But we can remember and shift out of goal-setting to find a middle way between going with the flow and guiding the flow.

Here are three reasons to relax about goal-setting:

1. Uncertainty is endemic to the 21st century

We live in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) as a result of globalisation, technological developments, extreme weather events, political instability and so on. Therefore, long-term (and short-term goals) go out of date pretty quickly.

2. Results don’t come from goals, they come from action

One of the most common concerns I hear from high achievers is whether they’ll give up on life if they let go of goals. How will they continue taking action if they have nothing to aim for? But as they trust and let go they realise this: you will NEVER stop taking action. It’s impossible. But you may start taking action in a different way - a more inspired and authentic way.

3. You have an inner-guidance system operating 24/7

In each moment, you can tune into your inner-wisdom and sense what’s needed in the moment. If you’re unsure of what this looks like, experiment by scheduling an hour or two in your day or week where you operate this way. Just allow yourself to deal with what seems most alive and relevant in the moment. The insights you’ll gain from this practice alone could remove overwhelm and confusion from your life forever and restore unshakable confidence in yourself.

You might ask but if I don’t set goals, how do I know what to do? How do I organise myself? How do I know I’m on track? Well, the short answer is that your inner-guidance system, your intuition will kick in and tell you. It’s much more reliable in dealing with the VUCA world we live in than any goal-setting strategy. Malcolm Gladwell made an elegant case for this in his book Blink if you want to explore this further.

In the meantime:

  • Have a plan and expect it to change, like a great entrepreneur or scientist!

  • Write down no more than 1 to 3 things to do each morning for the day

  • Work with sensing opportunities rather than setting goals

  • Connect to your values and bring them into daily conversations

On my journey, I’ve learned that happiness is a practice, not an acquisition. So I do my best to practise every day and let go of the rest.

Have a great week,


p.s. Ready to cultivate confidence and turn uncertainty into the opportunity for a more authentic career and life? Join us for a special Leaders Circle on the 14th of December at Harley Street, London, 2-5pm. There are 6 spaces left.

More info below:

Goodbye Resolutions, Hello Inspired Living! 14/12/2019, 2-5pm.

Ever wonder why some people become overwhelmed where others remain calm? Albert Camus once said that the only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. The possibility for us in everyday life and in dealing with a culture that is fast, uncertain and at times overwhelming is to centre ourselves and live from a deeper dimension of being.

Join me for an afternoon of transformational coaching on December 14th, 2-5pm UK at Harley Street, to strengthen your resilience to face whatever 2020 brings by centring in your true power and living from this source, as a new solar decade begins.

What you'll learn and practise:

  • Meditation and mindfulness to stay centred alone and with others

  • Why resolutions don't work so you can save time and energy

  • Key principles of inspired living to energise and clarify the mind and body

  • Mindful review of the past year and decade

  • Capturing the wisdom and insights of your journey so far to avoid repeating the same mistakes

  • Envisioning possibilities and learning their deeper meaning so you're clear on what's most important to you and why

  • Working through barriers to insight and aligned energy flow to maintain momentum once you're in flow

  • Practices to abide in your true essence nature and live from guiding inspiration moment-to-moment, so you're never confused.

This is a small group, experiential event so:

  • You can bring any question on the topic

  • We'll use powerful coaching exercises and tools

  • You'll also get to meet likeminded people and learn from their journey

  • Some of the deepest insights you’ll get are from witnessing other people’s process.

New decade, new style of action

You might believe that to achieve goals you need to effort and struggle. But what if results came from alignment with your deeper potential, vision and values? What if taking action this way anchored you into inspiration rather than struggle? This is how we’ll prepare for 2020 at the Leaders Circle. As we enter 2020, this is a chance to review the past year and decade without pressure, and gain insight from noticing how your life and career has been unfolding. You’ll have the space to articulate your deeper vision, values and dreams as well as work on limiting thought patterns that might get in the way.

Who it's for

  • Individuals with a professional track record sensing it is time for a change but unsure what

  • Service-driven individuals who want to make a difference without burning out

  • Anyone with an open mind willing to question their limiting assumptions

Who it's not for

  • Individuals with no experience of personal development or self-awareness work (e.g. coaching, meditation, journaling, etc.)

What participants have said

"It was incredibly powerful and enlightening." Ms Jo - Surgeon and Fulbright Scholar.

It was a hugely supportive and positive experience.” Dr E - NHS Consultant Ophthalmologist and National Excellence Award recipient.

"It was really useful to share the experiences with each other and to have time to work through what it would look like to use the strategies we discussed." Dr Matt. Physician and Associate Professor in Global Public Health.

You can sign up here.

Hope you can join us!

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