We Miss Our Goals Because We Overlook and Miss Simple Opportunities


No one really knows why it was so hot in the building, but it was hot!  Usually the cooling system worked so well that people often complained about it being so cold it felt like working in a walk-in freezer.  Not on this day. Employees who usually dressed in layers in order to stay comfortable had shed what they could and were fanning themselves in desperation.

Something had to change. 

The boss asked: “Who is in charge of the temperature in this building?”

The receptionist replied: “You are.”

The boss walked to the back corner of the room, took a close look at the thermometer, moved the lever from 70 to 60 degrees and returned to his desk.

Nothing changed.  

An hour later, he picked up the phone and called the maintenance department.  A bead of sweat ran down the side of his face.  “Hello?  Can you send someone to repair our air conditioner.  Something is wrong and we are baking in here like stuffed turkeys!”

Moments later a young maintenance apprentice got off the elevator.  He gasped aloud as he felt the extreme heat in the room. Quickly, he moved to the thermostat and checked the settings.  Everything appeared to be in order.  Except one thing.  The on/off switch had been moved to the off position. He moved the switch and immediately cool air began to move through the room.

The employees cheered!  Something changed for the better.

The Moral of the Story: You can’t control anything in your life by staring at or complaining about the current conditions. Declaring what your goal is going to be does not change a thing. You only get the results you want when you “set” your goal and “turn on” your personal ambition by taking the right actions today.

You only get the results you want when you “set” your goal and “turn on” your personal ambition by taking the right actions today.

Personal Action Time: 

  1.  Identify your goal as simply as you possibly can.  Your goal might be a number (like the preferred temperature of 72) or a brief description of an outcome (such as taking a beachfront vacation in August).
  2. List the steps, actions, or tactics you must take to reach that goal. Prioritize that list and do at least one thing today.
  3. Measure your progress daily, weekly.  Setup the benchmarks that determine where you stand and how close you’re getting to the preferred outcome.  Just like the numbers on that thermostat tell you the real temperature, you need real objective data to tell you the truth about your success or failures.
  4. If things are not changing for the better – ask someone for their help.  Get an expert opinion. Ask a trusted peer to point out what you might be missing.
  5. No more excuses — turn on the switch and get the results you want.

~ Steven Iwersen, CSP

Copyright 2019, Steven Iwersen.  Steven is the author of Porcupine Philosophy: 365 Leadership Points to Ponder and The Porcupine Principles: How to Move Prickly People to Preferred Outcomes. 

Book Steven for your upcoming event or a special training session for your team – email [email protected] or call 913-406-3824.