S:0690 Distinction: Real Goal vs. Tool Goal

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


Goals can be useful. The issue is whether your goals are real or merely tools.

A Tool Goal is one which will get you to an outcome that you believe will then set you up to get your Real Goal. In other words, it’s a tool, not the real goal. With a Tool Goal, instead of going directly for what you really want you make it harder by working obliquely.

“I’d never do that,” you might say. Really? Do you have any money goals? Do you think you need to first get the money to then get what you really want? That would be a Tool Goal. Why not go for the Real Goal and let the money — or whatever it takes to get the real goal — show up?

By the way, a Tool Goal is not the same as an incremental goal. An incremental goal can be a reasonable step along the path to your Real Goal. For instance, lose five pounds next month to get to your ultimate weight goal in one year. The difference is you know that an incremental goal is only a step in the right direction.

Most of us have been taught to work, effort, and struggle to get what we want. To someone with that built-in belief, working toward a Tool Goal seems normal. Unfortunately it also has the effect of limiting options on how the goal must be realized.

A Real Goal is a definition of what you want to Be, Do, or Have. It is the payoff. For real.


Coaching Point: What keeps you from going for what you really want?


Copyright 2008 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.