MY JOURNEY FROM SLACKARD TO STAND-OUT; How to Use Goal Setting for Success

By in Links, Mind and Money, Wealth | 24 comments

 Goal Setting-The Secret to Success

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success”. Pablo Picasso

I am what you would call a “late bloomer.” As a teen, I was overcome with stress and fear of failure. Although I’ve always been intelligent, I never thought I was smart enough or competent enough. It didn’t help that I attended a high school filled with overachievers.

My strategy; avoid competing, do the minimum, and slide by. I would not recommend this route to anyone. Nevertheless, I graduated in the top 25% of my class, went to college and graduated with a degree in Economics. Too scared to compete for a professional job, and afraid I didn’t measure up, I went for a clerical job fresh out of school.

 Use goal setting to stand out

During my 20’s I recognized that a clerical job was not a good fit, and that I could do more with my life. By my mid 20’s, after a two year stint as a realtor, I decided to go to graduate school in Counseling and Higher Education Administration. With the encouragement of my new husband, I went after challenges that in no way did I feel qualified for. I got a competitive internship in the university counseling clinic which led to being selected for a  permanent job at a major university. Mind you, I gradually began to let go of the fear that I was unqualified and inept. Over time, with hard work and discipline I got promoted and did very well in mid level management at the university.

Flash forward a few decades.

Had a baby, took some time off, and moved around the country a bit.

Meanwhile, secondary passions of investing, economics, and finance took center stage. Concurrent to my parenting priority, I delved into investing. I built a decent investment portfolio, managed it, and created additional financial security for our family.

Through my financial expertise, I began work as a portfolio manager for a privately held company where I grew into a principal role and chief financial officer. By this time, our daughter was on her way, and in spite of tremendous fears I took the plunge and decided to go back to school for an MBA in finance. Mind you, I was not young at this point, but well into mid-adulthood.

After graduating with a near perfect average, and continuing as my portfolio manager and financial officer’s job, I wanted to give back. That’s when I applied to teach Investments at a local college. From there I continue to teach and attempt to pass on not only my love of finance, but also some of my life lessons. 

Where does Goal Setting Fit in?

There is magic in goal setting. I could not have achieved any of my success without goals. For some reason, the simple act of writing something down, no matter how outlandish the goal might be, starts the process of making it a reality. Of course, writing the goal down and then following up by doing nothing is pointless. But the act of clearly communicating to yourself what you want to accomplish is crucial in order to move forward.

My current successes are directly related to goal setting and maintaining a positive mental attitude in spite of any fears and anxieties I might harbor.

Three Goal Setting Strategies for Success

 1. Break large efforts into manageable bites. Write down several goals you wish to accomplish over the next several months. Then choose the one you want to focus on first.

Under your priority goal, write down the smallest steps you can think of to get you started right now. Edwin Locke, PhD takes this idea a bit deeper. He recommends that in addition to creating quantifiable steps, set a deadline. After setting your mini goal, put a completion date next to it and enter it into your calendar.

2. As I stated in my money making article earlier in the week, welcome setbacks and failures. Along with goal setting, this is the most important contributor to success.

Ask yourself, “Is this permanent or temporary?” How long will it last? Most defeats are temporary. As the sports commentators say, HAVE A SHORT MEMORY. Move on. In a Monday night New York Giants v. Dallas Cowboys football game, Eli Manning, Giants quarterback threw two interceptions in the first quarter. Yet, the Giants went on to WIN the game. Do not dwell on the defeat but move on. Look at your positive qualities and accept that FAILURE IS TEMPORARY.

3. Attitude is everything. My mom said it best in her recent guest post. Clearly evaluate the lesson from a misstep and determine what you can learn. In investing, losses are inevitable. NO INVESTOR EVER AVOIDS LOSSES. To be successful  evaluate what is in your control and what isn’t and then move on. Be mastery oriented and positive. Chase the mental fears and critiques away. Keep a growth mindset and figure out how to “make lemonade out of the lemons.”

Hungry for more?  I’ve talked about this topic before in Patience and Persistence, The Keys to Unlimited Success on the Yakezie website site.


  1. I do agree that attitude is everything. There needs to be confidence and belief in oneself to succeed. Congrats on all your success! May I one day get to where you are and may you continue to do great!

    Best, Sam

    Financial Samurai

    March 11, 2012

  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I too went through a face where I lacked self-confidence, and I stayed in a low paying job that wasn’t a good fit for 2.5 years because of it. I shouldn’t have been in that job at all, let alone for that long.


    March 11, 2012

  3. @Financial Samurai, Thanks for those kind words.
    @Melissa, In some ways, I think it is a blessing to have struggled in certain periods. It can increase your motivation to succeed.

    Barbara Friedberg

    March 11, 2012

  4. Great post Barb! These strategies for success can be used in our both our personal and professional lives.

    In regards to failures I think sometimes when we fail at something we question why things turned out the way they did. I know from my personal experience that I have had failures where I felt very deflated and wondered what the heck, but now looking back, I can see that many times the outcome that I wanted just wasn’t meant to be. And that the way things turned out was the way things were suppose to turn out, if that makes any sense.

    Tackling Our Debt

    March 11, 2012

  5. Slackers have become cool for a while! Without goals, I just tread water and you can only do that for while before you drown. Goals provide a feeling of accomplishment and motivates me to do more. I need that feeling to survive.


    March 11, 2012

  6. Funny coincidence as I just wrote an article on a similar topic: goal setting.
    You’re right! As soon as you write a goal down it becomes less daunting and so much more manageable!


    March 11, 2012

  7. I know Barb this can be a big help to us because goals are very important in life not just in business…


    March 12, 2012

  8. Buddha got fade up with his kingdom and start a journey of finding the truth. I think this is the right solution for those who fade up of all achievements and success in their life. This is true wisdom, to know thyself!


    March 12, 2012

  9. Great post here! I believe that we can have balance when we have faith and when we are grateful! There is nothing more in this world we can do. Whatever your belief system is, this is what you become! Thanks for sharing with us!


    March 12, 2012

  10. In order to attain with greatness and success of life, goal setting is the most important in order to gain every success in life in step by step process….


    March 12, 2012

  11. There’s nothing impossible with the power/ capacity of a woman in different field.. Two thumbs up to all the woman, and continue bringing the beacon of success…


    March 12, 2012

  12. Great post…there’s no question that a poor attitude will hold anyone back from reaching their full potential. This is a great lesson for kids today.


    March 12, 2012

  13. I love this post! I learned so much from this blog and I totally agree that Attitude is Everything. It could either make or break you.

    Juliette Statun

    March 12, 2012

  14. Way to keep focused and keep a positive attitude. So many people see view an obstacle as a reason to quit.

    Julie @ Freedom 48

    March 12, 2012

  15. Thank you all for reading this personal post. I really appreciate you taking a few moments to comment. It is so true that failure, attitude and putting one foot in front of the other will help lead you to your own personal successes.

    Barbara Friedberg

    March 12, 2012

  16. Goal setting is a list that will helps at one self attaining every miles stone of our life…


    March 13, 2012

  17. My problem isn’t making the list…it’s actually looking at it once it’s made. I have to set reminders to revisit my goals each week and prioritize around them.


    March 13, 2012

    • Hi Average, I totally understand. Not only do you have to look at it, but you must remember where you put it:)


      March 13, 2012

  18. what a great post1 I do agree that attitude is everything. congrats for your success..


    March 17, 2012

  19. I’m at a transition place in my life right now. Just yesterday, I listed my goals for the week and for the rest of the month and I’m using my blog as the forum for me to write these goals. I’m excited to see what opportunities will present themselves. For too long I’ve let fear stop me from getting a good job and I’m sick of it!


    March 20, 2012

    • Rachel, Sometimes it takes just getting fed up with oneself to make a move. Good luck with your new found motivation. Keep going, even when the enthusiasm subsides 🙂


      March 20, 2012

  20. Your never done achieving in life, once you have reached a point where you cant go anymore thats up to you but there is always room for more and more greatness. Don’t ever stop improving yourself. Life is filled with so many things to conquer and things you find joy in, Depression is and excuse to feel sad for yourself. Get up and find something else that entice you and go for it.


    March 20, 2012

  21. @Heidi, Well put. There’s always something else to strive for, enjoy, and accomplish.


    March 23, 2012

  22. For success, setting measurable goals is more than mandatory. But before setting goals, a person must have a clear and broad vision about the meaning of life. With a great vision, you can set goals that are farsighted and long term. Once you set a goal, all you need is a passion to achieve these goals. Passion that can drive you mad. So the steps for success are simple, Vision, Goals and passion.

    Herndon va real estate

    April 20, 2012


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