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How to Build Productive Goals Around Obstacles Faced By Employees The people who are most successful are those who accept the probability that they will fail sometimes but are willing to give it a go anyway. After all, there is no failure, only feedback

By Sarah Nanclares

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Whether you're an entrepreneur, employee, creative or CEO, if you are passionate about your work, there is always room for improvement. While there are common traits that signpost a successful and happy employee, there are some mental obstacles that prevent any team from reaching the next level of their professional journeys.

Here are some of those obstacles, and what employees and employers can do to remove them.

Not acknowledging incremental progress

Many people set large, ambitious goals for themselves and become disheartened when they don't reach them within the rigid time frame they have set for themselves. Or if they do achieve them, they barely take the time to acknowledge or celebrate their success. You need to mark smaller increments that make up those larger goals. Celebrate them and map out goals for the next season. Create posters of your goals and put them on display. By having these more regular checkpoints, it keeps people accountable and motoring forward. It's important for employers to recognize that even if employees don't achieve these goals, their effort counts and there are vital learnings to be had.

Fear of failure

Fear of failure is a highly endemic obstacle to success. Many people are afraid to attempt bigger, more challenging things, due to fear that they might fail and show others — or themselves — that they are inadequate. However, these are the very things they need to be attempting in order to unlock new opportunities for growth (for both the individual and the company). As the expression goes, nobody ever achieved greatness by staying in their comfort zone. The people who are most successful are those who accept the probability that they will fail sometimes but are willing to give it a go anyway. After all, there is no failure, only feedback.

A perfectionist mindset

Perfectionism is perhaps the root of all evil. There are many high-achieving people who have a strong perfectionist program and it locks them out of a lot of opportunities that would lead them beyond what they're currently capable of. They struggle to accept themselves as they are in the present moment, so they refuse to attempt things they may not immediately succeed at. With self-acceptance comes the freedom to have a go at anything, because you're not saying "am I doing it right, am I going a good job?" Instead, you can say "I'm okay, I'm doing my bit. Sometimes, I'll get it perfect, sometimes I'll mess it up. But it's okay, I'll just pick myself up and keep going." This resilient mindset will get you much further than a perfectionist one.

Not thinking in terms of impact

Many of the workers think in terms of impact. So, they're not thinking "am I doing a good job?" but "how impactful is what I'm doing?" Employers should ensure that everyday employees leave feeling like they've accomplished something that is actually going to move the needle in the business and help change the lives of our customers. Thinking this way is essentially the antidote to perfectionism, as it means you will choose to be happy with an 80 per cent minimal viable product, process or approach to ensure you get it to market.

Not eating for mental stamina

Many people underestimate the impact their nutrition has on their productivity and cognitive function. They go for the convenient options, eating toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner.

Eating carbohydrates at every meal doesn't set you up for the mental stamina and endurance you need to power through the day. When you eat carbohydrates, it spikes your insulin which, in turn, leads to an insulin drop. That's when you get that sleepiness and brain fog, leading you to lose an hour of productive work in the afternoon. Eat some form of protein with vegetables and a source of good fat for lunch instead. This will keep you firing on all cylinders throughout the day.

Sarah Nanclares

Internal coach, Canva


As a senior business executive coach, Sarah has been helping individuals, organizations and their senior teams to excel for more than 15 years. Sarah also has 18 years of experience in the natural medicine sector where she focuses on neuroscience and its impact on health, leadership and performance.

Having been sought out as an industry leader, Sarah is establishing and building the internal coaching framework for Canva. Earlier, she was senior coach at Equilibrio where she coached business builders and entrepreneurs to become high-performance leaders and also facilitated building better founding teams.

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