We Want Outcomes!

April 23, 2012


I’m often asked what the difference is between a goal and an outcome as both on the face of it appear very similar. My thoughts are that an outcome is bigger, bolder, more defined, more flexible and has the advantage of turning a general goal into a compelling vision. A goal is set to achieve an outcome, then often what happens, is that we focus so much on that goal, we lose sight of the outcome  because  the goal in effect, has become the outcome. 

This explains why many a time when we achieve a goal, we are left asking ourselves “Now what?” because we became too caught up in the goal rather than the outcome.

The important thing when setting an outcome is to know what you want, not how you will get it, know what you truly want as that will inspire and motivate you. It gives you direction and focus. You don’t need to know the how just the what. When you know what you want,  the how will show up.  An outcome is stated in the positive and takes into account where you are now as well as what you want.  A well formed outcome means you will know when you have achieved it.

Jodie Broughton and  Ben Jones-Bishop are both professional super league rugby players. Ben (on the left) plays for Leeds Rhinos and Jodie plays for Salford City Reds. Both play in the no. 2 position. (Wingers)

The both had an outcome of wanting to play rugby league professionally from an early age. Of course, at that time they weren’t aware that it was a well formed outcome, they just knew what they wanted to do.

Their first step was to start playing rugby, so they did, playing for a junior team that my son also played for. (Incidentally, most of the lads playing for that junior team, are still playing together, In rugby league team players tend to form lifetime bonds, friendships and support for each other, which Ben and Jodie a still a big part of.)

They honed their skills over the years, learnt from their experiences, listened to their coaches and committed themselves to the hard work and training they knew they needed to do, to get their outcome. 

Part of that training meant being up early on a Saturday morning to do “hills training” which trust me, is not a pretty sight to watch! It’s very gruelling! And at the end of these sessions, the lads would be totally exhausted! Now at 17 years old, that takes some commitment when you know all your friends are out on a Friday night and you give it a miss because you know you have to be up on a Saturday morning!

There was also disappointment. I remember a crucial game that the team lost by one point and three of these 17 year olds sitting in the back of my car on the way back crying was truly heartbreaking! Still covered in mud and tears rolling down their faces! It brings a lump to my throat even now! 

Despite the setbacks, disappointments, the dreaded hills, not being able to go out with pals, Ben and Jodie stuck with it because it was what they truly wanted! I’ve no doubt and I’m sure they would both agree,  although there were other players who had the skills to turn professional, they didn’t want it as much as these two did, so weren’t prepared to commit to what needed to be done!  When your outcome is what you truly, truly, want, it inspires and motivates you and you find it easier to take whatever action is needed!

Now they are professional, do they think ”Now what?” Of course not!  They dedicate themselves to their game, working on their skills, using the benefit of experience. Remember, their outcome is professional rugby league players. Both have now been selected for the England squad and deservedly so! 

That’s how well formed outcomes work! You decide what you really, really, want and then take the first steps. You set the goals to achieve your outcome and those are ongoing, even though the outcome stays the same! 

A simple example would be when Ben and Jodie are playing in a game, the outcome would be to win the game. The goal would be to score more trys and goals than the other side to get the outcome they want, winning the game!

 Having an outcome that you really want encourages you to think bigger, bolder and a belief that it can be achieved! Then you will be unstoppable! Taking the action needed for your success! Jodie and Ben are proof of that!

They may have set a goal to become super league players as an ongoing step of their outcome of playing professional rugby league and they have achieved that goal, so now they have other goals to work on to achieve their outcome.

Oh yes!  They are both great lads as well!  Love them both!!

Janet Wilks - www.nlpeze.co.uk  2012




2 Comments for this entry

  • avatar Janet Bebb says:

    What a great way of describing the difference between Goals & Outcomes. I’m currently working on re-defining my ultimate desire (long term goals) and what I need to focus on to achieve this vision. To me a goal is what has been set, where I want to be. An outcome is when I achieve the desired results to achieve the goal.

    Janet, you describe it much better :)

Previous Post
Next Post