We have to admit, that no matter how superb “GoalBuddy” is with its guaranteeing success principles and techniques, it is just a system, one of many out there.
What sets it apart is the social element in it which is so intuitive that people get it very well and therefore are naturally drawn to it.
The unique concept of “friend for goals” makes up for its greatest advantage but this may become also the greatest challenge for you. It’s just the way of life that the right choice of a partner is as elusive as beneficial and missteps here abound.
We know lots of stories of failure in that respect but they can also reveal most of the reasons behind such an outcome. We won’t just talk but we will also suggest advice plus some possible remedies. That will be helpful and you can fight off disappointment and other negative consequences of a potential mismatch.
First, let’s review a bit:
At the moment when you make your mind to have a purposeful life oriented towards your dreams your first step is to draw a long-term vision. Next is to find the person that will become your fellow traveler on this journey.
We know, it sounds a lot like a marriage, aka “till death sets us apart”. But don’t worry! It is nothing like that.
Give it a try
You may approach finding the right person for the “job” as a 90-day goal. Look at it as an experiment, if you wish.
Just like with any other partner, be that a business one or your spouse, you and your Buddy are in it for the long run. It’s up to you what kind of person you will decide on. There is no guarantee it will be a good choice but you do make it anyway. So, there is nothing new, or scary for that matter, under the Sun.
If you’re lucky there will be a good fit and you’ll enjoy much success together. If things don’t work out you will have the invaluable chance to learn from your errors and then give it another try.
Still, we’d like to minimize the number and type of mistakes in that process. So, let’s move now on to the specific areas of interest and how to deal with the problems there.
Issue I: “Long and wasteful conversation”
The most common complaints about the meetings include things like endless stories, no structure, non-stop jumping from one topic to another.
In our opinion, the best way of doing it is when you hear from your friend every Monday, preferably in the morning. Each has 10 minutes to share what has been done the previous week and what’s ahead for the next. You can ask questions if any but it shouldn’t get out of hand so that the agenda suffers.
People trying out our system are fully aware of this conversational pitfall and yet the issues with it are rife. Apparently, 20 minutes will get you nowhere if there is no effort to stay on track and time is wasted in small talk or generalities.
But why is this?
A whole day won’t be enough when your interest is at its keenest!
The answer is obvious. It is beyond exciting when an aspiration of yours becomes the focal point.
You might have no one in your busy life that would partner you in discussing dreams and grander objectives. And finally, when you get a Buddy you might get tempted to dive in head first into the topic.
Each new step brings in more awareness while every other word you hear unlocks yet another idea. And you would die to tell them about it. Staying on top of such a behavior is close to impossible; ergo the given time frame gets easily exceeded.
It’s only human and happens to anyone, extroverts and introverts, those with a great deal of experience as well as the goal setting beginners. These are our suggestions on how to avoid aimless and unproductive talk and have a truly productive discussion instead.
# 1 Keep each other in check
Do not digress! When you see that the person in front of you is about to do so bring them back into focus with this simple one: “And what did you do about step 2!” That’s not rude or disrespectful but rather professional when it comes to practicing our system.
In fact, this deserves its own place in the “Buddy” rules:
The two of you have to agree to be able to interrupt each other, in a respectful way, of course.
# 2 Set aside some extra time for topics different from the main purpose
If you need to talk about some other things outside the agenda then just give yourself a “bonus time” for that. It could be done afterwards or you do it another time. The idea is “not to mix business with pleasure”, as long as you find pleasurable the urge to share something exciting, of course.
# 3 Give the talk duration an upper bound
There is a very good knack to limit a meeting.
Just get your discussion set up right before another engagement which is a high priority one, a virtual deadline of sorts. And to meet it you will have to be all business – succinct, clear, on topic. Same applies to your counterpart. For example, you get together at around 8:30 am while shortly after 9:00 am you both have to hit the ground running at the office.
At first, we were having our talks on Sunday afternoon but things were quickly and easily getting out of control. Now we do it on Monday before work and we are golden.
And that’s only the first obstacle. Things can go wrong in many other ways.
Issue II: “Giving an advice”
Usually, it is so hard to break such a bad habit. Equally hard is to resist offering a solution to someone’s problem when the fix seems crystal clear from your point of view. It is imperative though that you “cease and desist”. Think about it:
An unsolicited advice is bad manners the least
On one hand, there is no guarantee that it will work out. Life is so diverse while its circumstances are as different as unpredictable and your “piece of wisdom” can turn out to be counterproductive.
On the other hand, a ready-made solution that simply came your way is never as motivating and exhilarating as when you work it out all by yourself.
And there is a third “wrong” here. You may have to admit to yourself that when you give your two cents you may actually be getting yourself into the spotlight. And this could be perceived as patronizing and even selfish. It goes without saying that neither of these is wanted in a good and productive relationship.
Don’t forget that true help is only the one that was asked for. After all, no one will feel comfortable if you were acting as their in-laws?
Don’t be the in-laws when it comes to providing unsolicited advice!
That’s what you have to do:
…but not of the following type: “Isn’t it better to exercise five times a week and not just twice!” Try something of this attitude. “After how many visits to the gym are you beginning to get into shape? What exercises are doing it for you?”
Assume that your only job is to ask. Simply assist you goal buddy in finding how to structure things in their minds so that they can get it all by their own means. Their self-awareness and confidence must be the true objective here. A better decision-making is re-enforced as well as it would give them a good reason to be proud of their insightful ideas. It’s simply a Psychology 101.
So far, so good? Not quite. Unproductive meetings and advice for its own sake are mostly faced by people who are close and thus enjoy the advantage of believing in each other. And what if it is the other way around?
Issue III: “Not enough trust”
There was this young woman who wasn’t completely open with her Buddy. She was working goals only in regard to her professional development which was going fine for her anyway. And that would have been perfectly okay except that she wouldn’t allow for discussion anything else outside her career.
In a situation like that, less openness leads to some distancing. When you feel that the person against you doesn’t quite reveal the bigger picture of their dreams you might instinctively start doing the same.
Even if you behave in accordance to the letter as well as the spirit of “GoalBuddy” your relationship will pretty much stay superficial.
Discussions like that only scratch the surface and fail to pull you out of the comfort zone – you’ll never reach out for the boldest and most daring dreams of yours.
Ultimately, things will get to their logical end. You could save the day though – if you try the approaches bellow.
# 1 Little by little
Going together into uncharted territory would be less stressful if you take it easy and do “baby steps” at first.
No one expects you to spill the beans right at the very beginning. Start with whatever feels comfortable and over time the two of you will be relaxed to the point to talk about your bigger desires and fears. Confidence and trust grow slowly but they inevitably do so if you are open and willing.
Spare a thought on this one too.
Why is it so that your aspirations are so secret? Maybe you’ll have to get used to talking about them more openly. Let people know and then understanding and support will come to you sooner rather than later.
# 2 The exemplary Buddy
If you are the one who is more direct between the two of you then try to get into their shoes. It’s really hard to run into a good match after all and it is worth taking the initiative. Let them follow by example and be trustful – make them realize that they are witnessing something that makes you uncomfortable to let out in the open. As long as they are good and decent people their appreciation will be their first step towards you.
It is normal at first to have your guard up but in the course of a growing relationship there will be a moment when no topic would be off limit. Otherwise you might have chosen the wrong partner.
Issue IV: “My Buddy is my spouse”
We don’t want to call it a “problem” per se but it can result in some significant marital difficulties… it’s not unheard of that your spouse and your Buddy are the same person but it’s rather an exception than a rule.
If you both use the same system you could be a big success. There are few catches though and they aren’t to be taken lightly:
Imagine that on a Sunday evening you and your spouse had some fight or an argument, no matter how small or insignificant, and then in the morning, you had to discuss how much progress was made on your weekly steps. You’ll be right to be in full disbelief if we tell you that on Monday all will go as well as ever.
No need for the meetings
It’s close to mind to assume that you are together every day and at dinner time you get to find out about everything anyway. And there you go – no need for the basic “GoalBuddy” protocol, which is crucial for your success.
But if you still decide to do it then you should know that you can turn it into something quite nice. It could be an intimate ritual, just like Ivan and his wife do it. They are “buddies for trips and vacation”. They usually rendezvous at their favorite bistro on a Sunday afternoon and plan trips over a cup of tea or coffee. It’s great that this doesn’t diminish in any shape or form Niki’s role as an excellent Buddy.
The opposites attract
There is one more challenge which might get in the way. We mean here the above truism, of course. And if it doesn’t preclude the feelings of love, it might strain any goal setting process.
If not wide spread it is still a well-represented scenario that’s not limited to the married couples only. Let’s look further into it.
Issue V: “One is a stickler for the system’s rules and the other is…”
When you are punctual and law abiding “citizen” of “GoalBuddy” while your partner is a bit free-wheeling in that respect it might become “complicated”. It could put some real stress on your tolerance of their undisciplined thought process and inability to get organized. They too may have grievances about your formal and always “by the book” approach. What then?
Try to achieve some understanding if not total agreement
Both types enjoy or suffer their advantages and disadvantages respectively. The “free-spirited” one could be the more creative and of unconventional thinking while the “stickler” is more focused and soberly analytical. In other words, there is the good chance that if your opposites complement each other you two can make up a winning team. But you have to accept each other first and then try becoming a driving force behind your shared success.
Issue VI: Lack of Engagement
We heard about this unusual story when one of the Buddies literally drops off the face of the Earth. Till one day they call out of the blue to start telling what not as if nothing had happened. Obviously, the person was a lost cause and that made the relationship as such.
Of course, we can’t provide with a ready-cut solution but only this one key tip: have your expectations in check from the get-go. Make sure that the whole endeavor is equally important to both of you and seriously consider whether you can change and adapt. Otherwise, you will be wasting everyone’s time.
Issue VII: “When one is interested only in their own goals”
No matter how it’s manifested the person just doesn’t care much about your priorities.
They may take the floor all the time with anything like this – “Ah, this happened to me once. It was in the summer of 2002… ”
Or they quickly list their weekly steps then get up and leave with the “Thank you! Later!” They may seemingly stay interested in what you’re talking about but then later you realize they are actually crunching an… Have you ever tried to listen to someone and have an apple at the same time?
There are always good examples…
We are glad to claim that we’ve had quite different experience when we helped some acquaintances with their objectives. In the end, they were more than willing to be of some use to us. You would agree that this is a great decency indicator for a person.
People who create value for others carry it deeply in themselves and if the person you are dealing with doesn’t have it then it’s almost a causa perduta to change them. You can raise the issue and then try to work it out or you can put an end to it if all is to no avail.
How to know when the end is neigh
As we’ve already asserted this – the two of you don’t have to raise hands and solemnly declare you will stay Goal Buddies for the rest of your lives just now. You’d better set a 90-day goal, just as a trial period, to see how things will go.
In case you have some irreconcilable differences or can’t even imagine the whole ordeal to be for good then don’t hesitate for a split second to call it quits. Life is short enough to get it wasted on dead-ends of any sort.
There is a “To be continued”! Stay tuned for the second chapter on this topic.