Mark Blasini


What's your position aspiration?


The common approach to goal setting is to focus on results, to be "results-oriented": losing 10 lbs in one month, doubling income in one year, reading 10 books in 3 months, etc.

The problem with this approach is that results lack context. Two people can achieve the same result, but have a vastly different quality of life.

For example, let's say two people make the goal to double their income in 12 months. Person A is able to double his income by putting in more hours at work and taking on more responsibility. As a result, he spends less time with his family and is super-overwhelmed.

Person B, on the other hand, decides to quit his job, start a business where he is eventually able to automate his income, and by the end of the 12 months, earns double what he was making at his job. He has more time to spend with his family and follow his other interests.

Both persons achieved the same result, but their quality of life is completely different. One person is miserable and overwhelmed; the other is happy, free.

If you were to look just at the "result" each person was aiming for - doubled income in 12 months - then you wouldn't be able to make any meaningful difference between the benefit of the result to that person's life.

But it's precisely the benefit of the result that was the reason for the goal in the first place.Ignoring that reason ignores precisely thequalityof the result - why that result is important, significant, helpful.

Instead of setting aspirations for results, then, a better approach is to set what I callposition-aspirations.

A position aspiration isn't focused on achieving some kind of quantifiable end-result. Rather, it's focused on the quality of life you are hoping to achieve.

More specifically, it asks the question: whatpositiondo you aspire to be in?What do you want to be able to do? What don't you want to have to deal with? What state of being would you like to be in?

To give an example, let's say you are dissatisfied with your diet and weight. Instead of setting a result you want to achieve ('lose 'x' lbs in 'y' time'), you set a position-aspiration:

Each of these aspirations is focused on quality, not quantity. This provides context forwhyyou want to create change.

And of course, if you wanted to add pressure to this aspiration, then just put a time frame:

In 6 months, I want to be in a position where I am eating mostly food that is good for me.

You can even quantify certain things in your aspiration, as long as your primary focus is on quality:

In 6 months, I want to be in a position where 90% of the food I eat in a given week is healthy for me.

What's important about position-aspirations is that you are providing a guide not only for what you want to achieve, but for the kind of life you want to live. It forces you to think long-term, to make strategic choices about how you want to reach the position you're aspiring to.

For example, if your position-aspiration is to be fit, have lots of energy, and not feel the urge to eat all the time, then simply eating less is not going to solve that problem. You have to strategicallychoosefoods that are going to give you energy and make you not feel hungry.

Quantity, then, should only follow from quality.