Words By Tara Wagner

WHEN Should You Keep Your Goals to Yourself? | Pros and Cons of Sharing Goals

Tara standing outside with graffiti in the background wearing a yellow shirt and black shorts with her hands up looking unsure

There’s actually a lot of conflicting advice and even research on whether or not you should keep your goals to yourself. And I found, like most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

So let’s talk about when you should and shouldn’t tell other people what you’re up to.

Watch here or read below.

WHEN Should You Keep Your Goals to Yourself? | Pros and Cons of Sharing Goals (Tara Wagner) Click To Tweet

THE PROS AND CONS OF KEEPING YOUR GOALS TO YOUSELF

There are both pros and cons of sharing your goals with other people or keeping your goals to yourself.

PROS:
On one hand, we all know the value of encouragement and support and accountability, and there’s research to back this up. 

There was a recent study by the Dominican University of California that showed that 70% of people who shared their goals with others actually reached their goals versus only 35% of people who kept their goals to themselves. 

CONS:
On the other hand, you have this incredibly compelling argument from Derek Sivers in a TED Talk done a few years ago where he cites multiple studies that show the exact opposite is true. He argues that when you don’t keep your goals to yourself, it can actually create a false sense of confidence and a false sense of satisfaction because you’re pre-celebrating your successes, which is actually going to lead to less motivation to do the things you’re wanting to do.

I’ve also seen it create a lot of overwhelm and fear when we’re sharing our goals with other people prematurely, simply because now it’s putting pressure or expectations on our shoulders. We’re thinking more about what other people are thinking. We’re worrying more about how the thing that we’re working on will be received, versus just focusing on the goals that we’ve set for ourselves. 

So we’ve got this conflicting advice on whether or not to keep your goals to yourself.

Which is true? Both of them.

Woman in corn field, wearing a yellow sweater and cream beanie looking at 2 path options

HOW TO SHARE YOUR GOALS

When you look at these studies, you’re going to notice one big difference, and that is HOW these goals were shared.

In Derek Sivers’ examples, it’s almost an indiscriminate sharing of goals, kind of just announcing them to the world. And we all have that friend that does that, right? They’re announcing their Next Big Idea, their next big goal, they’re gung ho for it, and you’re over here rolling your eyes because you know in three months it’s going to be the next big idea, the next big goal.

That sort of indiscriminate announcing to the world, the hyped up excitement, that’s kind of what he’s talking about when he’s talking about keeping your goals to yourself versus sharing them.

In the other study, it’s a much more conscientious sharing of goals. They’re shared with one person and they’re shared in a very specific, structured way.

It really shows that who and how we share our goals matters. And here’s why:

Not every person is a safe container for your dreams.

Not every person is a safe container for your dreams. (Tara Wagner) Click To Tweet

Think of your goals like a tiny sprout.

plants beginning to sprout

If you’ve ever sprouted seeds, you know that you tend to do this indoors where you can protect that seed, you can nurture it. You don’t put it out into the cold, hard world too soon. There’s actually a process that you follow called hardening off, where you nurture that plant indoors in a safe environment until it’s ready to slowly start putting it out into the world where you can plant it and allow it to grow.

This is exactly how I want you to think about ‘when you should keep your goals to yourself and when you should start sharing them with other people’. We want to protect and nurture our dreams or our goals as they’re first taking root before we slowly start putting them out into the world.

Here’s an example of what this would look like with your goals:

Let’s say you’re working on your goal, your initial excitement has worn off and you’re still working on your goal, you might actually start seeing some traction and some results with what you’re working on, you’ve got your ducks in a row, maybe you’re even just getting to the stage of launching it because you’ve already done the work behind the scenes. That’s when you want to start putting it out into the wider world.

We want to do the work first, and then we want to share the work.

IT’S ALSO HELPFUL TO SHARE MORE OF YOUR WHY AND LESS OF THE WHAT.

The less details of what you’re working on the better, since the details are likely to change, but your motivation and why you’re doing what you’re doing is not.

Also, when you’re sharing your WHY, that’s really bringing people into your vision, your excitement, and it’s increasing the encouragement and the support that you’re going to get from other people. They can really start to understand whyyou’re doing what you’re doing. The details can be filled in later over time.

So this means sharing your values, sharing the outcome, how you want it to impact people, sharing the emotions behind it, or maybe the emotions that you’re wanting to create from it.

Treat your goals like seedlings. We want to protect and nurture our dreams or our goals as they’re first taking root before we slowly start putting them out into the world. (Tara Wagner) Click To Tweet
2 girls, one brunette and one blonde, looking over the ocean side by side.

WHO TO SHARE YOUR GOALS WITH

When it comes to who we share with, I want to bring you back to that “hardening off” process again.

When you have a seedling that you sprouted indoors, you don’t just go and leave it out to the world overnight by itself the first time. You slowly take it out into the elements a little bit at a time, starting with an easy environment, and then slowly working up until it’s ready and able to be outdoors all night or planted in the world.

The same applies to people. You don’t want to share this with the wrong people, the people that are going to be the harshest, or the least friendly, or the least able to be a safe container for those goals.

This means DON’T share it with:

  • People who don’t have goals themselves, because they won’t get it.
  • People who are too busy or overwhelmed, because they don’t have the time and patience for your “big, fancy dreams”.
  • Negative people who just aren’t going to be able to give you the support that you might need.
  • And most definitely don’t share it with small-minded people.

Eleanor Roosevelt said that, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people..”

You don’t want to be sharing it with the people that you know who talk about other people.

You want to be sharing it with the people that you know that talk about ideas. Those are the people that are going to encourage you, support you, hold you accountable, ask you the best questions, and really help you move your goal forward.

This also means that we generally don’t want to share our goals with our loved ones, because the people who love us the most also want to protect us when we might feel overwhelmed or discouraged or frustrated or feeling like we’re not good enough. They’re oftentimes actually going to encourage us to stop doing what we’re doing that’s taking us outside of our comfort zone.

So if you’re struggling or you’re doubtful in your business, don’t go to the people that want to protect you from those things; go to the people that want to encourage you to push through those things. This means mentors, coaches, accountability partners, maybe even masterminds.

So if you're struggling or you're doubtful in your business, don't go to the people that want to protect you from those things; go to the people that want to encourage you to push through those things. (Tara Wagner) Click To Tweet
SHARE YOUR GOALS WITH STRUCTURE

When you are sharing your goals you want to make sure that you are sharing them intentionally and with structure. So when you’re working with a coach, you’re going to be talking to them on a regular basis, and they’re going to be asking you the questions that are going to help you to move forward.

If you’re doing this with somebody who’s maybe working on a similar goal, set up a same-time, same-place appointment with them to jump on the phone and go through the same questions; questions that are going to ensure that you did the things you wanted to do the previous week.

This kind of structure is going to allow you to have that support and accountability, and make sure that your phone call doesn’t just turn into a giant bitch fest because, let’s face it, we’ve all been there.

IF YOU ARE A FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR AND YOU DON’T HAVE A PLACE FOR POSITIVE ACCOUNTABILITY OR YOU’D JUST LIKE A NEW SPACE WITH LIKE-MINDED WOMEN…

I encourage you to check out our Facebook group. We even have a Monday accountability thread to support one another on both our personal and our professional goals.

WHAT ABOUT YOU, BOSS LADY?

Let me know in the comments below how you feel about keeping your goals to yourself and what you find supports you best, as well as any questions or take-aways that you have.

Scroll down to leave your comments!

xoTara-teal

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