How Ambiguity Can Wreck Your Career and Business

Published: July 22, 2014
By: Faye Hollands

Saying you want a career you love, a more successful business or a better life is all well and good, but what does that really mean?  We all know that getting off your butt is a critical ingredient to achieving any goal, and that a trip outside of your comfort zone can bring about bigger results faster.  But the first stumbling block many encounter on their quest to achieve real results isn’t actually anything to do with taking action.  It happens way before the ‘doing’ stage, and can be the start of a very downward spiral…

The First Hurdle

It’s easy to talk about vague goals and throw around carefree wishes, but the problem with aspirations like ‘wanting to be more successful’ or ‘to enjoy life more’ are that they’re not specific enough to help build a clear plan that you can follow-through on, or muster up the level of motivation required to keep going when the novelty has worn off.  Ambiguity really is a thorn in the side of anyone wanting to achieve their goals and aspirations.

However, crunching down into the detail of what you want and challenging yourself to be really precise is an important first step forward when it comes to goal attainment.  Being specific about what you really want is the critical starting point to escape being a dreamer and instead start being a doer.  After all, it’s tricky to take action on goals that are fuzzy and undefined!

Laying in bed wishing you earned more money or had a career you actually cared about is easy, but won’t get you far.   Whereas taking the time to write down the specifics of your aspirations turns a pipe dream into something that could actually be very real, and critically it’s the starting point for change.

So take a moment now to think about what you’re trying to achieve in your personal and professional life, and consider these scenarios: –

Career:  Do you want to….

  • Enjoy your job more (ambiguous)?
  • Get promoted to Senior Manager (insert: whatever role you want next)? (specific)
  • Get involved in more complex projects? (specific)
  • Take on additional project management responsibility? (specific)

Business:  Do you want to….

  • Run a more successful company? (ambiguous)
  • Get 10 new clients on board by the end of the month? (specific)
  • Improve profitability by 10%? (specific)
  • Reduce working-hours by 1 day per week? (specific)

Life:  Do you want to…

  • Get fit and healthy? (ambiguous)
  • Lose 2kgs? (specific)
  • Run a 5km personal best under 26 minutes? (specific)
  • Go to the gym 3 x per week? (specific)

Now look back over your goals.   How many of them are truly specific? If I read your goals would I know exactly what you wanted to achieve or could you narrow it down even more?

Of course, desire plays a big part in goal achievement – you’ve got to want your goal bad enough to actually follow-through and so something about it – but your objective needs to be crystal clear from the very start otherwise the rest of your plan is likely to unravel and give you nothing other than wasted time and energy.

By embracing specificity and pushing yourself to get clear on what you really want you can easily align your action plan with your goals.  That way, regardless of the timeline, you know that the effort, energy, money and time that you invest is being spent wisely.

If you’d like help build a crystal clear plan of attack to build you business or career book a Free Focus Session today.

Faye Hollands

About Faye Hollands

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success. To receive weekly articles to improve your career, business and time management skills click here or book your Free Focus Session here.

You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email

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