Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (book review)

Last Updated: May 30, 2022 | Leadership

Succeed: How We Can Reach Our GoalsSucceed: How We Can Reach Our Goals

by Heidi Grant Halvorson

As Executive Coaches, we’re always working with our clients on goal fulfillment.  Whether that’s a goal of increasing your leadership or presentation skills, doubling the sales in your department, or getting your next promotion, our clients are looking to bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be.

In her book ,  Heidi Grant Halvorson summarizes in a very readable form the clinical research she’s done at Columbia University about what makes some people successful in bridging that gap.  It’s a must read for any coaching client!

Halvorson talks about many of the things that we all know are good when looking to achieve success: set a goal, make a plan, act on the plan.  As simple as this advice is, Halvorson offers rich and substantive input as to the essential elements of each of these.

For instance, do you set goals that are abstract (“become a better team leader”) or nitty-gritty (“complete three more proposals this year than last year”)?  Turns out, how you phrase that goal actually matters: abstract thinking can be very motivational, but nitty-gritty comes in handy for things very unfamiliar or challenging.

One of my favorite takeaways form the book is about “Be Good” thinking vs. “Get Better” thinking.  Be Good thinking is about proving oneself, performing well.  It tends to stress people out.  You know this is true if you’ve ever tried to look good to a new boss.  Get Better thinking on the other hand, is a mindset about constant improvement, about knowing that you will always learn something that will make the next time more successful than this time.  It’s a developmental mindset (no wonder it’s my favorite as a coach, right?)  The amazing thing is that people with the Get Better mindset have actually been shown to PERFORM BETTER than those who are trying to perform well (Be Good mindset).  Isn’t that amazing?!  It’s actually better to think of any particular task as something that will teach you something than as something you must be good at now.  A great lesson!

Are you of a promotion-mindset, or a prevention-mindset?  In other words, are you setting goals to gain something or to prevent losing something.  As coaches, we tend to go for the former, but Halvors0n points out that both can be effective if you’re matching the mindset to the correct type of goal and what type of obstacles you may encounter on the way.

Succeed also teaches us about “grit” and how to increase it, motivation, rewards, willpower, and happiness (yes, happiness!)  and caps it all off with a trouble-shooting guide for that goal you’ve had trouble achieving, giving you some places to tweak to move you along.

All in all, a fabulous easy-to-read resource guide for success!

You can find it from Amazon HERE.

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