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Goals vs. Potential, What Gets You to the Finish Line Faster?

These days, the norm is all about goals: setting them, reaching them, and measuring success by them.  And of course, once you reach a goal, you are expected to set another one!  These goals are meant to give you sense of purpose and direction, driving towards specific outcomes. Yet, putting all our focus on these targets can unintentionally box us in, stifling creativity, innovation, and overall progress.  I’ve recently heard of an alternative perspective that is getting traction, one that places potential at the forefront while creating a path for growth. Part of that perspective is this phrase, “run for your potential, not your target,” which resonates deeply with me. This saying embraces a viewpoint that fits all aspects of our lives and moves away from setting specific goals. Instead, it embraces a more holistic mindset centered around unlocking potential.

Consider a company with its heart set on hitting a particular sales target for the quarter. The entire team rallies around this singular objective, usually at the cost of exploring new ideas, honing skills, or making lasting improvements. The numbers that quarter may be exciting, but at what cost? What did that company give up in the long term?  Now, consider an alternate approach.  Instead of focusing only on the revenue goal, the company places emphasis on fostering its employees’ growth, nurturing unconventional thinking, and seeking fresh avenues of expansion. This strategy goes beyond numbers; it’s about cultivating progress on a broader scale.  It may take longer to meet the sales goal at first, but when they do, it will be more sustainable.

Thinking about my old “CrossFit” days (I do miss those days…NOT!), the program wasn’t just about outperforming teammates. It involved improving on the “Workout of the Day” (WOD) time from the last attempt. My aim was twofold: not only to surpass my prior time but also to achieve more repetitions. Surprisingly, I often found myself squeezing in an extra rep or two when I thought my energy was depleted—clearly, my potential was far from tapped but my mindset was holding me back.

The most remarkable thing about focusing on potential, is that it’s ready, willing, and able to change and grow as you do. In a world of constant change, a static laser focus on predetermined targets simply doesn’t work anymore.  But if you lead with potential as the driving force, adaptability comes naturally, opening doors to seize emerging opportunities.

Why not start to tap into and navigate by your potential. Who knows? You might find that most fulfilling journey isn’t about running; it’s about being the motivating force to do so.  So, get out your Nikes, and get out there to chase your aspirations, and remember—life’s journey is the best when family, good friends and laughter is with you to the finish line.


“Success is not about reaching the goal itself. It’s about who we become in the process.” – Nik Jones


Wishing you a fantastic weekend.