The Impact of a Challenging Goal, Parasailing in Key West

Photo by Prachi Gupta on

If you’re trying to be miserable, it’s important you don’t have any goals.

  • No school goals, personal goals, family goals.
  • Your only objective each day should be to inhale and exhale for 16 hours before you go to bed again.
  • Don’t read anything informative, don’t listen to anything useful, don’t do anything productive.
  • If you start achieving goals, you might start to feel a sense of excitement, then you might want to set another goal, and then your miserable mornings are through.

~ John Bytheway

Photo: My new cabin cruise mate and new friend Geri with me.

Energizing yourself with a challenging, clear goal is a game changer.  I’ve seen turning points develop in clients who  clarify the real aims of their stated goals.  Add to this the challenge of a tough goal, and I’ve seen excitement and energy build FROM the DIFFICULTY to help that leader, manager or group stay the course.

If that leader and her/his team reaches the goal, it creates a powerful story and impacts that organization’s culture.

(Note, this post was updated in 2013 with goal research references.)

If person accepts a goal, has the ability to attain it, does not have conflicting goals, then the challenge of the goal is directly related to performance and positive results.*

It was NOT a goal last February to go on a cruise vacation in August.  However, my step-circuit instructor and friend was having a milestone birthday and wanted a cruise vacation with friends to celebrate it.  I wanted to go on a cruise someday.  I then realized the day had arrived.  

Those with experience with goal development and clarifying rightness of purpose and vision, with good connections to their work & personal communities, may find that goals emerge and clarify themselves, guided by seasoned intuition and the help of friends.  A coach can help test the health of a leader’s goal setting behavior.


The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment. ~ Earl Nightingale


There were a good number of conversations with family and friends that sealed the deal on taking advantage of this cruise opportunity, following my own self-coaching principles.

Here are some goal writing principles to help:

Good goals have structure and spine.  They exist as pillars beyond the wispy land of dreams and fantasies.

Good goals are:

  • Small in number (3-5, 7 max), prioritized: Like a well-planned trip that catches meaningful moments in the journey as well as the specific, desired destination, good goals are clear, numbered, (my top 5 goals this year are…), and are prioritized.  Test that they are energizing to your daily efforts.
  • My “about” page defines my work goals and helps me focus my efforts when I am invited to speak at events, am contacted for consulting / coaching services and when I do my marketing and relationship building work.


Good goals that are specific and challenging produce the greatest degree of achievement.*


  • Well defined, well written: SMART goal setting is well-known to many as a useful reference to writing good goals.  The standard-bearer is:

S – Specific   M – Measurable   A – Attainable  R – Relevant to your mission  T – Time-limited

  • Set clear performance expectations for yourself connected with those in your system, boss, direct reports, colleagues, your work and personal world.
  • Facilitate communication of expectations between those impacted or involved, especially for those who supply you with what you need to achieve your goals, and to those who have the same needs from you.
  • Stay Agile, Adapt your goals if & when circumstances change.  (Especially if a hurricane is detected.)

Good goals that are specific and challenging produce the greatest degree of achievement.*  

Hurricane Irene put an end to our port of call at Coco Cay.  We later learned that Key West was definitely worth the few extra hours we were gifted.  The first early afternoon and evening in Key West allowed us to learn from a pedicab driver what best fit the type of adventure my cabin-mate and I wanted to have.

The results.

I’m still smiling viewing photos from the parasailing, jet skiing and snorkeling video of our water adventure at Key West.  This 2 minute video highlights the “Ultimate Adventure,” one of Fury Watersport’s VERY well-organized package of adventures at Key West, one of the most beautiful and laid back places on earth.  As for the challenge, it’s below in Stretch Goals.

Video:  Parasailing video clips & photos from the Ultimate Adventure, Fury Watersports, Key West, Florida

  • Keep your goal-focused skills sharp. Most skills need regular refreshing.  Pursue regular professional development and integrate it into your list of goals for the year.
  • Evaluate the results of your goals work tied to SMART.  What’s working?  What’s not?  Are you working on what really matters?
  • Take action on your goals efforts:  Did you produce clear, measurable results?  If not, what needs to change?  Change it!  If you reached your goal, celebrate!  If nothing else, savor the moment.  Enjoy what goal attainment means to your success!

Stretch Goals

  • Are above and beyond primary goals
  • In the video above you’ll see that snorkeling was my “stretch goal.”  I DID it!  Seeing moon jellyfish under my own swimming power was PRICELESS and unforgettable.  It was a big milestone for me.  Now I really do want to learn how to be a stronger swimmer.
Deb, after parasailing, getting ready for jet skiing, Key West.
Deb, after parasailing, getting ready for jet skiing, Key West.

Stretch Goals may include:

  • New initiatives
  • One-time efforts
  • A need for special planning
  • Produce a significant result

Snorkeling successfully, achieving a new stretch goal, was my biggest reward (intrinsic) on the water adventure last day of our cruise trip to Key West.  Parasailing and having a day with fun boat crews was a special gift.

I achieved my “bucket list” goal of having a great adventure on a cruise. It now exists in pictures and deeply felt experience.   Clear intention, specifics and action made all the difference, graced with a little courage to stretch my range.  I help my clients do this and constantly practice on myself.

If you’d like to see more about what SMART (and adaptable) goal setting can do for you, sign up for our occasional newsletters from my ScoopIt stream (Change Leadership Watch, Agile Learning, etc.), or follow me on the Reveln Consulting Facebook business page here.

Your comments & questions below enrich the learning.  Thanks for visiting!  ~  Deb

* Locke, Edwin; Gary Latham (2006), “New Directions in Goal-Setting Theory”, Association for Psychological Science 15 (5): 265–268

Post parasailing. Happy smiles! Justin, Deb, Geri & Dan, parasailing, Fury Watersports, Key West

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This work by Reveln Consulting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Published by dnrevel

Change & transition, Leadership team & organization development. Executive Leadership team coach. My LinkedIn profile:

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