Why Your Most Important Goal is Probably Not SMART

Guest Post by Jill Konrath

Since launching What’s Really Possible, I’m repeatedly asked, “What’s your goal? How will you know you’re successful?” Coming from the business world, that question is a no-brainer.

In fact, my goal should be SMART:






But I guess I’m not quite smart enough to think that way. Let me explain …

It was 2004. I’d just signed a contract for my first book. As I sat down to start writing, I thought about The Highest Goal, a book I’d read recently. It said that before you start any big project, ask yourself, “What’s your highest goal?”

So, I did. And, I immediately answered, “To teach people how to sell to big companies.”

As soon as I finished that sentence, a voice inside of me screamed out (silently), “NO IT ISN’T!”

That had never happened to me before, so it got my attention. Slowly, a new idea emerged. My highest goal was to “make people feel that it was possible to sell to big companies.”

If I wrote as a know-it-all and tried to impress people with my brilliance, most sellers wouldn’t believe they could do it—especially if they came from small/medium-sized businesses. So, I wrote a very human book, sharing mistakes I’d made and what I learned from them.

Today, as I leap into my What’s Really Possible mission, I feel the same way.

My goal, at least right now, is to make people feel that it’s possible to have an impact on their communities, country and world.

If you don’t feel that it’s possible, you don’t take any action. And with everything that’s going, we desperately need good people—all those “millions in the middle”— to step forward, to volunteer, to lead, to become change agents.

So … my personal highest goal is to spark others, to activate them to do what they’re good at and in an area that really matters to them.

Is it specific? No

Can I measure it? No

Is it attainable? Maybe

Relevant? Yes

Time-bound? No way

Why am I doing it then? Because it matters. And, I’ve learned that along the way, I’ll meet fascinating people, discover new opportunities for making a difference and refine where I’m headed.

The truth is, so much more is possible than most of us can imagine.

It’s time to get involved. To find new solutions for our tough challenges. To stand up those who profit from dividing us. To create bridges between people and ideas. To share stories about what’s working.

So … here’s my challenge for YOU. Ask yourself, “What’s my highest goal?”

I’ll guarantee you it’s a whole lot bigger and more important than any SMART goal ever could be.

Jill Konrath


Jill Konrath loves to tackle new challenges. In 2023, she launched WhatsReallyPossible.com to engage people in creating a better future. Prior to that, she was an internationally recognized sales expert who spoke at conferences around the world. She’s also written four bestselling sales books.


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