When we think about making progress in our lives or careers, the word ‘goal’ often comes to mind

For many people, setting or working towards ‘goals’ can be highly motivating and provide a real driving force for change. But for others, that one little word can be enough to launch us into a state of complete and utter inaction.

Because for some, the word ‘goal’ can feel laden with pressure and expectation, or trigger deeper insecurities or fears. Which ultimately makes goal-setting entirely counter-intuitive for them, in my opinion!

The power of language can be immense – and through working with countless clients in a coaching capacity this has become really apparent to me.

So often, I work with women who have, consciously or not, spent much of their lives trying to live up to other people’s expectations of them.

This can come from societal conditioning, their upbringing, schooling, their partners, friends or colleagues… and also very often from THEMSELVES.

As a result, the word ‘goal’ can create a real tension in the coaching space, and when that happens I believe so strongly in calling it out, digging into what lies below the discomfort and exploring new ways to describe what they want to work towards.

Because for many people, there will be heaps of alternative words or phrases or metaphors that will feel way more motivating to focus on than the word ‘goal’. More compassionate and supportive. More aligned and less restrictive.

Because working towards what we really want for ourselves and truly embracing that process needs to feel motivating, expansive and like YOU.

  • It is not a black/ white, success/ failure, right/ wrong journey
  • It’s about listening to you and doing things your way
  • Finding your own intuitive flow that feels good to you
  • Feeling the freedom to make your rules and choose your path
  • Appreciating the light and shade in your life
  • Letting go of who the world expects you to be
  • Knowing it’s ok to deviate or take steps back before you’re ready to move forwards
  • Believing it’s ok to break the mould and JUST DO YOU!


As a coach, I’m all for taking action with intention and purpose. But arriving at the destination is ultimately just one moment in time.

What really matters most of all, in my book, is the experience you gain and who you become while on the journey towards your aspirations. That’s where the real magic happens and where the true transformational power of change – through coaching or otherwise – comes into its own.

Personally, I am a big fan of the words INTENTION and ASPIRATION.

How do you feel about the word ‘goal’? And is there an alternative that might be a whole lot more ‘you-shaped’?

This article was written by career and life coach, Tamsin Williamson