Three Mousetraps that Will Squash Your Goals

“If you can dream it, you can do it.  Always remember this whole thing was started by a mouse.” Walt Disney

Walt Disney, a true visionary, passed away before Disney World was finished.  At the opening ceremony, someone turned to Mrs. Disney and said, “I’m sorry that Walt was unable to see this.”  To which she replied, “Of course he saw this!  How do you think it came to be?”

Mickey 2.0 didn’t come to life by Walt’s vision alone.  Nope. Walt didn’t just fantasize about Disney World.  Nor did he sprinkle pixie dust on his dream to make it come true.

This is a vital mistake I see many leaders and teams make.  They set annual goals and milestones then apply a hope-filled strategy, expecting fairies to come along and magically make them happen.  Then, at the end of the year, they anxiously blow the dust off their goal-setting worksheets, only to discover that they haven’t hit their targets.

What people like Disney do differently may seem like magic to many.  But this type of transformation doesn’t just happen.  It takes a purpose-filled vision, a plan to navigate through obstacles, and a strong accountability system.

Here are three mousetraps that I think Walt avoided to breathe life into Mickey 2.0.

Mousetrap #1:  No Link to Purpose 

Just as Disney World was built on a strong foundation, so must your goals be grounded with a strong foundation.  That foundation is alignment with your purpose.

Without a strong link to purpose, the goals you and your team set run the risk of being should-based, reaction-based, mediocre, or seem like a have-to rather than a want to.  These types of goals can be frustrating, draining and exhausting.

Avoid this mousetrap by creating goals that compel you to want to make the necessary sacrifices for their attainment.

Setting goals that are aligned with your purpose, and backed with a compelling vision, can make a significant difference in building a successful business, working collaboratively as a team, or living an exceptional life.

Mousetrap #2:  Letting Obstacles Limit You

I get it, we’ve all been there.  You think about a grand goal and then along comes FEAR and SLAPS you in the face.  I’m here to tell you it’s not your fault!

Your brain is wired to keep you safe, and it does its job all too well to protect you.  As soon as you are about to commit to a big goal, you get stopped in your tracks to the many reasons why you cannot achieve that goal.  Some reasons are real, while others imagined.

Ouch, these nasty mousetraps!  They sound like this: “I don’t have enough resources (money, people, or time)”, “We lack the skills on our team”, “I won’t get the support needed to _____”, “I don’t feel confident enough or __________enough”.  Bottom line, you and your team keep yourselves stuck in a never-ending cycle of despair!

Avoid this mousetrap by anticipating obstacles and creating strategies to overcome them.

Disney didn’t let his current circumstances and conditions dictate what he and his team could accomplish. Nor should you!  There will always be a gap to close between where you are now and where you want to get to.  If there wasn’t that gap, and obstacles to overcome, you’d likely be there already.

Mousetrap #3:  Lack of Accountability

You’ve made it this far and avoided Mousetraps #1 and #2.  You’ve set your goal and charted a plan to navigate the obstacles.  Like magic – there’s that pixie dust again – you  expect yourself and others to be accountable to follow-through on the plan without having an accountability system in place.

Accountability can be many things, but it begins with putting your actions into your schedule.  The reality is, you will always have other people, priorities, and distracting pleasures competing for your time.  Without accountability, it’s so easy to act on things that are begging for your time.  Meanwhile, your goal’s action plan sits quietly at the side of your desk waiting patiently for your time and attention.

Avoid this mousetrap by creating an accountability system for yourself and your team. 

With an accountability system in place, you can review your progress throughout the year, challenge the thinking that keeps you stuck, and identify when you need a back-up plan.

If this is THE year you and your team finally achieve the seemingly impossible, then set a solid foundation for your goals, create a plan that busts through obstacles, and hold yourself accountable for realizing your dreams.  As Walt Disney said,

“Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done right.” 


Lisa Holden Rovers, MSc, is a certified leadership coach and award-winning human resources professional.  In 2005, she founded Workplace Matters to help small and mid sized organizations build a strong leadership culture – one where leaders develop the mindset, skill set and habits that inspire team members and influence results.   Schedule a complimentary discovery session to begin the journey of becoming a leader with influence.

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