Flexibility is an aspect of goal setting that is critical to success, yet it is rarely mentioned. The reason for this, I believe, is that people mistake flexibility for uncertainty. In other words, if your goal is flexible, you might be building a reason to not fully commit to its accomplishment. In my use of flexibility for goal setting, I am not advocating lack of commitment. What I am promoting is the need to adjust your goals based on current reality.
Flexibility, in my use for goals, means to give yourself permission to adjust the letter of the goal, not the spirit of the goal. As a former baseball player and coach, let let use a baseball analogy to explain what I am saying.
A player sets a goal to get one safe hit per game. In the first inning of the next game, he knocks a single to right field. He has accomplished his goal. Now what? Later in the same game, there is a runner on second and two outs. His team is down by one. Should he feel less pressure to get a safe hit because he already accomplished his goal or should he adjust his goal that day to get two safe hits?
Let us look at the baseball analogy from a slightly different angle. Assume the player did not get a hit yesterday. Today, he has a game. Is he a failure because he was hitless yesterday or can he adjust today's goal to get two hits in an effort to average them out over the two games?
How about a third situation? He has not had a hit today. He is up to bat for what is likely to be the last time this game. He needs a safe hit to accomplish his goal, but the coach is signalling him to lay down a sacrifice bunt in order to get the winning run in scoring position. Should he bunt and risk not accomplishing his goal or accept failure and do what his coach is asking him to do?
Flexibility allows us to determine what type of goal is more important and forgives us for adjusting our desired outcome to better match up to to the situation we are facing without ignoring the spirit by which the goal was originally intended. Are we trying to get a hit each game to help our team win or to pad our personal stats? If we are operating as a connected society and seeking opportunities to share and create knowledge, we understand that putting the needs of the team ahead of ourselves is sharing our example of selfless service for the betterment of the team. The result of which is a better understanding of what is needed by everyone to build a more successful team.