Can you believe December is here?

Like many other business owners, as we head toward the end of the year and prepare for the year ahead, there are certain things you do in order to not only finish the year strong, but position yourself to start the New Year strong too.

I’m doing exactly that in Podcast HQ and our business as well, along with encouraging my clients to do the same. So, in today’s newsletter I thought I’d share my very simple yet powerful process in the hopes that if you don’t yet have your own practice to finish and start the year strong – you can borrow mine!

One reason it’s so powerful, is that it also allows you to review some of the things that didn’t go well throughout the year. Because if left unaddressed that failure (and disappointment) can manifest itself into what one of my mentors has labelled – Goal Trauma and even Financial Trauma.

What is Goal Trauma?

Goal Trauma is where you’ve set a bold goal and did everything you could to see the goal come to fruition. However, despite all of your hard work – you didn’t achieve your goal.

“A goal trauma typically occurs after you want something very badly but it falls apart after you did everything you could to make it happen.” – Margaret M. Lynch

It came unexpectedly, so you weren’t prepared for failure. You had your heart set on something, you followed your dream, you ‘thought big’ you truly believed it would happen, you ignored the naysayers and your inner sceptic. You made sacrifices, yet you still failed.

How can Goal Trauma keep you stuck?

Whenever you think about the unachieved goal, along with all of the things that contributed to it, disappointment turns into annoyance, and perhaps even anger, along with a myriad of other negative emotions.

And, because we don’t like feeling these negative emotions, it’s easier to try to ignore them, rather than address them.
However, in doing so, those unaddressed negative feelings continue to fester and can unknowingly continue to impact you as you try to move forward. In worst-case situations they continue to manifest into a cycle of ongoing disappointments and failures.

That’s because as soon as you recognise similar negative feelings begin to arise in a specific situation – you shut it down, because you don’t want to experience those feeling again. So, to protect yourself from even going down the path, you stop what you’re doing.

This is understandable, however what you don’t realise is that this will often have you playing small, or not even setting goals at all, because you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. You want to avoid ever having to experience failure again.

You want to avoid both of those situations (I.e. playing small or nor setting goals at all), because being an entrepreneur is all about setting goals and working towards your mission and vision, while taking risks. And in taking risks there’s always going to be opportunities of LEARNING wrapped up in those failures and flops.

We just need to learn how best to unwrap those lessons so they can grow us and strengthen us. Because then your failures can be the very foundations you step up on – as you climb towards achieving another milestone, and another, and another… towards your goals.

An example of Goal Trauma:

A number of years ago I facilitated a workshop for a team of accountants who were conducting an end-of-year review, while planning for the New Year. One of their newer hires stated she never set any goals unless she had thoroughly reviewed them and knew she would be able to achieve them.

As the company ran these sessions regularly to empower their team to set stretch-goals so they could aim higher than the year prior, any wonder she didn’t last long at the company.

What about you? Have you experienced failure? Do you avoid setting goals because you don’t want to set yourself up for failure?

Here are some statements to see if you have Goal Trauma, along with some key questions to ask yourself to address your Goal Trauma. These questions will help you reflect on the year that’s gone by to finish the year strong, so you can set yourself up for success and hit the ground running at the start of the new year.

How to tell if you have Goal Trauma:

You may have Goal Trauma if you feel any of the following things when you think about an experience from the past:

  • An increased level of distress, anxiety, and/or regret when you think about that event;
  • Elevated stress and a tendency to overreact when a current situation begins to feel similar;
  • A feeling of great loss of your personal power, specifically trust, confidence and belief.

Is Financial Trauma an issue for you:

Financial Trauma can also be something that you are struggling with, as a consequence of your failure.

Financial Trauma is a past significant event that has had a dramatic negative impact on money, savings, credit – or all of these. And, when you look at your current money situation, you can still see the negative impact i.e. credit score, diminished or non-existent savings account, debt.

There are many situations that can cause Financial Trauma, including:

  • Trusting someone who has ripped you off;
  • A business venture that turned sour;
  • A betrayal in a business partnership;
  • Something was stolen from you;
  • You feel a situation has ‘taken you to the cleaners’;
  • You’ve made a poor investment/business decision.

Any time you think about this situation(s) along with the negative emotions (and beliefs) that ensue – if those negative emotions and beliefs aren’t addressed, they can and WILL impact your ability to move forward.

Questions for your successes and achievements:

Grab a journal and answer the following questions:

  • What worked well for you this year?
  • What are you celebrating having achieved?
    • List the things (steps) that contributed to achieving the goal so that you can continue to smash your goals in the New Year.
    • What additional things can you do in any of the steps you took to achieve the goal that’ll enable you to take it to the next level? For instance, streamline even further and automate and/or delegate.


Questions for your failures and disappointments:

  • What didn’t work well for you? What are you disappointed with?
  • What can you learn from this experience? For instance:
    • What steps worked well?
    • What steps didn’t work well?
      • What could you have done differently?
      • Where were the gaps?
    • What would you do differently the next time a similar project and/or opportunity passed you by?
      • Who and what would you benefit getting support from?
    • Who and what do you need to forgive?

This last question may sound strange but it is SO important. Forgiveness cuts the tie that’ll bind you to that negative event – once and for all.

Not that you’re saying some of the things that happened were not unfair or wrong, such as being betrayed or trusting someone who has ripped you off. Not at all. It was unfair. It was wrong. But you don’t want that negative event to continue keeping you stuck because you’re bound to it by negative emotions that continue to fester each time you think about the event.

My Worst Business Failure EVER is now the BEST thing EVER:

While I’ve had many failures and flops in my entrepreneurial journey, there was one failure that occurred several years ago, which I knew had all of the signs of creating both goal AND financial trauma if I didn’t address it properly. And, it had the potential to change one of my core values of trust.

I knew that if I didn’t deal with my grief and loss, it would turn to anger, regret, suspicion, etc, and I did not want to be jaded for the rest of my life being suspicious of everyone and not trusting anyone. I wanted to continue leading with my core value trust and therefore continue to attract trustworthy people into my life.

So, not only did I answer the above questions, I also sought support of a mentor to help me navigate through this situation. Plus, a lot of time spent in prayer and with the Lord. (That’s a story for another day).

And, I’m so glad I did, because I can now say that my worst business failure ever was the best thing that ever happened to me because it led me down the path I am on today.

So, if failure and disappointment has been part of your journey – don’t let it be the bottleneck that keeps you stuck, because of unaddressed negative emotions that is tied to either goal and/or financial trauma. Or both! 

Next steps:

P.S. If this is something you’re struggling with and you’d like support – it’s something I do offer as part of my business coaching. Let’s have a chat and see how I might be able to support you.