In almost every sphere of life there is a lot of emphasis placed on goals. They give us direction, drive growth and often indicate success. Many of the students I work with on the journey to qualifying as CA (SA)’s have very clear goals. Goals can be used as much as stick as they are a carrot. There is something very appealing about aspiring to achieve something very, very difficult (the carrot). But when the goal becomes a measure of success, they can provoke feelings of panic, guilt, shame, hopelessness, or even doubt (the stick).

The solution is not to get rid of goals. The solution is rather to focus on values. A value focused approach promotes an emphasis on how you approach your goals. It informs a set of behaviours that you are committed to enacting and acting out those behaviours not only supports the attainment of your goals, but also leads to a more fulfilling journey. I believe the students I’ve worked with that are the most fulfilled and resilient, are those that have clearly articulated their values.

For many of us our values are subtly present in how we live our lives, but we can leverage those values to fuel our motivation and reframe our perspective on success if we clarify those values and focus on enacting them. To clarify them for yourself, think about what you would want others to see you doing on your journey towards your goals. Would people speak about your commitment and dedication? Would they describe how you responded in times of difficulty or struggle? Would they talk about your optimism and enthusiasm, or your humility and humor?

Placing values at the foundation of your goals has an impact on how you view success, which has a profound impact on your motivation and commitment.

So ask yourself: What are the values that drive you?

* If you’re interested in this topic, the literature on 3rd wave CBT, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy are good places to learn more.

Michael McInerney


Michael McInerney – Senior Engagement Officer at Milpark Education – CA Connect

Mike is the Senior Student Engagement Officer at CA Connect. Facilitating individual and team performance has always been a passion of his and his role at CA Connect is focused on providing our students with the best possible online community learning experience.

Mike is a qualified psychologist with a Masters in Counselling Psychology. After practicing for a number of years, his focus turned towards higher education and applying his insights in performance psychology to the online education landscape.