The Danger of Aspirations

Foolish leaders permit aspirations to minimize affirmations.

Affirmations encourage and motivate by pointing to progress and success. On the other hand, aspirations say we aren’t there yet.

Aspirations set targets;
affirmations celebrate achievement.


My aspirations include building an organization where everyone supports the success of others. “Let’s build environments where we help others get where they want to go.”


I’m proud to be part of an organization where we help others achieve their goals.”


Organizations never arrive at perfection. I’ll never lead an organization where everyone fully supports the success of others. There will always be, inadequacies, laggards, and room for improvement.

Do we have people dedicated to helping others succeed? Yes! Do we have laggards? Yes. Must I wait for perfection before I can affirm?


Exclusive focus on aspirations deters affirmations.

Future goals prevent me from appreciating present attainments. “We have so far to go.”


Aspirations invite me to focus on deficiencies while neglecting successes. I don’t want anyone to think we’ve arrived. If I’m not careful, aspirations minimize dedicated efforts and hard-fought successes.


Wise leaders bring aspirations and affirmations together, but not at the same time.

“I’m thankful to lead an organization where people help others achieve their dreams,” is a powerful affirmation. I’m learning to let that statement stand on its own! Are we there yet? We’ll never be there.

Never let how far you have to go
be the reason you don’t celebrate how far you’ve come.


Will frequent affirmations make us lazy? Absolutely not.

Affirmations are wind to sails.

Experience suggests that aspirational leaders affirm too little and aspire too much. Ramp up your affirmations, you’ll get further faster.

How do you see aspirations getting in the way of affirmations?

What do great affirmations focus on or sound like?

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