Lesson Transcript


Chigusa: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Chigusa and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Chigusa: In this Inner Circle, we’re talking about...
Peter: How to Deal with Missed Language Goals &Failure
Chigusa: And today, you will learn...
Peter: 1) What Happened to Peter’s Goal in April
Chigusa: 2) How Peter Approaches His Missed Goals
Peter: ...and 3) How You Can Learn to Deal with Failure
Chigusa: All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned how to speak more of your target language…
Chigusa: ...through preparation.
Peter: And, how I cheated with our 1-minute conversation cheat sheet.
Chigusa: And Peter, you also set a goal of 5 minutes of Hebrew conversation…
Peter: I did, and I failed that goal… and failure is the topic of today's Inner Circle.
Chigusa: Oh, how very convenient!
Peter: It is! But let’s not dwell on that and let’s move on to the first part of the conversation.
Chigusa: Part 1) What Happened to Peter’s Goal in April
Peter: So, Chigusa, is it okay to use the pandemic as an excuse for not reaching my goal? I’m going to say that the pandemic definitely influenced reaching my goal. I’m going to go with that excuse.
Chigusa: Hmm, I think many of our listeners can relate to that...
Peter: I think we can say that it has had a very dramatic impact on our lives and work. We hope that everyone is okay there and doing as best as everyone can. But as you know, Chigusa, we had to close our office...which meant we couldn’t do these Inner Circle recordings....and we also had to scramble to get everyone at the company working remotely. Make sure that everyone had everything they needed. So, there was just a lot of work that needed to be done...and maintained. Even right now. Work aside, my kids were home from school, we were keeping in contact with friends and relatives back home, and it’s been … there’s just been a lot of things that moved to the front of the priority list. I think that’s probably the way I want to phrase it, so.
Chigusa: I understand. So, you literally had no time for practice.
Peter: I think that time was focused on other... I love this expression, “life admin - life administration” areas. We diverted resources from self growth to some other areas. But, you know, some people managed to continue their self growth journey. So, for me it was a little challenging.
Chigusa: And I bet our listeners also felt the impact.
Peter: Listeners, if you have a story to share, please feel free to email us and share your stories. We have received many of them. Very, very inspiring stories. So, if you have the time, please feel free to email us and share your stories.
Chigusa: I know that for many of us, it meant a lot of time at home…
Peter: Chigusa, how about you? Did you work on any goals while you were at home?
Chigusa: My goal. Actually, yes, I worked on several. One is to read the newspaper everyday, which I’ve never done before. I hate reading the newspaper. Another is, trying to skip dinner. Is that a goal?
Peter: Healthy goals? Reduce dinner would probably be nice.
Chigusa: Not skip. Salad. Eating salad for dinner.
Peter: And which section of the newspaper.
Chigusa: The section?
Peter: Politics. Classified. Sports. Business.
Chigusa: Pop news.
Peter: Pop news. That’s nice.
Chigusa: Yes, try to be a little more intelligent.
Peter: Yeah. That’s good, so self growth. It’s really good that you were able to focus on some areas to grow. And this is what we’re going to discuss in this lesson. How to get back on track towards growth. Because I think it’s OK if you didn’t get anything done either. It was a very, and it still is, a very challenging time. Even if you weren’t so busy. Because this situation is something we’ve never dealt with before. And your health is paramount. Most important thing. Once that’s stabilized, you can focus on expanding and self growth.
Chigusa: Agreed. You can even see this with more minor life events…
Peter: ...like if you’re moving to a new place, getting married, or getting a promotion...or any other big life event.
Chigusa: These are new situations.
Peter: And they come with stress.
Chigusa: ...and they can interfere with whatever goals you set.
Peter: So, Chigusa, I failed my goal, but I also think it’s a really good topic to talk about, because let’s be honest, failure is a part of life.
Chigusa: It is. We all deal with it, pandemic or not.
Peter: So, let’s jump into the next part.
Chigusa: 2) How Peter Approaches Missed Goals
Peter: Actually, this isn’t the first time I’ve missed a goal if you’ve been listening to this series before. So in that sense, it’s kind of nothing new.
Chigusa: But Peter, don’t you feel bad about missing goals?
Peter: No, not really. Once you’ve had enough experience at it, of both: hitting and missing goals… it’s hard to feel bad.
Chigusa: Really? Because if I don’t do something I promised to do, or if I underdeliver… I would feel bad.
Peter: Well, that’s natural. But I think you have to ask yourself, what or why did you fail? What is the reason that you failed? Is it in my control or out of my control?
Chigusa: Like the current pandemic.
Peter: Exactly. Some things are in your control and some things are out of your control, and in this case, I don’t blame myself entirely but there is an element of my own blame. So, understanding why - the reason you failed - that’s the key to progressing from there.
Chigusa: I see...
Peter: And sometimes… Let’s go to within your control. Sometimes, there are goals that you don’t reach and you fail them because maybe the goal was unrealistic.
Chigusa: Can you give us an example?
Peter: Well, for example, I’m going to learn 1000 new Japanese words by the end of the week. It’s a goal but chances are it’s going to be a little bit tough. Probably because it’s not…
Chigusa: Realistic.
Peter: So if you don’t reach your goal, the first thing you have to understand is.. “Why?” In case of the pandemic, outside of your control. There will always be events outside of your control. Then there will be events that are inside of your control. Such as a 1000 words in a week. In this case, we’re going to give you a tool, and we’re going to speak about this in a minute….to help you understand what’s a more realistic goal. What’s probably a better number than 1000? For one week?
Chigusa: I would say… 20?
Peter: 20 is a much better number than 1000.
Chigusa: So, we set a smaller goal and that makes it realistic.
Chigusa: I see Peter. So you’re an expert on failing.
Peter: Yes, I think you can say that. I prefer the glass-is-half-full but yes you can say expert on failing. Chigusa, do you know how you become an expert on failing?
Chigusa: You just keep failing and failing?
Peter: Exactly. So, in the past I’ve failed because I had too much going on at work. Because of vacations. I’ve failed proficiency tests because I didn’t have time to study. So, bad planning. There are so many ways to fail. But at the same time, I keep going. Adjusting. Adapting. I keep going. So, I’ve also hit plenty of goals.
Chigusa. Then if you missed the 5-minute Hebrew goal, why not try it again? Why a smaller goal?
Peter: Best question. It makes sense to try the same goal, right? But the reason is...if you fail, again, it’s because that goal is too far out of your reach. Either you yourself can’t handle it, or your current situation - like being busy at work or having a private matter - doesn’t give you much time. By readjusting and aiming lower, you can at least get back on track to succeeding at reaching a goal. You’re getting something done and you’re getting your confidence back up. So, if I couldn’t reach 5 minutes the first time around, Chigusa...
Chigusa: ...you may not be able to reach 5 the second time around.
Peter: Exactly. 5 minutes is not realistic for my current routine. My current lifestyle. But, maybe 3 minutes is realistic for my current lifestyle, my current routines. So, a smaller, easier goal gets you back on track to success.
Chigusa: Almost like the gym. If you haven't been to the gym in a while and you used to lift 100 pounds, you won’t be able to do it on your first day back. So you start with smaller weights.
Peter: Exactly. So, you have to know how to recover from failure. Now, I guess Chigusa... You know what we could say? We could also say, recover from taking a break from applying yourself towards reaching a goal. I think that's the politically correct way to say failure these days but you know sometimes, you take some time off, so you can also look at this as…. A roadmap to getting back on track.
Chigusa: So, failure isn’t a big deal to you. You can always recover, you know how to recover and get back on track.
Peter: Exactly, and this is a key point not just for language learning but for any goal in your life. It’s just a bump in the road. And I like to forget fast and move on. The other thing to keep in mind is, even if you don’t hit your goal, if you at least spent some time on the language…
Chigusa: ...at least you’re already walking in the right direction.
Peter: So, if you can’t hit it now, you’ll hit it eventually. For April, I didn’t work on my Hebrew at all… but I do have January, February, and March under my belt.
Chigusa: Peter, you said earlier that you don’t feel bad about missing goals. But I think a new learner would still feel disappointed.
Peter: It’s experience. You only get that kind of awareness from failing a lot, learning why it happens, learning why you’re failing, and knowing how to recover. Now Chigusa, don’t get me wrong, deep down inside, sure it eats at me. There were times where I was so disappointed about missing goals or embarrassed for not being able to speak Japanese. For example… There was that time many years back when I lived in Ibaraki Prefecture. And I was at a bar with a friend. We were both learning Japanese at the time. And he was better than me. So, we were chatting with the bartender, and he told the bartender in Japanese, he pointed to me and said: “oah yeah, he can’t speak Japanese very well.” Yeah Chigusa. This memory stuck with me. It definitely had an impact on me. He wasn’t trying to be mean, he was putting things into context for the bartender. But I saw it at the time as... I took it very personally and I did feel bad about it, but I also used that motivation to get better.
Chigusa: That’s a great story. Now, what can our listeners take away from all of this?
Peter: Let’s jump into the third part.
Chigusa: Part 3: How You Can Deal with Failure
Peter: Now, listeners, in the context of failing goals, when we talk about failure, it means… you set a goal, but you don’t reach it.
Chogusa: For example, if the goal was learning 100 words in a month...
Peter: ...Either you learned 50 or 80, meaning you took some steps…
Chigusa: Or you did nothing at all, meaning you’re still at zero.
Peter: In my case, my goal was 5 minutes of Hebrew conversation, and I did not work on it at all.
Chigusa: Next failure usually happens for one of two reasons:
Peter: One: As we mentioned, you set an unrealistic goal that’s too hard for you, or your routine, or your lifestyle.
Chigusa: For example, learning 1000 words in a month can be overwhelming.
Peter: Or two: It could be for reasons outside of your control.
Chigusa: Maybe you got sick. Or you’re busy at work and have no time. Or you’re moving.
Peter: Life can get in the way.
Chigusa: So now that you know why failure happens, here’s what you can do.
Peter: One: Ask yourself: Is this outside of my control or inside of my control?
Chigusa: For example, you could be moving, you might have overtime at work, you may get sick, and life gets in the way.
Peter: At that point, yes, it is outside of your control, so there’s no need to blame yourself.
Chigusa: If it was within your control, it’s likely you set a goal that was too hard.
Peter: Second: If you end up feeling disappointed over a missed goal, let the feeling sink in...
Chigusa: ...and use it as motivation for next time.
Peter: Third: Understand that this isn’t the last time you’re going to fail.
Chigusa; There’ll be goals that you’ll hit, and there’ll be goals that you miss.
Peter: ...and in a way, that’s good because you’ll get used to it, and you won’t feel too bad about it.
Chigusa: Fourth: Understand that as long as you spend time on the language, that’s still good enough.
Peter: Goals are meant to get you walking in a certain direction.
Chigusa: So, as long as you made some strides, that’s good enough and better than nothing.
Peter: If your goal was to learn 100 words but you only learned 50, 50 is better than zero.
Chigusa: And if you couldn’t hit 100 now, you’ll hit it soon enough. It’s just a matter of time.
Peter: Fifth: Learn how to recover from failure by setting smaller goals.
Chigusa: So, if the last goal didn’t work out, make it easier for yourself. If learning 100 words were too much...
Peter: ...try 50 words. Give yourself a chance to succeed on your own terms.
Chigusa: And sixth: If you fail and recover enough, you'll get used to failure…
Peter: And you’ll become a failure expert like me and you’ll know that it’s just a minor bump in the road.
Chigusa: But that requires failing and getting used to it.
Peter: Listeners, by the way, we’ve included a PDF worksheet inside the notes for this Inner Circle.
Chigusa: There, you can do some goal analysis…
Peter: ...and answer some specific questions about your goal…
Chigusa: ...to help you understand the failure and bounce back.
Peter: And that’s because writing out your thoughts on paper gives you a third-person perspective.
Chigusa: You can see what went wrong…
Peter: ...without getting attached to the actual failure, without blaming yourself.
Chigusa: Alright, Peter, so, you missed the 5-minute goal. What’s next?
Peter: So, Chigusa we’re actually recording this much later than April so I can’t go back and give myself a goal for this one. So, we’re catching up on studio work that we weren’t able to do because of the pandemic. So in this episode there won’t be any goal ...because we’re recording after the deadline for May.
Chigusa: I see. And listeners, let us know what your small, measurable monthly goal is.
Peter: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com, and stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


Chigusa: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye. Everyone!
Chigusa: Thanks for listening!