📈 Growth Goals Gone Wild
Like any well-written character, we’re simultaneously growing, leading, and changing.
Welcome to Trendlines!
Now that football is back, we feel ready to share our most controversial take yet: Many say football is a game of inches, but we say it’s a game of yards. No, not those yards. The fanbase with the most well-manicured lawns puts the most good luck out into the universe to help their favorite teams. This means the difficulty of landing a place in NYC with fenced-in grass is to blame for the most recent Jets and Giants misfortunes.
The data-driven insights we’ve carefully landscaped this week include:
Lending some gardening tips to help your dreams initiate photosynthesis.
Cultivating the assorted topiaries so they become their most confident selves.
Trying to get insurance to cover our new place in the Florida Keys.
Growth Goals Gone Wild
Close your eyes (well, at the end of this sentence) and think about what goals you’re currently pursuing. Okay, now open your eyes (wait, your eyes are closed—🔊 OPEN YOUR EYES! 🔊). These goals, or personal projects, are fundamental building blocks of life as we exercise agency over our development through these pursuits… which may or may not include actual exercise.
When you thought about your goals, how many came to mind? The majority (67%) of Americans pursue between one and three goals. Good news, overachievers, you can best those around you by pursuing just four goals. For maximum efficiency, we suggest learning the robot, how to talk in a southern accent, and survival skills. These will put you well on your way to the fourth goal of becoming a US senator.
Young adults (age 18-30) are significantly more likely to pursue more than three goals (23%) than other age groups. In contrast, Americans between 46 and 64 are significantly less likely to pursue more than three personal projects at a given time. This is probably because this group belongs to the sandwich generation, and believe it or not, “caring for my children and parents simultaneously” is not a common life goal. All they really want is for someone to make them a sandwich for once.
Not only do the number of goals adults have change across their lifespan, but so do the type of personal projects—adults between 18 and 30 are significantly more likely than all other age groups to pursue personal projects aimed at work/education (18%), character development (13%), and learning (5%). Those over 65 are significantly more likely to pursue goals around health and wellness (34%). To put it more morbidly, perhaps those aged 65+ are still around in part because they prioritize health and wellness.
Relatedly, adults under 46 are significantly more likely (60%) than older adults to pursue growth-orientated goals (e.g., improve their health). Conversely, adults over 46 are significantly more likely than younger adults to spend time on maintenance goals (45%; e.g., maintain their current level of health). Luckily, for many older adults, maintaining that cozy five acre property in San Francisco they bought in 1987 doubles as a financial growth goal.
Do you have an awesome Trendlines story idea we should know about? We want you to tell us about it!
|GRADIENT IN THE WILD|
Leading With Confidence
Did you know Trendlines is our side hustle? In the real world, Gradient is a market research firm dedicated to helping organizations make complex decisions a little less complex. Recently, we partnered with Robin Pou, the Founder & CEO of a leadership development firm specializing in executive coaching and strategic advisory, to reveal the extent to which successful business leaders experience a phenomenon known as leadership doubt. Robin’s hypothesis (arrived upon through thousands of hours of coaching) is that every successful leader—at some point in their career—questions an aspect of their leadership which may devolve into doubt.
It’s natural to feel some doubt when “solving challenging situations” is literally in the job description. But business leaders often feel obligated to MacGyver solutions to complex problems using only a paperclip, Zoom emojis, and their management experience. Many leaders who feel doubt attempt to resolve it. When that fails it can lead to isolation, dysfunction, and decreased business performance.
To test the hypothesis that successful leaders experience leadership doubt, we fielded a survey to 601 top leaders: business owners, founders, VPs, directors, and members of the C-suite who manage teams within their organization. So what did we uncover?
First, high-powered business leaders are extremely confident in their leadership. They don’t suffer imposter syndrome. Among the 601 surveyed leaders:
100% believe they’re qualified for their current role,
100% believe they are successful leaders, and
99% believe they are effective leaders.
Second, even among successful leaders, doubt is commonplace—in fact, it ought to be the expectation. Roughly nine in ten leaders (89%) report experiencing leadership doubt on at least an annual basis, and as many as 56% experience it on a monthly basis or more often. Just as staggering: 11% of leaders reported experiencing it on the day they responded to the survey.
One simple hack for you or anyone you know experiencing leadership doubt: talk about it! The vast majority of leaders who have discussed their experiences with others in the past (92%) would do so again in the future. Younger leaders are far more likely to discuss their doubt with others (66% of Gen Z and Millennials vs. 45% of Gen X and Boomers). What prevents leaders from discussing leadership doubt with others? The two most common reasons: concern about losing credibility and concern about looking weak (both 34%).
Another thing you can do to combat leadership doubt is register for National Confident Leadership Week brought to you by Robin Pou and taking place virtually next week, where you’ll learn to embrace doubt, lead with confidence, and develop into the ideal leader you are able to be. We look forward to seeing you there!
Want to see the data? Curious about the methodology? Just reply to this email.
Disaster! At the Everywhere
Things most of us can agree have steadily increased since the 21st Century began: years, the fingernails of our dead ancestors, and natural disasters. Despite the infamous partisan rift on climate change, more than two-thirds of Americans (68%) have noticed that weather-based natural disasters are happening more frequently than during their childhood. To be fair, it’s hard not to have noticed natural disasters’ impact, as 49% of Americans state they have been directly affected by one in some way.
Residents of the South have been particularly exposed to the direct effects of weather-based natural disasters, including 34% who have been forced to shelter in place and 30% who have sustained damage to their property.
While we are more than capable of giving personalized investment advice, allow us to give some blanket advice: buying property in the South may carry some additional risks (which insurance companies have already started to note). Allow us to give some more blanket advice: storing your folded quilts and throws in an open wicker basket is a great autumnal update to any living room.
That’s a wrap, folks
We'd love to hear from you. Do you have any comments, suggestions, or other pieces of feedback? Please don't hesitate to respond to this email, we don't bite!
Do you have an idea for a research story? Want to see it in (digital) print? You can submit your own ideas for upcoming stories to our Trendlines idea repository.
Can't wait for more? Take a look at our public roadmap to see what's in store and vote on potential future Trendlines stories.
Do you know someone who’ll love this?
Gradient is a cross-functional team of industry analysts, market researchers, data scientists, technologists, and storytellers who help organizations uncover missed opportunities, find new layers of clarity, and pioneer new directions with confidence and statistical integrity. We work with startups, Fortune 100 brands, consulting firms, philanthropies, and political campaigns.