Goal Achievement – A Very Fishy Lesson From The Weather!

"goal achievement" "Gordon Bryan"

click to visit michael-fish.com

October 15th 2012, and it’s 25 years since one of the most famous weather forecasts on British TV. Much like the south of Britain was struck by a storm, I was struck by a tip for goal achievement and self improvement…

It was a bad storm – in fact it was the worst storm to hit southern Britain in well over 250 years, causing huge damage and killing 18 people.

I remember trying to get to work and being amazed by all the felled trees and damage to houses. There was a very eerie feeling around, but the storm is mostly remembered now by that forecast.

Weatherman Michael Fish said that a woman had rung the BBC saying there was a hurricane on the way. “If you’re watching, don’t worry, there isn’t” he said.

In later years he insisted he had been talking about the weather near the US coast, and that also in the forecast he did go on to say it would be very windy across Britain.

It’s true that the storm that came wasn’t technically a hurricane, but of course the facts never stop a good folklore story taking hold, so Fish’s place in TV history was set.

Talking of facts, that’s the goal achievement lesson to be drawn from the story…

Weather forecasting can be hard. I remember hearing a long time ago that if you look out of the window and assume the weather tomorrow will be the same as it is right now, you’ll be right 75% of the time.

Naturally the technology has moved so much in 25 years, that the 3 day forecasts of today would equal a one day forecast back then. Winds change. Weather fronts change. That’s why predicting the weather can go wrong.

Despite my ‘look out of the window’ method, if we want to know what the weather’s going to look like, what do we do? We go to a forecast.

We go to a trusted source, perhaps a national broadcaster like the BBC. It’s the same when checking facts for how to achieve a goal, you go to trusted sources. Just because it’s a ‘trusted’ source though, it doesn’t mean it is always accurate!

Cross check the facts you come across.

Most people woke up on October 16th 1987 to surprise at the damage, after all Michael Fish had said there wasn’t a hurricane on the way. If you don’t check other facts, you may get some equally nasty surprises along the way.

Whatever your goal is, when you do your research on how to make progress, don’t just accept the first fact that comes your way – go to a second source, or a third, to make sure you aren’t setting yourself up to get blown off course!

Ok, as ever, do let me have your feedback, and please share, like, tweet etc if you enjoyed it – thanks!

‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. Hit the ‘goal achievement’ category on the right to see all my other articles on the subject!

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  • It was his smugness that got him into trouble. He treated her as a figure of fun and it was great that the tables were turned.

    That same evening, the French forecasters were giving out severe weather warnings and got it exactly right.

    • Definite smugness. Many areas of science hate the ‘amateurs’ and weather forecasting is a case in point.

      Were you in France all the way back then Pearson?

  • Poor Michael Fish. With the internet these days, it’s now possible to find any “fact” you want to in order to support any position you might have. Very scary, and definitely worth checking multiple legitimate resources.

    • He never lived it down, and although it’s a story to smile at now, back then there was real uproar about the lack of warning.
      It shouldn’t be able to happen today, but Fish himself says don’t be so sure ( I guess he would though, wouldn’t he!)
      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Ha! Times have changed for both over 25 years.
      With the weather forecasters the technology means greater accuracy, but they can still get it wrong.
      With the politicians, particularly noticably here in the UK, it is all about spin and the sound bite – promises are still rarely believed though!

    • Hi Lena,
      Yes, if paying for a coach, for example, always ask to speak to happy clients. If they can’t/won’t oblige, up goes the red flag!
      Cheers, Gordon

  • Assumptions! I truly believe that assumptions are the main reason any of us ever get in to trouble. Research, ask and investigate this is my business moto. Doesn’t always work, but I know for sure that it is the assumptions that lead me astray when things don’t work out.

    • Thanks Kama,
      Assumptions! Indeed, and in fact your comment has given me inspiration for an article, so thanks for that.
      An example would be a marketing forum online, where incorrect information is passed on as fact, simply because it has been stated as fact over and over. So it must be true, right? Er, no!

  • I remember that day so well, Gordon. I don’t think poor old Michael Fish’s reputation ever recovered. I think lessons were learned though, and they do say failure is only a step on the journey to success.

    Thanks for visiting my blog while I was gone, by the way. I’ve been having my own issues with having to reassess priorities for a bit till I took care of a certain situation, but back in the saddle now.

    • Thanks Janie,
      Yes, life does have a habit of throwing up, er, challenges. I’m sure that’s what Michael Fish said all those years ago…
      Good to hear you are back in the groove – onwards and upwards!