Goal Setting

Photo by Angie Torres

Goals goals goals.

We’re all steeped in the process.  Successful people set goals. SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Work on your goals everyday. “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.” Earl Nightingale. Brian Tracy. Tony Robbins. Oprah.

Okay, yes.  Thanks. Absolutely.

But for me, something’s missing from this formula. I discovered it by asking myself this question:

What’s more important? Where I end up? Or the person I’ll be when I get there?

Yes, I want to be on time for everything. Yes, I want to be (or at least appear) perfect. Yes, I want to achieve my super-timely goals. But what good is all that if I wreck all my relationships along the way?

Where did this come from?

It came from me losing my mind because someone I work with wasn’t prepared for a meeting and asked me to reschedule it. I went ballistic.  How dare you drop the ball?  How dare you make me look like a jerk? No wonder clients don’t trust us.  Etc.

I raged for about an hour and a half.  I was hot, and I shamed this person into submission.  Or maybe not.  He’s kind of used to it.

And then, there it was.  What’s more important?

  • What’s more important?  My relationship with my friend and creative partner?  Or the judgment of a client who will move on as soon as we complete her project?
  • What’s more important? Making this meeting or presenting our best work?
  • What’s more important? The goal, or the person I’ll be when I get there?

Decide what’s important.

Each of us must actively decide what’s most important.  All too often, we assume that the urgent thing is also the important thing, but making that assumption can lead us astray.

That’s because urgency is about other people’s priorities, not our own.

I have a top three list of things that matter most.  Call it my life’s purpose:

  • Connection: Creating and nurturing timeless, loving, respectful relationships.
  • Learning: Expanding my perspective and abilities by learning new things.
  • Creation: Discovering and creating art that is whole and beautiful.

What I’ve found is, if I’m doing these things, I am automatically more present, courageous, humble, authentic, curious, and vital.

My purpose may not be your purpose. That’s absolutely fine.  But you might want to think about what your purpose is. I’ve found there’s no better measuring stick for my success in any moment.

As for goals?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have goals. I’m saying that, whatever your goal, the only moment you will ever have is this one, right now. Use it wisely.  And take care not to trample others on your way.  If that matters to you.  It does to me.