“Better to shoot your arrow at the sun and hit only an eagle, than to shoot at an eagle and hit only a rock.”
If you’ve deeply considered your strengths and passions and want to pursue them to completion, you must write them down. I know, I know. You’ve been hearing this since birth, but have you? When was the last time you pulled out your goal sheet and looked at it? I fought this simple axiom for years, although every career book and motivational seminar I ever attended recommended it. Seems such a simple thing …
I find that the reason I sometimes avoid writing things down is the doubt that accompanies the exercise. Is this what I really want? Am I really prepared to commit to this? It is not that the goal is unworthy, rather it requires a series of changes that move me from my comfort zone. If the future is somewhere “out there,” I needn’t commit to it quite yet. The technical word for this is procrastination.
Now, there are dozens of reasons for procrastination: fear of change, fear of commitment, fear of being judged, fear of failure/success, etc. Which fear is holding you back? Well, for the moment don’t worry about it, because trying to delve deep into your psyche for that inner block is one more reason to procrastinate. Just start writing things down, goals, dreams, desires, all of it. As you begin to go through the practical steps of creating timelines and an action plan for achieving your goals, you will winnow down your list.
I’m not going to speak to the very important business of advising you how to set and write goals. Visit your local library or bookstore. There are many good books to choose from. I do suggest that you find one or two and follow the author’s instructions. I like Brian Tracy’s book because it seems to fit my personality. You may find another that better suits you. The important piece here is to commit to the exercise, follow-through and finish. Then examine and re-examine your goals often to adjust as necessary.
You may find that your goals change over time. That’s OK. Part of the magic of the exercise is the reflection process built into goal setting. Only by designing your career plan and writing out the steps and time frames necessary to achieve your goals will you determine whether you are satisfied by their pursuit. Life is a learning process, an endless series of races, short and long, fast and slow, that proceed to the legacy that you have chosen. As you move down your career path, you will succeed beyond your expectations only because you have defined them, refined them and pursued them intelligently.
Quit putting it off. Find a good goal-setting book and begin the goal-setting process. Then, on the anniversary of the date you set your goals, prepare to be amazed at your progress. I promise. You will astound yourself.
E-mail me with thoughts at jack.o’email@example.com.