Maybe Having Goals Is Not So Important

The word goal can – and for many people has – become so much blah, blah, blah.  We know we should have them – everyone tells us so.  There are books, articles and webinars and tons of materials written on how to set and achieve goals. 

Maybe you do have goals but, they generate more guilt than results.  Maybe you just feel inadequate because you think you don’t have any goals or enough goals or the right goals. 

Even as a productive, effective business owner and organized human being, I am willing to admit that much of what I have achieved has not come from setting and achieving goals.  Some of it has, but not all, not even the majority.

Some of my achievements came about serendipitously such as having my information featured in several books.  An author called me and I said ‘yes’ which got me onto a list that led other authors to call.  I have service and leadership awards from my industry association, NAPO (National Association of Profession Organizers) because the day the yellow pages came out with my business listed, one of their members called me.  A lot of my personal growth and development have come about because I set a theme for each of my years which don’t involve a specific goal so much as an area of focused effort.  Even owning a business was never a goal but just an interesting story of having a business start itself and yet it a very big achievement. 

Is it really goals we need or is it a sense of purpose – of value?  Are we in search of accomplishment or are we really in search of a feeling or experience?  Are goals just the arbitrary benchmarks on the way to realizing a dream or aspiration?

I recently went to a workshop presented by Holly Stokes on NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and one gold nugget of information I garnered from her presentation was about goals.   She opened a door to a new way of looking at goals and finding the motivation to achieving them.

After writing a goal, we had to ask ourselves – 5 times – “How would that make me feel?” Each go-around dug deeper and by the 5th time we had a feeling that we wanted to experience clearly identified and recognized it as a feeling we could create right now.  By working on the desired feeling now, it actually fuels the motivation to achieve the goal.  You don’t have to find motivation to achieve a goal, knowing the feeling and acting to experience now provides it.

Now I use this tool to both gauge the value of a project or goal and set the priority.  Sometimes I can see that the feeling is not enough to pursue the action, sometime there I see a simpler route to the feeling, and sometimes it drives me to shift priorities.

I had never heard or thought of goals in this way – that is really a feeling we want to experience – but it made perfect sense to me and maybe it will do the same for you.

1 comment

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