When it comes to goal setting and goal achievement, it’s important that you understand this critical fact…
Goals… even goals that sound good… aren’t necessarily “good” in and of themselves.
I want to talk about Purpose, Vision and Goals … bringing Goals into the picture a little more sharply. Because together, these three pieces function much like the legs of a three-legged stool. In order to get what you want from any of them, you need to have them all. And when one is missing, the whole contraption falls down.
How Goals Can Go Wrong
Goals are enormously powerful things. But when they don’t arise from a clear vision, and aren’t directed towards an overarching purpose that you have consciously, deliberately conceived of, they can have devastating consequences.
Have you ever wondered how some people end up extremely successful in terms of income or professional status, but hate what they do?
In most cases, it’s because the goals that got them where they are were either disconnected from a vision and purpose, or attached to the wrong ones (often, someone else’s — parents, teachers, etc.)
Something like, “Being the best ‘x’ in my industry” is a fine vision… IF it’s related to and harmonious with a deeply-felt purpose. If it isn’t, then 20 years down the line, you could find yourself looking back on a long string of admirably accomplished goals that brought you to a place you have no genuine desire to be — and don’t know how to get out of.
Putting Goals in Context
The simple way to avoid this is to always consider your goals in the larger Purpose/Vision/Goals context. This brief checklist will help you get — and STAY — on the path you really want to be on.
Get Your Purpose and Vision in Place
Reread last week’s post or, even better, fill out the form on this page to receive my article on Purpose, Vision and Goals. Read it for a really in-depth explanation of this whole concept. Make sure you fully understand each one of these elements and how they function together, and that you have a solid purpose and vision clarified and written down, before you start formulating your goals.
Think Big… Then Think Little
Your purpose and vision should be big, exciting, and inspiring. But the goals that will get you there need to be small and practical — you might even say boring — enough that you actually can accomplish them. Think steps, rather than Olympic-level long jumps.
Earl Nightingale shared a marvelous technique that can help you do this: Each night, write down six goals for the following day. Make each one manageable enough that you know you will be able to get it done that day, and commit yourself to them. Do this, and you will be making constant, steady progress toward the realization of your vision and fulfillment of your purpose. And ending each day with a sense of real accomplishment will you an incredible feeling of confidence and control over your life – not to mention a great night’s sleep!
Put it All Together
To make sure you’re doing the right things to stay on track and move forward, create a template statement for yourself that encompasses your purpose and vision, and then plug each new goal into it. “Today I am going to <goal>, in order to manifest my vision of <vision>, so that I can fulfill my purpose of <purpose>.” Does the statement flow and make sense? If not, that goal is probably the wrong one to be pursuing. Rework it until you’ve landed on something that fits and feels right.
This exercise also helps you to keep your purpose and vision alive and vivid in your consciousness.
You’ve got an inspiring purpose. You’ve got a bold vision. You’ve got several goals that will start you moving forward. Now, it’s time to ACT. Don’t wait, don’t hesitate, don’t rethink it. GO.