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Confessions of a Recovering Goal-a-holic

He asked me, “what’s your game changing goal?” It’s a totally legit question for my coach to ask me. Yes, I have a coach. Two in fact. Tip #1: ask your coach who they are coaching with and why. Or at least who they are reading and studying. Any coach worth their fee is, in my opinion, advancing their personal evolution continuously. I’m working with this particular person in order to push myself by challenging ideas and stories I’ve held on to long past their expiration date. So why am I resisting setting a goal? Surely that’s what coaching is about: helping people set and achieve goals, right? The answer I came to took me by surprise. Maybe I don’t need a specific, measurable, blah blah blah goal right now. In fact, I’m pretty certain that’s exactly what I don’t need. You see, I’m a recovering goal-a-holic. I’ve realized that I’ve spent most of my teenage and adult life seeking the rush that comes from arriving at some destination: finishing a degree, completing a work project, successfully traveling from one point in the planet to a far off destination… I realized that while I have accomplished a lot, I hadn’t always enjoyed the journey or felt successful at the end.

Tip #2: don’t wish your life away. I think there is a big difference between accomplishment and success. As a professional project manager for over 20 years, I’m super familiar with making a plan and sticking to it. Most of the time, achieving a goal is about incremental progress on priority items over a sustained period of time. The problem with that mindset is that it puts all the emphasis on withholding current pleasure for the benefit of some future outcome. This leads to accomplishment. I’ve arrived. Whoopty-freakin-do. There’s no passion in accomplishment because by cutting myself off from my emotional center, I’ve lost the truth of why I desired the goal in the first place.

Tip #3: it really is about the journey. Real success would be if I had been present all along the way. Making decisions that make sense to my logical, egoic brain as well as my heart (or intuition if you prefer the term).

Tip #4: set general goals that include how you want to feel when you’re done and let the specifics unfold along the way. I promise that if your head and your heart are aligned, you’ll know what your next move should be. So…taking my own medicine, what is my game changing goal? Its to wind up in an abundant, service oriented career that allows me that balances professional and personal time. I want to feel happy and successful along the way and not expecting that checking the boxes on the task plan leads to joy. I’m going to check in with my head and my heart daily to see if I’m balancing logic with intuition as I progress through my career and my primary relationships (defined as those not exclusively held on social media).

Tip #5: as part of goal setting, define how you’re going to keep yourself on the right path, reinforcing self- compassionate beliefs along the way. Lastly, I want to provide some resources for anyone interested in exploring alternative ideas around success and happiness. My two favorites are Happiness Now by Robert Holden and The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer.

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