We have spent countless articles on the subject of goals. After all, how do you get where you’re going if you don’t know where you want to go? How do you know if you are on the right track along the way? How do you get others to follow you or help you get there? You cannot get a bank loan without a business plan, all business startup training begins with the goal question, your trainer at the gym starts by asking about your goals, your physician talks about your health goals and even the law of attraction books tell you to be very specific in setting goals. This article is for people who have achieved some successes and have mastered the ability to set a goal, stick to it, and repeatedly produce predictable outcomes. If that sounds like you, by all means, read on.
What if goals are really getting in your way?! In the immortal words of Scooby Doo “ruh-roh”! Thanks to goal-setting, I started with nothing and now have everything I want. Also thanks to goal-setting, I have held myself back from far bigger accomplishments.
I have the great fortune of being exactly where I want to be in life. Goals are future oriented, so if I ask myself if I am the perfect me for the future, I admit that who and what I am today, will not be who and what I want to be tomorrow. This is why we have goals.
If we commit to a specific, time-bound goal, as we are rightly taught to do in business, are we closing off the possibilities of even better outcomes? Are we so committed to what our ego wants that we cannot grow to accept the good fortune that is all around us? We set the goal based on what we knew at the time, and if we are constantly learning along the way, we are no longer the person we were when we set the goals in the first place. It is as if we are committed to someone else’s goal. After achieving a few goals, we learn there is no such thing as success or failure, only feedback. How do we benefit from the feedback if we are not flexible in our paths? How flexible should we be to not become wishy-washy?
If this sounds like you, I suggest it may be time to move beyond goals; let us move on to vision. In creating a vision, we imagine a bigger picture that is more philosophical in nature, more general in description, yet still very specific in the areas that matter most. The areas that matter however, are not driven by the ego, as they often are in goal-setting. They are not driven for extrinsic rewards, societal norms and pressures, or old definitions of what we thought success would look like. Visions are driven by our own highest vision of ourselves. We create visions of contribution and service, based on principles. We commit to the principles and intended outcomes, instead of committing to the specific step-by-step goals along the path. By this point in our journey, we know what we are willing to do, what we are not willing to do, what parameters are strict rules and which are general guidelines in our life. You have the
resources to graduate from effectiveness to greatness. External greatness might be considered simply a higher level of effectiveness. Someone becomes great at what he or she does, because they operate at a very high level of
effectiveness. Effectiveness and greatness are as different as goals and visions. To me, goals, as we usually talk about them anyway, are about what we want for ourselves, celebrating our uniqueness and what separates us from
others. Visions are about what we want for others, celebrating our commonality, community and what joins us as the same.
Vision may inspire us to change what we do, but mostly, it is about changing our intentions, changing why we do what we do. Our human desire for meaning and achievement comes together for a higher purpose. Effectiveness requires goals. Greatness requires vision. Vision is harder to create than goals, because of the fear of not knowing how it will ever become reality. However, when you are ready to graduate to vision, it reveals itself and becomes easy, because you know that strategy does not present itself until after you have a clear vision. One must let go of the how. Vision precedes strategy. People who do not believe this will easily prove themselves to be correct. People who do believe this, will also easily prove themselves correct. When the vision is clear and in alignment with your purpose, a strategy always presents itself. Greatness requires courage and confidence to let go of goals and expected outcomes on which we have built our previous success. This is far too frightening and risky for most people. The journey to internal greatness will require great faith that the path will continue to present itself as we forge ahead through the fog. Let us put on our headlamps, go into the fog and see what we can do.