Unless you have the time to hear a long ramble on goals and what I see my life as.
Questions like ‘which goals I have’ or ‘where I see myself in X time’ are questions I truly dread. I can always make up something, and sometimes I do just for the sake of moving along with the conversation, training, exercise. But most times and on most days, I will give you a speech on why this question is hard to answer for some of us!
It generally goes with:
- I explain some of us are wired differently: I am a Scanner and proud of it
- How am I supposed to work towards a goal? What if a cool opportunity comes up tomorrow? If I accept it, I will be failing with myself and my goals. If I don’t, I will always wonder what if.. ?
- What to do with these goals? I guess the idea is to work towards them, create habits that promote them, be consistent about them, etc.. The problem is: I do struggle with consistency
- From the tens of interests I have (and this even applies when thinking just about career) – will I create goals for all? Do I need to prioritize?
Don’t ask me to create goals – it’s such an impossible exercise for me.
I just had a training on Career Growth, and one of the exercises was to think of an area to grow, create a sort of intention / small goal / training / etc… / we could do to reach it and then think of a main goal that would mean our path was definitely in a good shape.
I did it: surprisingly fast! And then we went into smaller zoom chats and I heard someone share theirs and I thought: that is cool! I want to do that instead! And let’s be honest, I would be happy with possibly at least half the goals of the attendees of that training.
How I cope with the inability to create goals
For a long time, this was actually the question I took to coaching discovery calls:
“How would you guide me if I told you that I am unable to create goals for myself? What is your opinion on that?”
The idea was to actually get a coach who understood me or was willing to indulge me on this thought. Surprisingly, this question brought me amazing coaches so far, led me to the realization that there are more folks like me out there and actually provided me with some mind switches to cope with this.
While I don’t interview for jobs (hence, don’t need to answer these questions that often anymore) every quarter and end of year I reflect on the time passed, what I’ve accomplished, where I am heading, etc.
Hence, I now create “goals” that are more like intentions. Also, as mentioned in the Atomic Habits book, I create goals based on who I want to become or the impact I want to have, and not necessarily what I want to do to get there.
As an example: becoming a Lead or Team Lead. This could be a valid goal for me. But all in all, my real motivator behind this goal is to have an increased impact on the company, my colleagues, … I can do that (increase my sphere of impact) in many ways that don’t involve becoming a Team Lead. Which means that my true goal is Impact and not “becoming something” or “reaching a role”. This also gives me some tranquility that as life changes and as things happen, my goals are still valid.
You might be thinking that these goals are pretty broad.. Yes – definitely not SMART goals (of which I am a big fan). I do end up (on a quarterly basis or even monthly) defining actions to reach those goals. I find it easier to predict a month and see what I could do to reach something than a whole year or even a quarter.
The way I do this is create a big list of all the things I can think of that would help me get closer. I try to gamify this as much as possible. An action rarely helps a single goal, which is the fun part of this: if I can do something that will impact all the goals I have, isn’t it smarter to do that action than one that is a step to a specific single goal?
For instance, this Garbage Post Challenge we’re doing now. It has a clear goal (100 posts in 30 days) and, if it goes as I expect it to, it will have an impact on me as a Communicator, as a Blogger, as a Writer, as a Planner. So many of my hats (or bags) will be impacted by this goal! This is why I am loving it. And as I become better at all these things, I am coming closer to reaching my goals as well.
What about you? Is it easy for you to define goals? To create an action plan and to follow it? Any tips or tricks?