So what’s the point of having goals? Wouldn’t it be nicer to just go with the flow of life and enjoy what comes, turning away those things we don’t like and taking in what we do?
That sounds so nice but when I do that, I feel lost at sea, blowing in the wind following whatever might be in front of me. When I live that way, my energy gets drained. I feel dissatisfied. And I feel like I’m wasting my life.
Whereas when I set a goal, I experienced the satisfaction of seeing my progress as I work toward it. The actions I take have meaning to me in the context of the goal. It’s very fulfilling.
Choosing to have goals doesn’t mean you can’t go with the flow of life. That’s one of the things I don’t like about traditional goal-setting. In the traditional way, you set a goal, make a plan, and put together a rigid schedule. And then you make yourself accomplish it no matter what.
When I set a goal the “Surfing Your Enthusiasm” way, I experience the flow of life like a boat with a rudder experiences the flow of a river. I set a goal and as life flows toward me, I’m clear about what’s an opportunity and what’s a distraction. When I chose those things that come my way that support my goal, I feel empowered like I’m determining the direction of my life. Just like that boat determines its direction.
When I moved to Albuquerque from my hometown in Chicago, I didn’t have a job. One of my goals was to find a job where I would have plenty of time to enjoy my life outside of work. In the past, I had worked in London. In England, everyone gets a minimum of 4 weeks vacation. I totally loved having that much time off and really didn’t want to go back to the American measly vacation.
Years later after returning from London, I met someone who worked at a university. There she got 5 weeks vacation. She told me many universities are like that. If I hadn’t had set a goal to have lots of time off, I probably would have thought she was lucky having that much vacation, and not seriously considered that I too could have that. But instead, I made a note to myself that working at a university would be a good way for me to achieve my goal.
As I researched job opportunities in Albuquerque, I realized the University of New Mexico was located there. That became my number one choice for where I wanted to be employed.
I did apply to other organizations. A private company offered me a job where I’d have one week of vacation the first year, then I’d go up to two. Whoop dee doo. If I hadn’t had set the goal to have lots of time off, I may have taken that first offer. But I decided to give myself more time to see if I could get a job at UNM which I did and got my 5+ weeks of vacation each year!
Do you like setting goals? Or do you avoid them? How has this affected your life? Are you happy with your results?