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Value Creation Blog

The Dangerous Truth About Goals

Posted by Josh Patrick

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I hate goals. Yea, I know we’re all supposed to love goals and be goal oriented for success. The truth is I did that game for years, and it never served me very well.

Then, I had that phone call we all are scared to death to get. My phone call was one that said I had cancer. All of the sudden my world changed and what I thought was real changed overnight.

No longer were the goals I had even remotely useful. In fact, having goals is a really bad way of going through cancer treatment. I found it was just better to put your head down and keep taking one step at a time. I can’t say that I enjoyed the trip, but I could say that having set goals was sort of silly because I really had no idea what was going to happen.

With goals, you limit what you can achieve.

Sometimes I’ve been able to achieve incredible results. Results that were much, much better than I ever could expect.

If I were focused on writing my goals down, I would never have thought what we accomplished could be accomplished. Most of the time, what we work on is going to give us minor results. But, there are times where you can get results that you would have never dreamed.

Here are just a few I’ve gotten in my life:

  • I took our financial planning process from six weeks to three hours.
  • In my vending business, we took our average service from $42.00 per service to $132.00 per service in literally two weeks.
  • We improved our effectiveness in hiring from getting right 30 to 40% of the time to 85% of the time.

Don’t you want to have the ability to get really big results? Getting rid of your focus on small improvements might just help here.

Being goal focused will have you put your attention in the wrong place.

I know you’ve heard the saying, “Take time to smell the roses.” This means you need to learn to enjoy the journey and not just the destination.

Here is something I’ve learned through my trip through cancer world…… Slowing down and enjoying the trip will bring you more joy than just focusing on where you want to go. If you can develop the habit of being curious, learning to enjoy the trip will become very easy to do.

I want you to be curious. I want you to find ways to enjoy your journey. When you do this, the issue of change becomes a much safer activity. One that will make your life better. I promise.

If you must have goals here are the type you want.

If you really feel that you must have goals, here are some that would work for me and I hope will work for you:

  • Having a good life.
  • Learning to do interesting things with interesting people.
  • Be healthy and stay active late in life.
  • Have loving relationships in your work and personal life.

As you can see, none of these are numeric. None are something you achieve and move on. All of these goals force you to focus on the trip and how you’re going to get there instead of just getting there. For me, this is the type of goal I want.

My method of planning.

When I sit down to plan my life and what I should be doing, there are four things I focus on. I focus on these four areas by taking five steps.

  1. First I figure out what I want. For example, it might be having a life filled with interesting people.
  2. I next drill down on why this important in my life. I don’t answer the question once, I answer the question why at least five times. This way I get to the root cause or reason that a particular goal might be important.
  3. I then go back and revisit what. This is a really important step. Most of the time when I do this with myself or others, I find the original what will change. When going through this process make sure that your first idea is not your only idea.
  4. Figure out who is going to help you get to your desired outcome. For example, when I think about living a life with interesting people I know some people are going to be important in helping get there. I want to discover who these people are and how they can be of help. You want to remember that no one achieves anything of great value all by themselves.
  5. Finally, we get to how we’re going to get there. This is where you start tracking the steps you want to take to help you achieve your overarching outcome that you developed in step 3.

Most people start off with step 5 as step 1. Please, please, please follow this order. It’ll help you get to an outcome you want and one that will provide value for you in your life.

So, what do you think about reducing your dependence on numeric goals? Why don’t you let me know what you think in the comments below?

Topics: transition planning, goals, goal mapping

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