If you’re a reader of this article, there are a few things I know about you. You are likely more knowledgeable about goals than most. I’d guess that you and most of your peers would describe you as “goal oriented” in the most positive sense of the word. In fact, many of you have even been to one of Freedom Personal Development’s goal setting workshops, congratulations!
Even knowing this, if we were face to face right now I’d ask you how well you’re getting the MOST important characteristic of your goals.
How meaningful are your goals to you?
Now, like many of our clients, you might respond to the question with a slight degree of irritation. “What do you mean, are my goals meaningful to me? OF COURSE they’re meaningful to me, or I wouldn’t be making them goals of mine!” Well, the reason I ask is that only about 100% of the people I’ve worked with have at one time or another devoted tons of energy to something that was simply not that meaningful to them. Best way to tell if you’re part of that set is to answer these 2 questions:
1. Have you ever fallen short of a goal because you didn’t give it enough effort?
2. Have you ever succeeded in achieving a goal, but then found it a little (or a lot) empty?
If you answer “yes” to either one of those questions (and by the way, I’ve personally had to answer “yes” many times), you’ve experienced having goals that were not really very meaningful. And I’m not trying to beat you up here in any way, this is a VERY common problem. And the reason it’s so common is that most individuals operate without the proper framework for determining what’s truly meaningful. Let’s at least get a start on that framework. Two ways to do it:
1. Uncover Your Core Values
All of us have ideals, concepts and principles that we hold in high esteem. These are values that we want our Life to represent. If you’ve read this far, you probably feel what I’m describing better than you understand it. Values like Integrity, Freedom, Love, Growth, Discipline and literally hundreds of others hold deep meaning for us as individuals. The challenge is that most of us have just never taken the time to get down and dirty with the half dozen or so values that really get our juices flowing. It takes time and effort to hone in on, but it’s super powerful. In our Creating Passion and Significance Workshop we invest a good 2 hours in this process, you might want to take advantage of one of those classes. If not, just get by yourself for a while and answer the following question:
“If you had $50,000,000 in the bank tomorrow, what are the first three things you’d do with the money?”
Do this in private and don’t plan on showing anyone your answers, just answer honestly. Would you by a huge house? Would you cover your kids’ college education? Would you pay off all your debts immediately? Would you take a lavish trip? Would you just smile and go back to bed? Once you have your top three things, ask yourself why you’d do that. Those answers will start to reveal to you what’s important to YOU when you aren’t constrained by need. This exercise is a great way to start learning about yourself.
2. Develop a Personal Vision Statement
Whether or not you’ve compiled a list of Core Values, I always recommend the creation of a Personal Vision Statement. What’s a Personal Vision Statement? Well, it lies somewhere between a short-term specific goal and a big crazy dream. My favorite way to arrive at a Vision Statement is taken straight out of Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles.
Carve out some time for yourself, preferably at least an hour or so to start. Put yourself in a physical and mental place where you are calm and relaxed, but alert. Look ahead in your Life as far as you can see, the time frame is typically 1 to 5 years, and see clearly your Life as you’d like it. Take it one area at a time. Financially, what would you like your Life to look like? How about professionally? How about your physical health? What kind of things will you do with your family, friends, community? Whatever you see in your mind, start to capture it in writing. Really the only rule is that you write in the present tense. The phrase “I am debt free” carries much more power than “I will be debt free”. Write as much or as little as you like, but capture the picture as clearly as you can. Again, it takes some time and effort, but I promise that once you get going on this you won’t want to stop.
This process of uncovering your Core Values and crafting your Personal Vision can be huge in bringing more Passion, Significance and just overall Excitement to your life. In the words of coaching pioneer Thomas Leonard, it will literally “create a vacuum that pulls you forward” to new heights of achievement and fun. Let me know how the journey turns out, and