“It’s a goal!”

Having goals is great way to move forward with your life. Running a marathon, losing 10 pounds, finishing a degree, buying a house. These are all common and admirable goals. But what happens when you achieve them? Or when you don’t? How does it feel?

If you happen to give up on a goal, it can be a really deflating. If you achieve it, it can feel great for a minute, and then there can be this hollow empty feeling and a push to think, what next? Or maybe you’re the kind of person that says, “I did that, I’m good now, don’t need to push anymore”.

I’ve had moments of all of the above with goals that I have and haven’t achieved and it has also been tempting to not set any goals even though I know I am motivated by a target. What I have discovered is setting a long term direction or vision in addition to having specific goals has helped me to make certain choices and not get railroaded.

I’ve taken two different approaches to setting a direction or vision. The first one I did when I first started working with my coach was a vision board. The second was just last year when I had my coaching epiphany, a letter from my future self.

  • Vision board – a vision or dream board is a collage of all the pictures or statements that represent the future you and all the things you want for yourself. It is about letting your intuition guide you to select images that inspire you.
  • Letter from my future self – this is a letter from you to you. The you that is writing the letter is you 5, 10 or 15 years from now. You pick the time-frame however I found the 5-10 year period the most productive because of the amount of change we had going on. The you that is receiving the letter is you now, today. You write to yourself about all the things that you have achieved, what day to day life looks like, what you still want to achieve.

So how does setting a direction versus setting a goal help? Goals are very focused. We can get a bit of tunnel vision and when an opportunity arises that might have nothing to do what that goal pops up, we might discount it, in favor of staying on track. Having a direction, your North star, will allow you to better assess when you have to make a decision, whether it will keep you on course or not. A direction or vision will allow you to make slight detours along the way.

I recently put this theory to the test with a change in job situation. I was offered two different full time jobs and I had to pick which one I wanted. I deliberated a long time. I selected the one that best suited my direction, even though the other one would have been, from an expertise perspective, much more in my wheelhouse. If I hadn’t of known where I want to be, I may have selected the job that is in my comfort zone rather than the one that is going to get me where I want to be in the next 5 years. So we will see how it all pans out but my gut tells me it was the right decision.

A combination of both goals and a direction allow us to move to be the people we aspire to be and not to get tunnel vision and lose sight of the big picture. I’d love to help you find your direction and set some goals to get on the right path so reach out if you would like to talk further.

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