by Jeanne Baer, President Creative Training Solutions
Having lived in three countries and traveled to 30, I can tell you with assurance that the U.S. is uniquely goal-oriented. The expectation, woven into the fabric of our very culture, is that we will set and achieve ambitious goals. It’s symbolized by catchphrases stretching from “Manifest Destiny” in the early 19th century, to “Mission Accomplished” in the early 21st . Even when “Mission Accomplished” turns out to be “Mission Impossible,” we often cling to a “can do” determination.
But what if you’ve set some important goals for yourself and not accomplished them? The answer is staggeringly simple and can be summed up in five short words: They aren’t important to you.
Why would you set unimportant goals? Perhaps you set them based on someone else’s values and advice. It might have been a friend, family member, boss… anyone with influence over you. Or you may have decided what you thought you should value, and created goals to fit. You might have decided to earn a degree or certification, make a certain income, carry out a Herculean volunteer project, etc.
Your goals seemed to have merit when you initially committed to them, but you never achieved them. Why? Because they weren’t based on what you value. Once you create goals centered on what’s important to you, it will be easy, perhaps even fun, to fulfill them.
The second reason you may not have made progress is that you feel more fulfilled by relationships than by accomplishments; you’re more people-oriented than task- oriented.
It dawned on me that this is my case, when I took myself to the proverbial woodshed regarding some goals I haven’t accomplished. A goal to turn my 100 best “Managing Smart” columns into a book is one example. A goal to publish an employee engagement book is another. A goal to sell 300 copies of my new book, Success Simplified, is a third.
The whipping began. “What on earth have you been doing for the last 5-10 years!?” I gave it some thought. It turns out that instead of taking action, I’d been enjoying the wonderfully satisfying relationships I am blessed with. And reading European history, which fascinates me. And taking photographs, a huge passion. And doing volunteer work with children, a genuine joy. In retrospect, I wouldn’t change a thing.
So what on earth have you been doing when you might have been taking action? Once you’ve determined how you’ve spent your time and energy, consider why. Then jump off the guilt wagon and realize that you’ve been doing what’s exactly right for you, all along. Liberating, isn’t it?!
Take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and repeat after me: “I will examine how I spend my time and energy, I will own it, and I will enjoy it!”
Next month, Beyond Goals: Discovering and Using Your Unique Gifts
If your organization would like a keynote speech on this or other topics, contact Jeanne at (402) 475-1127 or (800) 410-3178, see her website at www.cts-online.net, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2012 Creative Training Solutions
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