If we are defined by what we do and what we do is shaped by our goals, the process of goal-setting is vital to our path to greatness. Often we set goals and don’t know what they look like. We say things like “I will do better next time,” or “everyday I’ll get better.” But what does better look like? How do you know when you’re better, and how much better is good enough?
Before you huff and puff about the goal setting acronym you think is on the way, save it!! I am going to propose a different way to think about goal setting. I propose that we take the time to visualize our goals. I mean really see them. I’m talking HD, 3D, Blu-Ray see them. Imagine the hard work, the right work, the setbacks, and the achievements.
So often goals are simply notches on our belt, or necessary evils for us to live a certain lifestyle. Aside from our END LINE FOCUS, goals are simply items on a to-do list. Normally, when we set goals, we concentrate on the quantitative aspect (one more thing checked off the to-do list) of reaching new heights. This sets up the structure or bones of our dreams and aspirations. It provides a decent outline, but when things begin to fall apart and “it” finally hits the fan, you need more than an outline or skeleton! The visualizing I’m suggesting we do is how you put the meat on the bones! Something you can sink your teeth into when you are forced to regroup.
The next time you set a goal for yourself, I want you to know what it looks like. I want you to be able to close your eyes and see it, take a deep breath and smell it, lick your lips and taste it!!
The process works by engaging your imagination and your quantitative thought process. Normally, these two thought processes occur separately. By combining these two opposite ways of thinking, we are able to balance them both while formulating a more complete idea.
Think about it. When you are planning an event, you have a different thought process for coming up with the budget than coming up with ideas for a social activity. And sometimes, that budget planning thought process will kill a couple of big ideas you have. That’s because you have two opposing thought processes going on and we have always been taught that prudence wins out. However, through the process of visualizing your goals, you can combine both processes and achieve bigger and better. Instead of letting your budget kill your big ideas, let your big ideas fill your coffers and grow your budget.
When visualizing your goals beware of the “tiara and crowns” trap! It’s important that we paint an accurate picture of our success. Often we hear of musicians that dedicate so much time to “making it” only to lose it all. They didn’t think about everything that came along with making it, they just saw the tiara and crown. Don’t let the smooth taste fool you; reaching our personal greatness is a stubbornly difficult process. Paint that part of the picture too!
♦ First, write down your goals the way most people do, in sequential list form.
♦ Then take each goal and write a brief 3-5 sentence paragraph about how you will achieve the goal. Include things that may be an obstacle to meeting the goal.
♦ Then come up with solutions, no matter how off the wall they may seem, as long as they’re feasible…list them! This is the visualization/defining process.
♦ Last, work right, work smart, and work hard. See what happens when you define your goals instead of listing them.
Stop viewing your goals as task on a to-do list and start seeing them for what they are, building blocks on your path to personal greatness.