For years I have struggled with setting goals. Revenue goals, unit sales goals, weight loss goals, and even relationship goals. I have tried many systems of goal settings - SMART, SMARTER, and smartest! But here is the honest truth - almost every goal that actually worked out, was a goal that I stumbled on to. Either I stumbled upon it in a conversation with someone and felt inspired, or I came across it while reading something, or it happened as a part of a group goal.
Or, the goal came to me in a moment of high energy and clarity, and I spontaneously committed myself to it. It was rarely the result of some dry analysis and pure logical thinking. Every successful goal in my life has had a high amount of emotion attached to it. The really good ones have also had a fair sprinkling of feeling ‘terrified’. Just the right amount though, never enough to paralyse action. But enough to create excitement and energy.
Let me share some goals that have worked out for me.
- School - taking on the leadership for my school team in ‘Centrafest’, an inter school multi event competition. It was thrust upon me by my teachers.
- Post Grad - I decided to get admission into IIM-A in a conversation with an uncle who I looked up to as a mentor. He looked at me with doubt. I decided to ‘show the world’ I can do it.
- Going to Everest Base Camp - It was the first ever trek I did! My wife mentioned it, and I agreed. I was scared but hey, I was newly married!
- My first half marathon - It was proposed by Naren, and I was one of the first to raise my hand and jump into it.
- Creating a digital platform for youth (current goal) - Has been on my mind for the last 1.5 years and finally taking shape.
Goals are work in progress. They happen. They evolve. A point comes when the goal feels ‘right’. Setting up a goal is not something that can be done in an instant. It happens in an instant, but that instant is a long time in the making, or is accompanied with the momentum of highly charged emotions. Being the school leader was a thought brewing in my mind from 2 years before the opportunity came to me. Getting into IIM-A was a seed that was planted while reading a business magazine in my 8th grade. Everest base camp was suggested by my wife and I agreed. The half marathon happened in the momentum of a challenge given to me, and my need to prove myself. The digital platform goal has being cooking in some form or the other for at least 10 years in my mind - I wanted to do something in the online space. The work we do with youth, was sparked off in my mind over 20 years when I attended a youth camp in Australia and I remember telling myself ‘I would love to do something like this one day’.
Goals are never the final destination. They are indeed just milestones.
What is far more important than the goal itself is the DIRECTION I want to progress in. I want to progress in the direction of empowering youth. I want to progress in the direction of fitness.
When my direction becomes clear, it starts becoming a part of my sub-conscious mind. I start seeing opportunities. Goals need to be very specific but directions need to be broad. Directions need to be firm.
Now that I have chosen a direction, I know I will make it happen. I am ambitious about it. I know how far I wish to go in that direction. I am ready to make sacrifices towards that direction. I am focussed on making PROGRESS in that direction. The goals will certainly keep finding me!
Would love to know what direction you have chosen, and if a goal has already found you...