I just saw a “motivational” quote that encouraged us to have bigger dreams and loftier goals. Well you know what, sometimes bigger is not always better. Yes, I believe most of us can raise our level of achievement up a notch or two but it’s not about the end goal, it’s about the journey. If we make it about the goal then what’s next after you reach it? Do we reach eternal bliss? I doubt it. You’ll still want more, that’s just the nature of the beast. We acclimate to our new state of success and happiness therefore, we will eventually feel like we still need more. And what about when we don’t reach those audacious goals? How do you feel? I don’t know about you but, it if feels crappy and my voice of failure grabs the mic and announces, “I told you so.”
Don’t get me wrong, I believe it’s very important to have goals and I have them in all categories of my life. It’s just concerning when I see how GOALS are the measure of success versus living by our values. Let me put it another way. Process and outcome. Think of your values as the process and your goals as the outcome. If your focus is on the outcome then once that outcome is achieved, what’s next. You need another outcome and so on. When your focus is on the process then there’s less weight put on the whether you reach the outcome. The process itself is rewarding.
What does this mean to you? If we set unachievable goals we either miss our mark and the voice of failure gets louder and we feel disappointed in ourselves. Another unfortunate possibility is our voice of sabotage kicks in before we even start, telling us the goals aren’t achievable anyway so we don’t even try. If we aren’t careful, we can get stuck in this pattern resulting in feeling deflated or constantly spinning our wheels without getting any traction.
So, what can we do about it? Change our approach to goals. Goals are important because it keeps us moving forward and focused on making life improvements. But what fuels the journey to our goals….our values. To increase our satisfaction during the journey to our goals and decrease the deflating effects when we miss our target, try shifting your goal mindset with the following tip.
Define and Align with Your Values
When’s the last time you thought about your values? Have you ever even defined your values? If it’s been a while or you’ve never thought about it, now’s the time. Values aren’t just a buzz consultants like to through around, they are foundational to who we are and what brings us satisfaction in life. Take a minute to think about your values. If you don’t know what your top values are take a look at this list: Values Pillars
Here’s another way to think about your values and goals. There are two mountain climbers, one is focused on the summit, his goal is to make the summit as quickly as possible. Then when he reaches the summit that’s it, he achieved his goal; his focus then turns to base camp and how quickly he can reach it.
The other climber appreciates the journey, he still has the same goal of reaching the summit but his focus is on the journey. His top three values are exploration, freedom and curiosity. As he treks up the mountain he savors each step, he appreciates the freedom of the climb, his excitement grows as he explores new trails, and he sees his environment with curiosity.
So what happens to each climber if the weather turns and they both have to turn back, never reaching their goal of the summit? Climber one feels disappointed and is probably cursing nature for screwing up his plans. Climber two may also feel disappointed but it’s replaced by his sense of accomplished because he was able to experience the climb and fulfill his values along the way. Which climber would you like to hike with? Which climber would you rather be?
Check out this exercise to see how aligned you are with your values: Values Pillars