Have you ever noticed that when you are striving for a goal you frequently (perhaps always) feel stress along the way to achieving it or even giving up on it? As I understand it, a particular technology firm created a model for selling years ago that many of us use in some form for various aspects of our life today. It goes something like this. If you want $2 million in sales then you will have to close 50 deals. To get 50 deals you will need to make 150 presentations. To set up 150 presentations you will need to make 24,000 phone calls. This means that you will need to make (roughly) 2,000 calls a month or 500 a week, 100 a day and about 12 an hour. “Do this and you will be successful.” We use plans like this for finances, planning for retirement, dieting, school, grades, and etcetera.
On the upside this is a very specific plan but for 99% of us this will produce anxiety as we “work our backside off” to achieve the goal. Then, when we get to the goal…you get a pat on the back (perhaps) and the process starts all over again. Of course, others of us do not have a goal or have a goal and then have no plan at all. This, too, will produce a few anxious moments.
There is a dynamic here I call “striving versus arriving”. In short, setting a goal somewhere out in the future and striving to “get it” is inherently fraught with emotional peril. Why? Well, you never reach the goal until the one moment that you do. You are never “there” except for a second or two and then the elusive achievement for which you have struggled for months or weeks almost immediately fades into history.
There is another approach. In fact, there are many other approaches. Here’s one strategy I teach in Reader’s Digest form (meaning the quick version). Set your goal but connect it powerfully to “who you are”, the value you bring to your life plus the lives of others. Then, show up every day being the person in heart and character who has accomplished the objective. There is nothing wrong with having a goal but it should be meaningfully joined to your values, beliefs and a clear vision for your life. Address the self-limiting thoughts between you and what you want, form a natural path for acquiring your dreams and arrive every day enjoying what you are creating…one moment at a time.