Dana's My Coach

Find your game… play… repeat.

A New Approach to Goals…From a Reformed Achiever

As someone who is used to achieving my goals, I can tell you I have changed my ways. Or, at least am trying to. Reaching goals has been almost compulsive for me. I love to be accountable…I love to cross things off the list…like an addict, I guess you could say I am in recovery from my former achievement-oriented lifestyle.

Now, rather than reaching benchmarks with dogged determination and immediately sprinting on to the next one, I blend enjoyment and celebration with the goal-forming and achieving process. I even create goals that are enjoyable and celebratory in and of themselves!

Recently, I saw a colleague who had worked with me for many years in the past. I told her about writing and publishing my latest book. She said, “How many do you want to sell and by when?” Her question caught me off guard, even though it shouldn’t have. After all, this is the type of question I have been asking people, (including myself) for a long time!

When I said, “I don’t know,” she looked shocked. This was so unlike my former goal-driven self. Why the change? Previously, I set goals based on my will (which is pretty strong). Now, I allow my will to have a voice (i.e. asking myself ‘what do I want to do”?), but now I allow another voice. It’s not so clear and loud, but it speaks to the natural and organic order of things…the flow if you will.

For example, if you ask a gardener for her goals with the flowers, she would probably not say, “To produce flowers for two dozen bouquets by the end of the month.” If she wants to do that, it’s great. However, a more powerful goal is in alignment with a natural procession of growth.

If flowers take a full cycle to bloom, how many would you need to plant in the fall to have at least 6 flowering plants by spring? A quantifiable goal like how many to plant is fine, but, how about a quantifiable goal on quality?

How would it be to find as many ways to enjoy the process of flower-growing as possible? What about creating a photo-journal of the planting and growing?, Or, give before-and after-garden parties for your friends?

Having my own business for so many years helped me understand the importance of making linear goals and converting them into games that are fun, inspiring (to you and others around you), and help keep your focus on productivity. At this time in life, I notice that the how of goals is just as important.

As Steve Nakamoto points out “The dimension of the reward is proportional to the size of the challenge, not the size of the fish.” I think this means choose challenges wisely, choose what is likely to bring a sense of reward equal to the size of the challenge. After all, the reward is what makes a game worth playing. In the process of play, very important things happen!

Play expert and psychologist, Dr. David Elkindsays “Within the context of play you learn how to initiate, maintain and terminate relationships…you learn to suggest ideas and negotiate themes or games.”

If you can create linear, tangible goals that make you feel alive and excited (and maybe a little afraid), you are on the right track. If you have not yet learned or received enough support on how to combine the left and right brain ideals with goal-setting and entrepreneurship, with a little practice you can learn!

Coincidentally, the day after that meeting I reconnected with a former client. We were having a delightful time catching up over lunch. As I shared what I had been up to she became interested in my book and asked if she could buy one. I had one copy left in my car and sold it to her right there in the restaurant. It was a most enjoyable book-selling experience! That is the how of book-selling for me.

So, in answer to my colleague who asked ‘how many and by when?’ I now have an answer, ‘by enjoying my life’!

2 responses to “A New Approach to Goals…From a Reformed Achiever

  1. Sheila Newsom October 19, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Your insights are always helpful and so very grounded. Thank you for your willingness to share. Blessings, Sheila

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