Letting Go of Attachment to Outcomes (interlude)
Before we go too far down the path of goal setting and creating your perfect life, there is an important discussion that we must have.
It's about letting go. Letting go of your attachment to a specific outcome.
Don't get me wrong, having goals is critical to creating success. Without a goal or vision to set your path, you will be wandering aimlessly through life wondering why you can't get ahead; why life happens to you instead of you happening to it.
We'll do some deep work in goal setting later, for now think big and think broadly. What is your passion? What do you love doing? Where do you want to live? How much do you want to earn? What kind of life do you want?
If you are having difficulty with any of these questions, then you need to read Black Hole Focus by Isaiah Hankel. This book will change your life and get you on the right path for creating your future.
Go ahead, go to Amazon. Check it out. The link is right there. I'll wait.....
Now, let's move ahead.
I imagine that you are familiar with the concept of SMART goals? If not, here is a brief summary.
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. When setting a goal, it is important for it to be clarified using these five calibrations.
1. Specific - Consider who, what, when, where, why and how in developing the goal.
2. Measurable - Include a numeric or descriptive measurement.
3. Achievable - Consider the resources needed and set a realistic goal.
4. Relevant - Make sure the goal is consistent with the mission.
5. Time-bound - Set a realistic deadline
(*Special thanks to Bright Hub Project Management for these bullet points.)
I add one more criteria to these directives. My acronym is SMART-ER.
ER = Emotional Relevance. How do you want to feel about this life you're creating?
If you aren't feeling a way that empowers and fulfills you; a way in which you are excited to wake up every morning, then what is the point of achieving the goal and living that lifestyle?
Using these criteria, let's say that you've set a goal of being happy as you are the most successful _____________ in the city/state/country of ___________ by December 31, ________. You want to earn $_________ annually working for the company of ___________ (or for yourself). You study your competition and create your path to success.
Sounds like a great goal. Get a clear vision of it in your head. What does that future look like? See it and feel it as though it's real.
Let's go conquer it!
Here's where so many people get tripped up on the way to accomplishing their goals. They don't allow for flexibility in achieving them.
To use and artistic metaphor, these people paint in the details without having the broad brushstrokes in place to create the full experience of their image.
What happens to your goal if the company you work for goes out of business? What if you find that earning your target income is much easier than you anticipated? Do you set a new, higher goal or just live in comfortable complacency? What if you decide to live somewhere else because the weather is better there?
That's where flexibility comes in.
You may discover that the goal you THOUGHT you wanted is no longer what you desire. What if this golden lifestyle is not fulfilling to you? What if along they way, you also built a family and the demands of your occupation are stressing your relationship with those close to you?
While we are living and achieving our goals; while we are happening to life, life still has a way to happen to us. We change as we achieve and grow. In six months of working toward your outcome, you may decide that you want to make changes to it or do something else entirely.
And that's OK. Give yourself permission to do it. Be flexible. Examine your situation, re-evaluate your location and course, then make changes as you move along.
Evaluating and correcting your course along the way allows you to arrive at the perfect outcome rather than to arrive at one that is not ideal and realize you are not where you want to be. Flexibility in navigation is the key.
One of Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is to “Begin with the End in Mind.” Know where you are going so you can get there most efficiently.
It's OK to decide in midstream that you no longer want to go to a certain destination. Just pick a new place to land your boat. Keep going. Don't stop unless you want to. Or, you may decide after a few years in one location that where you have landed no longer meets your needs. Feel free to get back in the boat and continue downstream to find the next location that looks fitting.
Rinse. Repeat as necessary.
This is your life. You decide how you want to live it in every way. Go do it.
I'd love to hear about your goals and your experiences with achieving and changing them.
In my practice, I help people to actualize their dreams and clarify their goals. How can I help you?