It's Never About The Goal Itself

 

We all like to feel like we’re on track to something bigger, better, and more fulfilling. When we don’t, it feels like we’re wandering, disconnected, complacent on a path to nowhere in particular. From a very early age we’ve been taught to set goals especially when it comes to having what we want: a good job, a big house, a car, money in the bank.  And for the most part having those goals kept us on track headed in a direction that meant that we were on our way to bigger and better things. Then we attained those things and entered a realm of satisfaction at having been rewarded for sticking to the goal and getting the things we say we want. Sometimes the satisfaction is usually short lived as we become aware of something else we don’t have and quickly enter into setting another goal to obtain the thing we really want. Or worse, we wonder why after achieving our goals are we still left with an unsettling feeling of disconnect and unfulfillment.

This can go on and on as we set goal after goal for ourselves turning us into overachievers and ambitiousness turns into a personal mission to prove something to yourself or to others. We may also find ourselves feeling stuck surrounded by all the things we have accomplished yet not really feeling connected to any of it. We may start questioning ourselves and what we say we want possibly afraid to take a step forward when we’re not sure what we’re taking a step forward towards.  Some may fall upon the question of who am I as our identity slips away and gets lost in the degree hanging on the wall or the two cars parked in the drive way. When we tick off all the boxes of our life’s most important goals, what comes next? When do we stop running for the goal and check in with ourselves about what we truly want?

When we set a goal, it’s never about the thing we say we want. It’s about what we believe we’ll get from the thing. This bears repeating: It’s never about the thing we say we want, it’s about what we believe we’ll get from that thing.

 

When we believe that once we get to the end of the goal we will be smarter, successful, better looking, richer, respected, prestigious, we affirm to ourselves that we are not already these things and cannot be until we have what we’re after. Coming into the goal from this place gives our power away and releases to an external thing that gives us permission to be the thing we say we want to be.

I am not discouraging us from having goals. In fact I think having them keeps us grounded and intentional in the things that we do. Our goals grow with us and become increasingly challenging as we realize it’s not the destination but the journey. However, when we find ourselves immersed in a career, job title, or life in general but cannot clearly answer the question “why does this matter?”, then it may be time to rethink things. If we can connect with the reason why we want the thing we want and why it even matters then we can open ourselves up to who we are and what we value most.

Doing this requires us to take a step back before plunging into a goal and connect with the feeling that having the goal would bring. Is it happiness? Is it Freedom? Fulfillment? Peace of mind? Whatever it is for you, connect with that feeling first. Start being that feeling today in everything you do. Ultimately the goal is just a strategy that lies between you and the feeling you desire so why not have the feeling now and the goal become a result of that feeling instead of the other way around.  For example, a goal would look a lot more like this:

  1. Goal: Change careers.
  2. What will you get from that goal?: fulfillment, happiness, connection to your sense of purpose and passion.
  3. By when: January 1, 2014

Try this for yourself using the exercise above. Take out a piece of paper and fill in the following:

#1 fill in your desired goal.

#2 fill in the emotion, feeling that having that goal would bring.

#3 why not now?!!

Now strike a line through #'s 1 & 3. Take a closer look at #2. Your answer shows the feeling that comes from the goal and is what you value most. This is your true goal.

If you could jump straight to being more of #2 today, how much closer to having your goal would you be? Start being the desired emotion today to create the experience of having the goal now. True goals happen whenever you choose, you don't have to wait for an external date to be satisfied. Create that victorious feeling from within by starting today.

You Are Creative. Yes YOU!

Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought the following:

  • I don’t consider myself creative.
  • I really don’t know how to be creative.
  • Being creative comes easy for others, not me.

Meet Faye*. Faye is a social worker and loves her job very much. She’s even gotten her Master’s degree in social work and hopes to really make a difference giving help and support to families from broken homes. Faye considers herself to be very organized and great at following the rules. In fact, she prides herself on thinking inside the box.  She says that the box was created for a reason and serves a purpose. Faye believes that working within the confines of the box keeps orderliness and control of the situation. 

According to Faye, she is not a creative person. She believes being creative is ‘thinking outside of the box and is the ability to see the grey area out of a black and white world”.

One day on the job Faye had the task of working on a particularly difficult case. Her challenge was to gather five siblings ranging in ages 8 to 16 to interview and get them to open up to her about their feelings about what was bothering them while living at home.  No small feat, as the last thing children at that age want to do is open up and talk about their feelings to an adult. Faye had to get creative; she knew that confronting the kids with her traditional interview style of questions like, ‘tell me how you feel?’ would not work this time.  Their guards would go up, they would become defensive, and completely shut down. Faye found herself trapped in the box.

What we don’t know about Faye is that Faye is an amazing cook. She finds joy in experimenting and creating new meals (according to step-by-step recipe directions of course) for herself and her family.  Their full bellies and look of satisfaction from her loved ones whenever she serves a meal simply makes her feel happy.

So returning back to Faye’s problem of getting the five kids to open up about their feelings at home. Faye decided that she would bring her love of the kitchen into her job as a social worker and asked the five kids if they had ever had apple pie before. They excitedly replied yes thinking Faye had brought them a lovely pie to eat. Faye then asked the kids, “you love apple pie, but have you ever made one before”? The kids looked at her in disbelief telling her they’ve only had store bought pie and couldn’t even conceive of an apple pie being made at home.  Faye returned to the kid’s home with a bag full of ingredients for apple pie; fresh apples, flour, cinnamon, the works! The kids looked on with excitement eager to get started in baking their apple pie. Faye helped them put together the recipe for the apple pie and in doing so; she created a perfect opportunity to engage each child casually with her interview questions that would allow them to open up and share their feelings.  And open up they did! Faye solved her problem and got out of her box by bringing her love of cooking to the job. She brought the kids a new experience, got them to open up and got answers to the questions she needed in order to do her job.

Sounds like a Faye is a pretty creative person after all, huh?

I share this story about Faye because I know there are many of us out there like Faye. We feel this sense of disconnectedness from our creativity even rejecting it all together calling ourselves ‘not creative’. We’ve created this imaginary box for ourselves that leaves little to no room for imagination and creative expansion.  It’s commonly believed that creativity is one of those things that is reserved for the select few who can wield a paint brush, sing a tune, or compose a sonnet in the blink of an eye. If those things do not come naturally for us, it creates the idea that we must not be creative.  In that context, we make creativity completely out of reach for ourselves.

Joe Mangrum of www.joemangrum.com

Let’s start over by redefining how we think about Creativity.

  • Thinking outside the box starts with knowing that there is no box to begin with.
  • We are all naturally creative beings and express ourselves in unique ways.
  • Our individuality is our creativity.
  • Creativity is an expression of who we are, how we see ourselves, and the world around us.
  • Our creativity is like a wandering hungry dog, the more you feed it, the more it keeps coming back.
  • Being creative has less to do with ‘what’ you do and more about the person doing it.

What new beliefs can you adopt to open up to your creativity? Post in the comments below!

We will be continuing this discussion on Wednesday this week during our FREE weekly series In Spirit tele-circle. Join us for I’m Not Creative and other lies we tell ourselves on Wednesday, July 10th @ 8pm Eastern to learn about the stories we tell ourselves about being creative and how connecting with your creativity can align you with your career purpose. Sign up for the Free tele-circle!

If you are at a career crossroads in your life and are looking to gain greater fulfillment in your career and do work that is personally satisfying, you can schedule a free one-on-one coaching session with me here.

 

You can also Sign Up for my monthly newsletter! Insights and Inspiration for fulfilling your career purpose and creative passions!

 

 

*real client, name changed

 

 

 

 

Top 6 Blog Posts of 2013

Whether you're a long time reader or just discovering my work for the first time today, I want to thank you for stopping by today. I've been journaling since 2009 and most of my writing on here has been a manifestation of my purest thoughts in written form.

Take a moment to peruse through some of my favorite posts of the year so far.

#6 Flowing Through Struggle – June 25, 2013

Although struggle is a part of our daily human existence when does it become something we come to identify ourselves with in our daily lives? Here is my recount of what happens when we experience ‘struggle’ and how to break out of it and into a more peaceful rhythmic flow. 'Flowing Through Struggle'. Read on.

#5 3 Ways To Meditate (or commit to any practice) Daily – May 27, 2013

From the days of starting and stopping a meditation practice without really getting into the flow of it, I finally discovered a way that has brought me to the cushion every single day. When what we value aligns with inspiration there’s nothing that can stop us. '3 Ways To Meditate'. Read on.

#4 To See Us Dance – February 6, 2013

Following an internal nudge I had received that led me to take up dance classes, I decided to post a video of my learnings. So much of what we do comes from an internal desire to move and be in flow. Dance brought me closer to movement through mind, body, and soul. I highly recommend if you have the desire to move your soul, follow it. 'To See Us Dance'. Read on.

#3 5 Lessons For Your Spititual Path – May 1, 2013

At some point in our lives we find ourselves on a spiritual path. Whether we know it or not, we’re always on the path. And when we become aware of this we hold ourselves to a higher standard as we learn to let go of the trivial things and embrace a new understanding of life itself. This post points to some of the challenges we encounter while on the path and the 5 lessons that will keep you grounded. '5 Lessons For Your Spiritual Path'. Read on.

#2 Love Is – February 22nd, 2013

During an early morning rendezvous with my journal, I found myself feeling particularly connected with this idea of Love. To define it from words does it no justice. It is a sensation truly meant for connectedness between each other. 'Love Is'. Read on.

#1 A Letter To You, From Change – January 30, 2013

In creating this post I knew I wanted to write about ‘change’ but what else could we possibly say about change that hasn’t been said before? If we look at change from a different perspective, instead of experiencing it with anxiety and nervousness, we learn to look at from a softer view. Read on for a thoughtful letter from an inevitable part of our lives that only wants the best for us. This is 'A Letter To You, From Change'. Read on.

 

Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing with you in this space for the remainder of 2013.

Cheers!

 

Ariane Hunter

Breaking the Status Quo & Living Greatly

 

 

The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice --

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

detemined to do

the only thing you could do --

determined to save

the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver

 

 

Letting Your Voice Shine | A workshop recap

This past Thursday, I had the absolute honor of co-hosting a workshop on the power and potential of listening to your inner voice. In a yoga studio filled with positive affirmations on the wall, pretty stationary for journaling, and seated floor cushions for buddha style discussion, my co-host and I spoke on the importance of self-discovery and passionate living. .


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A Letter To You, From Change

Dear one who is always cautious of me; the one who was bitten by me a few times and now keeps a distance far and wide between us. I’d like to reintroduce myself because I am not the scary inconvenient little boat rocker you think I am.

I am the one who brings light in dismal situations.

I am the one who has been staring you in the face for quite some time even though you seem to think I secretly crept up behind you.

I am the one who visits you when you are ready for me even though you may think you are not.

Hi. My name is Change. Pleased to meet you.

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Letting Go

When I was little, my most favorite playtime activity was to play on the swings. It was one of those things that I took to really quickly. I learned how to pump my feet and extend my body in a way that made me the highest kid on the swings. I grew quite used to it. Any visit to the playground, I just knew I was getting on that swing to swing my highest. It became my thing; but after a while, playtime on the swings was just, playtime on the swings. Just another day in the park, if you asked me.

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