“What do I want?”
This is the most important and compelling question you can ask yourself, because without a clear answer to this question you are like a crewless boat in the middle of the ocean with no direction. You can put in a lot of effort into what you are doing, and you could be the best at what you do; but even then, without knowing what you want or where you are going, you could end up anywhere and likely it may be somewhere you don’t like.
Imagine going to a travel agent and saying, “I’d like a plane ticket please.” The agent then replies, “Absolutely! Where would you like to go?” And you respond by saying “I don’t know, just somewhere, anywhere!” The travel agent, being a helpful service person, wants nothing more than to be able to serve you; however, without clarity as to where you want to go, he is confused and doesn’t know how to serve you to your satisfaction, because where you end up may not be to your liking. Nevertheless, many people do just that, and then they turn around and blame the travel agent or give the agency a bad review because it performed poorly according to them.
Now imagine going to a restaurant and telling the waiter, “I’d like to have some dinner, please.” The waiter replies, “My pleasure! Here’s a menu for you. What would you like?” And you reply, “Oh, I don’t know, anything will do.” Again, the waiter, being a helpful service person, wants to serve you; but without clarity as to what you want he is unable to assist, so he looks at you with a confused look on his face in an effort to solicit a more specific response from you. You sigh impatiently and proceed to say, “Oh all right; look, I don’t want this… And I don’t want this… And I don’t want that….” and on and on you go, pointing at each item on the menu you don’t want and stating that you don’t want it. Now this happens to be a restaurant that prides on its wide variety of foods, so it takes you a very long time to go through the entire menu pointing out what you don’t want instead of what you do want, and by then the waiter is so confused that he still doesn’t know what it is that you do want!
It all sounds very silly doesn’t it? Yet, many people go through life being unclear about what it is that they do want; in other words, without any goals; and like the example of the travel agent, they are lost or confused about where they are going. Or they spend their days going on and on about what it is that they don’t want out of the menu of life (imagine how thick that menu is) instead of learning to focus and getting clear about what it is that they do want, and like the example of the restaurant, they spend months and often years without getting what they want because they were so focused on what they didn’t want instead. And then they spend their lives complaining about this or that, or blaming this person or that person, or this circumstance or that circumstance, for not having a better lot in life, instead of taking responsibility. Can you imagine how long your personal waiter (your subconscious mind) has to wait and how much unnecessary junk it would have to sift through in order to get to what you actually do want?
As Earl Nightingale puts it in his book “The Strangest Secret”:
Think of a ship with the complete voyage mapped out and planned. The captain and crew know exactly where the ship is going and how long it will take — it has a definite goal. And 9,999 times out of 10,000, it will get there. Now let’s take another ship — just like the first — only let’s not put a crew on it, or a captain at the helm. Let’s give it no aiming point, no goal, and no destination. We just start the engines and let it go. I think you’ll agree that if it gets out of the harbor at all, it will either sink or wind up on some deserted beach — a derelict. It can’t go anyplace because it has no destination and no guidance. It’s the same with a human being.
So the first thing that we need to do in order to ensure we’re headed in the right direction is get clear about what it is that we want; in other words, we need a goal or outcome that is specific, measurable, achievable, and appropriate. It must be something which we, and only we, desire, rather than something that society desires for us; in other words, it must be something for which we are 100% responsible from beginning to end. And it must be an outcome that is stated in the positive and something that we move towards rather than away from. This is what is commonly known as “SMART Goals” or “Well Formed Outcomes.”
But having a goal, even if it meets the above criteria, is not enough. We must be able to keep the goal front and center, and we must be able to communicate the goal to our subconscious mind effectively, so that our subconscious can then do what it does best: serve us, and help us to achieve our goals following the past of least resistance.
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing specific strategies to help you get clear about what you want following the “SMART Goals” model, as well as sharing strategies to embed these goals in your subconscious so that your probability of success is multiplied, so be sure to subscribe or follow me so you don’t miss any of it. It’s going to be a fun ride!
To your success!
I agree that it is important to set goals, but first you have to get connected to your big WHY. Without knowing why you do what you do, no amount of goal setting will work.
Technically you can set the goals and you can go through the process of ‘doing things’. I know from experience my goal setting only works when I have clarity of why I do what I do. I also ask – how does this activity serve my purpose? If it doesn’t then it’s gotten rid of.
It’s all a process and goal setting is vital.
Loved all of the analogies.
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Hi Jacqui, thank you for your comment! I completely agree with you; knowing your ‘Why’ is of utmost important when setting any goal. And your ‘Why’ should be powerful enough to produce a strong emotional response in you that will compel you to reach your goal in spite of any obstacles. In one of my previous post I address this in detail. Thank you for sharing your invaluable insights!
Sometimes I feel like I’m steering a boat with one oar! This is very interesting.
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Thank you for your comment Karen! I completely understand what you mean. There were many times in my life where I felt like was just floating along without any oars! Thankfully I learned to take control of my life and manifested my oars along the way. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!
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I’m going to make sure I follow your blog, as I think I need to work on making what my goals are clearer to me. I look forward to reading the next instalment.
Thank you for following me Arianna! You are going to benefit tremendously from subsequent posts because they are all about getting clear about your goals and then creating optimum conditions for their achievement. Welcome aboard! 🙂