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Is Your Goal-Setting Including Your Dreams?
As you can probably imagine, I end up in a lot of goal-setting conversations with our clients, PFA members, and team. I love these conversations because of how much they reveal about the person in question.
A near-ubiquitous pattern with goal-setting is that people think about their goals in terms of their perceptions of shoulds/have-to's, and the likelihood of success. The "their perceptions of" piece is incredibly important because it's one vector of conversation. We can question and reject some shoulds, just as we can question the bases upon which "likelihood" of success is formed.
As a coach, though, I know to be careful about how much time I spend on that vector because it's actually not the most important one. I do it long enough to clear some of the noise and make space for possibilities.
The much harder part of the conversation is getting people to articulate their dreams and what they most want, but this is where the real magic is. Once we get here, people start revealing and seeing their true selves, and, more importantly, how they may not be making decisions that are aligned with their true selves' needs, wants, dreams, and aspirations. This is where lips quiver, eyes water, and chairs swivel.
Whence the emotion? Typically, folks are grappling with their self-worth, shame, and regret. Self-worth because some of us have to work harder to own that we matter as much as those around us. Shame because often their dreams and wants seem self-centered. And regret because of how much of this life's journey they've spent carrying water for others while being perennially thirsty.
Here's the deal, though: if you don't start your goal setting from your dreams and wants, it's unlikely that you're going to make them real or get what you want. Even though Dan Gilbert's likely right in Stumbling On Happiness that we're terrible predictors about what's going to make us happy, constraining our goals to shoulds/have-to's and what we know for certain we can accomplish is likely to keep us unhappy and unfulfilled. Just because we might not know what will make us happy doesn't mean we can’t know what we're doing isn't working for us.
By the time March comes around, lots of people are unconsciously resigned to how the year is going to shape up, so their goals are often tepid and follow-on adjustments to what's happened thus far. But just as we get to dream while we're asleep every day, we get to dream while we're awake every day, too.
How is your goal setting and planning incorporating your dreams and wants? What dream can you start making real in March? Get to it.