Today, September 4th is my birthday.
I choose to re-evaluate my personal goals each year on my birthday. Some like to do this at the beginning of a new year or for their fiscal year. For me, changing the digits in my age makes me realize that life passes by quickly. Is it me or does every year go by faster than the last?
I started reading a book on my Labor Day/birthday weekend trip to Charleston called, “The Desire Map,” by Danielle LaPorte. The book was recommended to me and ordered months ago, but due to its pretty cover and my procrastination, it’s been sitting on my coffee table since the temperature outside was cold. With a birthday on the horizon, the time had finally come to pick up the paperback and consider my goals for the next 12 months.
The author takes a unique approach to goal setting and brought me a novel perspective. Instead of listing lofty aspirations in the various buckets of life (i.e. love, work, health, money, etc.) and working all year to take steps to achieving those aspirations, LaPorte encourages her readers to focus on the feelings you desire. Sounds fluffy, right? The more I read, the more I understood that I have been going about my dreams and goals all wrong. Let me explain further…
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” - Bruce Lee
Most of the time, we aren’t chasing the goal itself; we’re chasing the feelings that we hope to attain based on successfully achieving the goal. Upon reaching the objective, the feelings we have anticipated may be accurate or they may look completely different than we expected. The author sets out to help her readers get clear on HOW they want to feel and seek ways to encounter those feelings daily. The point is not to wait until we accomplish a goal before experiencing the emotions we want. You may think this is rudimentary, but for me, I have not considered approaching goal setting this way.
I love the feeling of being on stage or in front of a room talking to people and helping them navigate through their leadership issues. Guiding people to find alternate methods of communication, work more effectively, manage their people better, and feel increased productivity is the stuff that gives me all the feels that I seek. Having a voice gives me energy and as soon as I begin public speaking, I get all the feels and tingles and adrenaline rushes through me. I want THIS feeling.
Recently, I’ve been contemplating deeply on the upcoming steps I should take for career and life. What’s next on the Alycia Agenda of life to achieve my goals? At one point, it was to go back to school for my PhD or write a book. These ambitions would afford me an opportunity to speak on stage all the time. Maybe these targets will still be aimed for, but the point is I don’t have to wait 6 more years upon obtaining a higher degree to experience those feelings I want to have now. So, what can I do every day to get a taste of that adrenaline rush?
The goal shouldn’t be the goal; the goal should be the feeling. From there, we backtrack into how to get to that feeling, from the things that we desire. Desire is the engine of creation, root of our divine impulse to evolve, and foundation of our will to live, as LaPorte describes. We desire what we desire to feel good.
It seems fluffy to talk about feelings in business or the professional world, but we are human, and our desires lead us to feel a certain way. In our productivity and results obsessed society, feelings are discounted but if we use them as our guidance systems, we are more likely to achieve success.
Stay anchored to the desired feeling and be open to the form in which it manifests itself. If we stay completely rigid to our goals and they don’t show up the way we envision, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment, failure, stress, or depression. Your goal might look different upon success than you thought but if you are working toward the feeling, then you’ll hit the nail on the head.
“A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal that is worth achieving.”