For most people the whole purpose in setting a goal is to accomplish their goal. Makes sense right? That's not why I do it. For a long time that was the very reason though.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to accomplish my goals and I will do everything in my power in order to do so. And when I do reach my goal I will find great pleasure and a sense of accomplishment in having done it. But, that’s no longer the reason I set goals.
I discovered that as I was seeking to accomplish goals, particularly large or difficult goals I was changing into a different sort of person - a better version of myself. In order to accomplish a difficult goal I had set for myself I had to become better in some way in order to complete it.
The best part was once I completed that goal I realized that I could set a harder or more challenging goal the next time because I was more capable of achieving it.
So, the whole purpose in setting goals for me now is in order to become a different, better, more knowledgeable, more skillful person.
Let me say that one more time. The reason I set goals is to become the person I want to be.
Let me share with you an intriguing thought. The real value in setting goals is not in their achievement. The acquisition of the things you want is strictly secondary. The major reason for setting goals is to compel you to become the person it takes to achieve them. Let me explain.
What do you think is the greatest value in becoming a millionaire? Is it the million dollars? I don’t think so. No, the greatest value is in the skills, knowledge, discipline, and leadership qualities you’ll develop in reaching that elevated status. It’s the experience you acquire in planning and developing strategies. It’s the inner strength you’ll develop to have enough courage, commitment, and willpower to attract a million dollars.
Give a million dollars to someone who doesn’t possess the attitude of a millionaire and that person will most likely lose it. But take away all the wealth from a true millionaire and in no time he or she will build a new fortune. Why? Because they have the knowledge and experience to duplicate the process again and again.
As you can see, when someone becomes a millionaire, the least important thing is what they have. The most important thing is what they have become.
- 7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness by John Rohn
This book and this passage in particular has had a huge impact on my life. It led me to ask myself:
- What kind of person will I have to become to get all I want?
- What skills will I need to develop?
- What knowledge will I need to gain?
Earlier this year I set a goal to start a blog. This wasn’t where the goal started though, the goal was an outcome of my desire to improve certain areas of my life.
- I had a desire to give. I have received so many unexpected blessings in my life from my skills and knowledge that I wanted to share what I knew with others so they in turn could be blessed.
- I wanted to develop the habit of reflecting and learning from my experiences.
- I wanted to be a more powerful communicator.
I had goals around these desires but in June it coalesced into the form of a blog. I knew it was a big commitment so I took some time to think about it. A few months later I knew it was what I needed to do. I created the blog from scratch in Ruby on Rails (this aligned with another of my goals) and began writing. I now write every day for at least 30 minutes.
I am blogging to become someone different. Someone who can communicate better. Someone who is more giving. Someone who learns from life’s experiences.
For 2015 I am setting goals that will challenge me, stretch me, and ultimately turn me into a better version of myself. I am setting goals to become better.
Update (12 March 2015)
I have heard many people say that starting a blog was one of the best business decisions they made. I didn't fully understand this but I am beginning to. Among the many blessings my blogging has already brought me the most unexpected happened earlier this year (2015).
I received a call from a company asking me to come in and meet with their vice president. I was intrigued and so I agreed. When I met with the vice president the meeting was about a job they wanted to offer me. When I asked them why they thought I would be qualified for that job (it was a management role in marketing) they said they saw my blog and my writing style.
The job wasn't right for me but the experience helped me understand a little more about what those people meant when they said blogging is so valuable. I have found it to be a wonderful way to help and give back. And I'm beginning to discover that it also opens up opportunities (both planned and unexpected).