I once set a goal to become a millionaire within five years. It was the most boring, painful two weeks of my life. Why?
No, it’s not that I achieved my goal. It’s that the goal didn’t excite me. I really didn’t care about it. Oh, money is fine, but it’s the things money can provide that have the power to stir one’s soul.
So, I set out to achieve new goals. For example, I decided I wanted to live for at least a year in the Caribbean, not as a tourist, but as a business consultant and journalist. I did it, and it was a hoot.
My biggest, ongoing goal as an entrepreneur is to have as few people as possible telling me what to do. A bit vague, perhaps, but freedom is one of my primary motivators.
Of course, when my kids were young, my goal was to provide them with a stable, financially secure life. Quite a motivator also … so much so that when they grew up and left home, it took me quite some time to adjust and find new goals.
Some rules about goal-setting:
- They have to be soul-stirring. You can’t fake it. If your goal doesn’t move you, move on. Find a new goal.
- They have to be big enough. Goals to build a new deck on the back of your house or own a Lincoln Town Car are pretty puny. Stop staring at your shoes. Look up. Higher. Dream a bigger dream.
- They have to be yours. Don’t look to your neighbors, friends, competitors or spouse for your goals. Real goals are personal. (I knew an ex-jock and sportscaster in Indianapolis years ago who, at the age of 50, finally was confident enough to admit that his big goal was to study ballet. Actually, it makes sense; there’s quite a connection between athletics and dance. The point: He finally had the guts to go for HIS goal, not what others expected of him.)
- They don’t have to be achievable. That’s right. I know. I know. I just violated a major rule of goal-setting. Everybody tells you that goals must be practical and manageable. I disagree. A goal can be a dream, an impractical vision of what you would like to achieve. Want to sail around the world? Build your own airplane? Take your family to Rome for your 30th anniversary? Why not try? It falls under the category of shooting for the stars and failing … only reaching the moon!
And btw, not achieving a goal is not the same thing as failing. Never giving it a shot … that’s failure.
In other words, work hard, make money, have fun, and set goals that stir your soul and sizzle. Hssssssssssss. – JRI
The Freestyle Entrepreneur – winner of the 2010 Top 35 Entrepreneur Blog awards from OnLine MBA.John Ingrisano The Freestyle Entrepreneur 204 Lakeview Drive Algoma, WI 54201 (920) 559-3722 www.TheFreestyleEntreprenuer.com
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