The Murky Little Secret of Goals

I am slowly whittling away at my next dream – a set of online courses that follow my coaching processes. A set of courses that provide something most online courses don’t – opportunities for real one-on-one feedback.

It’s taken a while. First for me to figure out the technology – the how-to-do-it in a way that is easy for my students. And then secondly to overcome my own spirit to make myself do it. I’ve made good progress on both.

Yeah, that’s my dirty little secret. Mostly, whether it is on my poetry and thoughts blog, or putting together sermons for my church, or offering business advice, or my posts here – Mostly I am preaching to myself.

Today’s topic? Goals vs Progress. And this week was a perfect example. I had several goals I wanted to hit this week. But things kept getting in the way.

A balky payment system sucked up hours of “working on my dream” time. One of the copywriters I am working with is from India and while he got the basic ideas down wonderfully, his text was awkward. It took forever to help him understand that nuances matter. His bad luck that he was working with someone who has written ad copy for 35 years and actually knows what he is talking about. My bad luck that he was so confident that what should have been an easy fix took hours to smooth out. I think we’re good now (ask me when the next revisions hits). Then my email stopped arriving. Bless my CRM/Email software’s heart, working on Sunday he created a beta fix that got me going again, but I lost two days of email coming in.

All in all, I lost about six hours or productive dream-conquering time. And when you already have a full week of work, losing that many hours is frustrating. And more than frustrating, it can become discouraging. You have goals and timelines and BAM! They get blown up.

A tendency in most of us is to get down on ourselves when things blow up, or when several things blow up. They tend to suck out the emotional energy we need to succeed.

But here’s the thing – None of these things were my fault. Stuff happens. Why beat myself up over them?

And here’s the thing – I still made progress. I did work. I gave myself to the dream work, even if it wasn’t the work I wanted to be doing.

If we measure progress, and time spent on our dream rather than the exact goals and timelines, we go easier on ourselves. We don’t beat ourselves up. We don’t give our inner critics a chance to feed us their propaganda. And our spirits are in a better place for the work ahead.

Works for me. Works for you too (try it). It’s one of the topics I talk about both in my classes and in my coaching. Because it’s important. Because it works.

So, go easy on the goals and just keep doing the work. Dreams are inevitable when we do.

Be well. Travel wisely,

Tom

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