A few years ago, I walked into an interview for a job at lululemon with a binder full of my old goals and a host of sheets covered in inspirational quotes that rocked the management’s socks and totally made me an easy hire for the job. The goal setting aspect of my job at lululemon was easy peasy.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been setting goals, mostly health- or weight-related. Earlier this year, I set an aggressive set of goals for myself based on themes for the month—an idea I borrowed from a great dharma class I went to.
Two weeks ago, I went to my first training weekend with the Coaches Training Institute. If I tried to sum the experience up in a blog, I’d do it about 10% justice. It was inspiring, challenging, exciting, awesome…and a slap in the face. I’d dare say it inspired a game changer for me.
Let me elaborate (cue: word vomit).
If you’re unfamiliar with coactive coaching, one of the cornerstones of the model is that people are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole.
Doesn’t that make you feel good? Keep it in mind…I’ll come back to it.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being coached 1:1 by Christie Inge (as a side note, if you’ve struggled with emotional eating or are on the diet rollercoaster and are ready to jump off, check out her work). During our session, she said something that has absolutely stuck with me: “All roads lead to self worth.”
We were talking about how I spend a lot of time doing things to better myself: reading blogs, perusing the self-help section of the book store, setting goals. I can remember on my first call with Jennifer, my life coach, talking about how I was ready to set goals for myself and to be better. Since I had decided not to go to grad school and no longer felt like I needed to spend time working with a therapist on my eating disorder, I wanted something else to work towards to keep me moving forwards. Since then, I’ve spent a grand total of zero sessions with Jennifer working on my goals (we focus on things like emotions, thoughts, and beliefs).
The game changer?
I’m already good enough.
We’re all already good enough.
We’re all already whole.
Christie ran a coaching group that I was part of and repeated an idea over and over again: “You are inherently worthy.” Not working for you? What about, “Your worth is inherent.”
That’s music to my obsessive goal-setting ears.
You mean I don’t have to set goals to prove my self worth?
My old goals were often about things I wanted to fix—my weight, my eating, my spending. They were also filled with sexy goals I set because I thought they sounded impressive—running a marathon, being a certain weight, reaching a certain level of education.
Case in point: my goals were not serving me. Ironically, the goal setting that I thought would bring me forwards and “make me better” was actually holding me back, sending me a message that I wasn’t good enough. Maybe I’d be worthy if I achieved them. I thought people without goals were crazy, lazy, and less than.
But…people are naturally creative, resourceful and whole.
Consider for a second the difference between living from a place of feeling unworthy and not good enough versus living from a place of worthiness. Believing that you are already good enough = self-esteem. Self-esteem is that handy dandy ingredient that makes all things possible and that when lacking, makes the simplest of things seem impossible.
A life coach is not a goal coach.
It’s ironic that I sought out a life coach trying to find a way to make myself good enough. What’s happened is that I’ve come to recognize that at my core, I am good enough.
You are too!
So what’s an avid goal setter to do? Abandon all hopes of Rx’d Frans and other fun?
I think there’s a happy medium, and to find it I want to come back to that dharma idea I mentioned early on
during this endless post.
All hokey-/woo woo-ness aside, dharma’s got nothing to do with achievement and everything to do with a state of being. What if our goals took on a similar kind of “being” aim instead of becoming to-do lists on steroids?
My strategy and my advice to anyone sitting down with the goal of setting goals:
- Set goals that match your values. Anytime you do things that clash with your values, even if they’re super sexy and impressive, you’re going to be worse off.
- Set goals intended to create more of what you’d like in your life. Stop wasting your time and energy on using goals as a way to “fix” yourself.
Questions to start with:
- What do you want to create in your life? Set goals based on what you want to move towards, not on what you want to move away from. Stop thinking of ways to fix yourself; focus on ways to create your life.
- What is your vision for yourself? You are going to move towards your goals–figure out where you want to head and make them match that picture.
When you write your goals, try to ignore what other people’s goals are or what you think you should do. Running a marathon’s an awesome goal—if you want to run a marathon. If you hate running, it’s a terrible goal. Getting into grad school is great—if you want to go to grad school. If it’s your parents who want you to go to grad school, it’s one of those ones I’d leave off the list. Catch my drift?
All the while, keep in mind that you are already phenomenal. From that place, set goals that stretch you and move you beyond where you’re at. Goals that make your life amazing, inspiring, and fulfilling for you.
Remember to avoid the to-do list on steroids temptation and to get into the big, scary, territory where you give yourself butterflies. This is where “your wildest dreams” are totally appropriate and welcome. What would you do if you couldn’t fail? Who would you be? How would you feel?
Example: I want to write a book that makes it onto the best sellers list. This matches up with my value of contribution. I want that book to be about health, another value. When I think about it, it makes me want to pee my pants–excitement and fear, two indications that I’m dreaming big and in the realm of the things that make my heart sing.
Go set some goals, kiddos.
PS: You have permission to change your goals. At any time. In a year. In three months. Or five minutes.