You remember the classic self-help book, I’m Okay, You’re Okay? I love the idea of the four quadrants of okay, not okay, I, and the other.
Well here’s a story of that idea applied to goals, yes goals.
Goals are okay, I’m not
I used to be the ultimate-goal-setting person. I lived by my goals; I trained in and used Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People system. I had plans and schedules and structures. I saw things as obstacles to be conquered. I was driven. I achieved a lot and goals gave me a safety structure that let me survive my teen and college years.
But I wasn’t living. I know – that’s a bit over-dramatic – but honestly for me as a type 3 on the Enneagram – getting lost in my goals and to-do list meant I was missing a heart-connection that brought me to life.
Goals are not okay, I am
And then I started doing some personal work. I learned about the Enneagram. I started therapy. I started looking inward. Goals were still part of my life but I was opening up to something much greater.
Fast forward a few years
to when I started having children — all sense of goal-setting went dancing out the minivan window singing a song by The Wiggles.
Yes us parents know that once a little bundle of energy enters our lives, we have now lost control of our time. We learn to respond in the moment to what’s needed, things shift importance, and honestly, goal setting seems a bit weird when we are literally living moment by moment, need by need.
And then I learned about human design and how my undefined will center doesn’t like it when I make false promises and I further rebelled about goal-setting. It felt like an external, not-self authority being imposed on the freedom-loving being that I am.
And then I got a mysterious illness that sapped my energy and what I thought was important wasn’t. I didn’t have the energy to grow and expand – I was in survival mode. I couldn’t grow or plan or build. And once I realized I was in trouble, I was repairing, healing, and recovering. Every time I tried to push forward, I’d have a relapse of energy. Goals became a luxury only to be dreamed of.
Fast forward a few more years
Now I’m healthy again. My energy is high. I’ve been working steadily with clients, my children are older so my sense of time is different. I feel this strong internal desire for focus and structure. I feel this deep expansive energy that wants to express itself.
A goal is not a way to measure success or failure, it’s a way to get moving.
All of a sudden, I see goal-setting as a friendly supportive structure, not an outside force I need to battle. Nobody is making me do anything. Goal setting is a way for me to honor and see my deepest desires and see what unfolds along the way. Goal-setting isn’t about the destination; it’s about what feels better now.
Goals are okay, so am I.
Photo by Antoine Beauvillain