photo credit: M.C. Martin via photopin cc

You know you’re on the right track when you’re uninterested in looking back. – Anonymous

Filing taxes, getting medical check-ups, or finding a job that will pay the bills, are all things we all have to do, and all require priority handling, whether we like it or not. These aren’t so much goals as necessary projects.

But for goals, true desire to accomplish X, Y, or Z is everything. True desire stems from a deep-down need to accomplish something that is a reflection of our authentic self.

Therefore, the #1 reason we can’t stay on track achieving our goals is because they aren’t really our goals. And if we want to succeed at something it is crucial that each of us set goals for ourselves that are really our own goals.

I sometimes wonder what we’ve lost in the arts, sciences, and in religion because individuals did what they thought others wanted them to do, instead of choosing a path of their own. When I was going to school, there wasn’t a class entitled, Your Own Unique Path 101. One was expected to be sensible, go to college and find any job, so long as it was a paying job.

Not long ago, I was reading a review of a book that apparently advises young people to forget about trying to earn a living doing what they enjoy. The book supposedly advises young people to get a grip on reality and realize work isn’t supposed to be fun. Hum. Tell this to a growing number of multimillionaires who made their first million, before the age of twenty-five, doing precisely what they love. As Steve Jobs once put it:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart…you’ll know when you find it.

If, on the other hand, you feel conflicted about attempting to accomplish a particular goal, or go in a specific career direction, then you may need to do a quick diagnostic exam of your feelings and motives.

Does the thought of X, Y, or Z make you:

  • Uncomfortable because pursuing such a goal goes against your principles? No real debate here. Chuck it immediately!
  • Uninspired, because it’s something someone else wants you to accomplish? If it really isn’t your dream or goal, chuck it! Pronto! No excuses. Life is too short to squander your time, emotions, and energy on someone else’s dream. That someone else needs to live his or her own life, and you need to live your own life. Simple as that!
  • Nervous, and overwhelmed because you feel you don’t know enough to proceed with it now, and therefore possibly never? If you are inspired, but concerned that there is too much you would need to do in order to prepare for it remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can break down a larger goal into manageable steps. Research what steps it will take to reach your goal streamlined down to the most necessary, preliminary steps. For example, aspiring actors may have to practice and study more than just acting itself. Sword fighting, dance, martial arts, voice, or English literature may all be on the menu, but these pursuits don’t need to be done all at once, nor should they!
  • Paralyzed into inaction because you really care a lot about X, Y, or Z? Congratulations! Bingo! You’ve hit pay dirt, the mother lode. Even though this is probably the most uncomfortable you can be, it’s also the best, most potentially fruitful feeling you can have because it is an indication that this goal is really the one to pursue. Why? Because this is the one that gets the biggest, most concrete reaction out of you. If you care that much, you’re on to something. You’ll never regret trying, and possibly failing, when you really care about something. If you try and fail, always try, try again. In the final analysis, you can always smooth on the salve of knowing you gave it your best shot!

So, whether it’s a long term goal like choosing or changing your career, or a short-term goal, like learning a Microsoft Office application, if you’re fired-up about what you want to accomplish, and even possibly somewhat scared, then you’re lucky – you know for sure it’s your goal, and not one you’ve  ‘adopted’ for the wrong reasons.

And ultimately, way down the track, far into the horizon, if you have no desire to look back, well then, you did indeed choose the right track!

Please leave your thoughts about finding and staying on the right track in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,

Cynthia Dalton signature