On Goals

Which path should I take?
(Image: canva.com)

I have a love/hate relationship with goals and goal setting.

I recognize their importance and potential. But, I suck at setting them.

Goals are one of the first things you encounter when doing any kind of personal, entrepreneurial, or business growth or training. What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in five years? What do you want to accomplish?

I. Have. No. Idea.

I never did, really. But things have worked out alright, anyway.

They say that you won’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going.

On the other hand, if you don’t know where you’re going, any path will do.

I identify more with the latter statement than the former. I’ve never set out on a path to a specific location. I didn’t set out to be who I am today, or to do what I’m doing. These things were never goals.

Instead, I focussed on the path.

For example, when I was at Microsoft, I didn’t really have any particular product that drew me to the company, or any particular technology that I wanted to pursue. Whenever I ended up changing positions, I focussed on two things: who would I be working for, and what would I learn?

Those are not destinations. Those are descriptions of the path I would put myself on. I’d then see where that path would take me.

After Microsoft, I didn’t have a goal of running a website or publishing a newsletter or even being an online entrepreneur. I hoped to play with technology. My goal, so to speak, was to keep learning. So when I fell in with a group of online entrepreneurs, I chose activities and actions that would satisfy that desire. The result is a business I’ve been at for over 19 years now, and still enjoy.

Don’t get me wrong, goals aren’t bad.

If you have a specific thing you want to see, be, or do in your lifetime, go for it! Use those desires to make decisions that will move you closer to your goal. It’s a classic model for success.

My point is that goals may not be as required as we’re often told they are.

If, like me, you’re not really a long-term goal-setter, don’t fret. Instead, focus on the journey. Make choices that take you down interesting paths. See where you end up.

You’ll often find success — however you like to define it — at the end of those interesting paths.

2 thoughts on “On Goals”

  1. “…if you don’t know where you’re going, any path will do.”
    The last four words come true when you allow that outcome, but if you choose a path you accidentally stumble upon that is personally challenging and pays well relative to your personal circumstance, grab it and see if it lasts one day or 25 years.

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