6 Goals You’re Chasing That Might Be Ruining Your Life (Motivation)

by Brian McFadden | August 22, 2014 11:11 am

1) Idolizing and striving to be someone else

Buzz words like “role models” and “mentors” seem to be sweeping across different industry spaces. If you’re in pursuit of taking your personal and professional development to the next level, you will surely hear someone say or write “you need to get a mentor” or “who is your role model?”. Granted, these concepts have their place and can provide tremendous value. However, if you analyze the ones who are the “mentors” and “role models” you’ll find a common thread amongst them, bold individuality. They’ve blazed a path based on their story, experience and strengths. Sure, they probably had coaches and mentors along the way, but ultimately, they understood that who they are is what their asset is and rather than trying to be someone else they work to become more of what they already are. This is an excellent article[1] on Kobe Bryant and his work ethic, but ultimately it’s to point out that he is working to be his best self, not somebody else.

“I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.” – Kobe Bryant

2) Avoiding Failure

Imagine for a second that you get in your car to head to work in the morning. You haul out with your lunch in one hand, maybe a coffee or green juice in the other and at this point your mind is shuffling through all the tasks ahead of you for the day. You jump in your car, insert the key into the ignition and turn on your favorite tunes or podcasts for your commute, you’re about ready for take off. Then, you get an unconventional thought. You say to yourself, “I will not leave this driveway or carport until I know for sure all of the traffic lights I will encounter are all green.” This is silly, right? But yet, I feel like many of us (including myself) get caught up in this “green light” thinking. We delay or avoid any circumstances that might cause us to fail or expose our vulnerabilities. The irony in this, is that by being paralyzed by avoiding failure, is failure. The wisdom and experience you gain by taking a risk and having not work out, is priceless and will equip you to do better on your next move. On the flip side, by staying idle nothing is gained. Head out, ship out, and go hit some red lights, because there will never be a day when all the lights are green.

3) Pleasing everyone

Bill Crosby says it best….

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

If you’re one who:

has no problem saying no with little to no thought about the decision
has a hard time understanding the stupidity of others
has a task list at all times
has a tendency to cut off others in a conversation always doing things fast
everything is a potential business deal

Then you probably don’t and never have had a problem with trying to “please everyone.” For the rest of us however, people pleasing can downright ruin our lives. I’m one of them and I’m constantly working on myself to do better here. Over the recent years, I’m finally beginning to understand that saying “no” is actually healthier for all parties in some and arguably most cases. I tend to want to make everyone happy, and in brutal honesty, that will never happen and because of how this condition of trying to please everyone has backfired on me so many times in my life, being content with this is getting easier. If you suffer from being a “people pleaser” I know you know exactly what I’m talking about. Saying “yes” or doing something you know you shouldn’t do just so somebody else can like you or to avoid conflict is what we do. This often comes at a very high price sacrificing mental peace, time and energy which in the long run is devastating. On paper it sounds ridiculous, but in the minds of those who battle with it, the struggle at times is unbearable. Something I once heard that has helped me was that 30% of people love you, 30% don’t care about you, 30% hate you and the last 10% will go back and forth about what they think about you.

4) Destination achievement

Think back to a time when you worked toward a goal or a large purchase. Maybe it was graduating, maybe it was a purchase of a new home, maybe it was buying your first car. Regardless, the emotional satisfaction lasted a few days, a few weeks, maybe even a few months. Once it faded, you probably set another goal to set out to achieve and the cycle starts back over.

I remember standing in line with a group of friends at Knott’s Berry Farm years ago to get on ‘Supreme Scream.’ There were literally hundreds of people in line waiting to taste the adventure of what this ride offered. As we waited in line for 2 hours, as we inched along, we also shared how excited we were to get on this ride. Chit chatting back and forth on what we thought the experience would be like and how fun it was going to be and claiming that it was going to be the best ride ever. Then, after waiting for 2 hours, we buckled up and the ride lasted for no more than 240 seconds. It was thrilling, nerve-racking and adventurous for sure, but looking back it demonstrates to me that we are all kids waiting in line.

Here is what I mean:

Most of us are working towards something, and expecting that “something” to be the thing that settles our unquenchable thirst for contentment. Just like my group of friends and I waiting for what we assumed was going to be “the best ride” ever and settle our desire for more rides, we as adults too, wait line per-se for that the job promotion, the graduation, the marriage, the retirement account and all the other stuff that we strive for to relieve our unending chase for more. But here is the problem. Just as kids get off one ride to stand in line for the next one, we too achieve something, recognize it for a quick minute and get back in line to chase something else. This doesn’t stop either. This will be for the rest of your life on this side of history. It can turn into a cycle that has the ability to eat you alive, unless, you do one thing

“Understand that there isn’t a place, person, or thing that you can acquire or achieve that will give you complete contentment.”

Now before you go and drop all your ambitions and goals for life, fallback and slow down. I’m all about strategy, visioning, planning and executing. BUT, what I’m saying is we all need to start cherishing the moments and experiences that accumulate over our journey in acquisition or achievement of the goals we put forth whether we hit them or not. In this mindset, lies true contentment. Start practicing it today.

5) Waiting for the right conditions

In Ecclesiastes 11:4 you’ll find this…..

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done”

If a common goal of yours is to have everything perfect, even if it’s as small as having the kitchen squeaky clean and every dish washed at all times before you start cooking, you surely will never get much done. Along the way you might also drive yourself a little mad.

6) Completing your goals on a specific timeline

I go back and forth on goal setting. Lately I lean towards having loosely structured goals. Rather than definitive , outlined specific goals I’ve found having a structure that propels me in a direction is far more effective. Here is why. As I look back I used to write down 1 year goals, 5 year goals and 10 year goals. I accomplished only a few and the rest of them are no longer my goals anymore. I feel like there are WAY too many variables in life these days, particular in how the career environment has changed and continues to change at such a fast rate. Those goals I set years ago, most of them I didn’t achieve and I’m ok with that because I’ve changed. I’ve taken that experience and learned that having a structure that offers flexibility for me to operate in works much better than having strict goals. It’s taken a boatload of unnecessary stress off of me. I’m sure you can relate to this too as we sometimes place so much importance on a “goal” that looking at it from a 30,000 ft view really doesn’t matter that much. Remember, having a goal or goals is good, just keep it in perspective and don’t let them creep ahead of other things that are more important.

Photo – shutterstock.com

Endnotes:
  1. This is an excellent article: http://addicted2success.com/motivation/why-kobe-bryants-work-ethic-is-so-untouchable/

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