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Friday, March 2, 2012

Why Are You Not Pursuing Your Goal?


Too many people have a wonderful goal of things they might achieve, but they are not moving toward it. If this describes you, why? Why does this glorious vision not motivate you, not push you to take action to reach it?
One possible reason is that it's not your goal.
I knew a man who could play the piano. He'd studied for twelve years and he could play any type of music: classical, jazz, popular. He could play it all.
At least that's what I was told, because I never actually heard him play. So one day I asked him why I'd never heard him play and he said, "When I finished my last year of piano lessons, I swore I'd never touch a piano again."
"Why?" I asked in some shock.
"Because I never wanted to play the piano. It was my mother's goal."
So is your goal someone else's goal for you? Is it the goal of a parent? A teacher? A close friend? Society? Is it a goal that excites you or one that excites someone else?
There's a way to find out.
Imagine that you are standing in front of all of the people who know of your goal and that you renounce it. Suppose that you say, "I am no longer pursuing this goal. It's not for me." How would these people react? Some might be surprised, some may be indifferent, some may even approve. But is there someone who would be upset, or angry, or disappointed? If so, that is the person whose goal it is.
So if the goal is someone else's, do you now give it up? Is it time to grow your own goals and move on?
Maybe, but there's a catch.
The catch is that even though the goal started with someone else, over time you may have come to adopt parts of it as your own. My piano-avoiding friend may have discovered, somewhere along the way, that he enjoyed playing some kinds of music but didn't want to admit it to his mother. If, over time, you have come to see the goal as your own, you now want to claim it as yours rather than renounce it.
How can you tell if you have adopted it as your own?
Imagine that you are face-to-face with the person whose goal it is and, even before you renounce the goal, imagine that that person says to you, "I think you should give up on that goal. It's not for you."
How would you react? Perhaps you would be relieved. Maybe you would be indifferent. In these cases, the goal has not become yours and you can give it up.
But if your reaction is anger or upset, or if your response is something like, "Don't tell me what to do with my life," then you have come to see the goal as yours. Now is the time to embrace it, to separate from the person who gave it to you. Now is the time to say, "My goal is..."
Jolyon Hallows is the creator of The Systematic Goal: a system using proved techniques for goal setting, goal planning, and goal achieving. He is an accomplished project manager, he has written two professional books on project management, he is on the faculty of a university diploma program in project management, and he has personally trained over a thousand project managers worldwide.
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