“The first day of your new life…”
Sickness rages in my stomach.
Today I start a new job, something done many times before – but this time it’s different.
There was no night before ritual of laying out my suit, checking train times or packing my bag.
Instead, I’m looking out the window waiting for a laptop delivery.
In COVID world, I’ve left a job working from home, to continue working from home.
Typically by now I’d be making my way in, preparing to familiarise myself with the surrounding of a bland corporate environment, swarmed by unfamiliar faces.
Not today, I’m returning to that familiar desk in the corner of my bedroom – yes it’s less than ideal, but it’s my own space, not like the usual open plan office, with hot desking allegedly for the sake of “flexible working”.
When the laptop arrives, I fire it up and input a username and password provided through my personal email.
Windows does it’s thing where it processes away the details before moving to the loading screen, I’m grateful the first challenge is passed.
Just over five years ago, I set myself the long-term goal – become a Project Manager, and here I am, massive goal achieved.
This is the first day of my new life.
So what now?
The holy grail…
Goals are great, but the longer the goal, the bigger the hype becomes towards it’s greatness, and if it doesn’t quite deliver, it can feel quite underwhelming when it’s achieved.
Research has shown that people’s satisfaction when they achieve something significant is actually short lived, we get used to the end goal and so it becomes routine and mundane.
So what is the solution?
It’s ensuring the journey you have towards that goal has a lasting impact on you.
A benefit of a goal is the sense of purpose it gives – you work away to achieve a vision, and through the work put in day-in, day-out, you begin to notice how much you’ve improved.
And that is more worthwhile than the end itself.
When I achieved my massive goal, to become a Project Manager, I felt disappointed, you could say I lost focus, I was no longer chasing something.
The resolution seems to be when you know you’re reaching that finish line, you start planning what you want to do next so that the momentum doesn’t die.
We set goals because we want a better life, but it’s clear from my own experiences, the big goal isn’t necessarily the answer to all your problems.
The problem with the goal-oriented mindset…
I saw something on Twitter asking if you’ve ever dated someone without goals. The attitude from the responders was appalling, with the general conscious being that people who don’t have goals are losers.
From my own experiences with the goalless, they are often some of the happiest people I’ve met, content with working in the parameters of the life they have, and not constantly trapped by ambition of big career, big money, big success.
People with goals on the other hand, go through life with a constant unhappiness, with the belief that the goal is the answer.
But it can be profoundly disappointing when the goal doesn’t reach expectations, so I understand why a range of successful people prefer the system approach.
If someone has a more systematic approach to life – they do the job, keep fit, have interests and spend time with family, but don’t have any particular desires for more, then good for them.
Focus on means, rather than ends…
The whole experience of achieving a massive goal, has changed my attitude – focus more on the means rather than the end.
The end is the result, such as “Become a Project Manager”, the means is everything in between.
That doesn’t necessarily mean I have to now set another massive career goal – I’ve seen too many people get stuck in the promotion trap because they feel they are supposed to constantly aim for the next level.
Then they end up in a job they don’t like and/or struggle to do, and because of this they are never happy people.
The means can be focused on the growth, without necessarily having a big amibition behind it. For me I ask myself the questions:
- How can I be a better Project Manager?
- What gaps in skills do I have?
- How can I grow by doing this role?
- What can I do in this job to make the life of others better?
For me, I’m in a position in my career where the desire to progress isn’t my main raison d’etre, I feel like I have enough, besides I have other interests and priorities I’m looking to pursue.
Most of my goals, I’ve pretty much achieved and I’m quite content to keep doing what I’m doing in the system format. I guess for some that makes me a loser…
Either way, the focus is always to keep getting better every day.
How has your experience been when you’ve achieved a massive, long-term goal?
Was it everything you thought it would be?
<< NEXT POST: How Busy Dads Can Balance Goals>>
Thanks for reading, wishing you the best in your success.
James @Perfect Manifesto.
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