I am 40 years old and for roughly 30 years I have had goals. I've been obsessive about creating goals and working a specific and detailed plan to achieve them. Goals have worked for me if you consider having 16 real estate offices, a thriving law firm, and a worldwide consulting and coaching firm as successful. Unfortunately I don't. In fact, it's so far away from what I consider "success" for me that I recently abandoned goals all together. Goals are limiting. They are pie in the sky. I want something better.
In 2013 I took a stance to start living without goals. I still work 60 hours a week. I still enjoy every evening and weekend with my amazing family doing stuff that we love. The difference is, I no longer encumber my creativity by being so focused on one thing that I lose sight of something better. Here's why you should try living a life without goals.
Goals Limit The Artist Within You: We are all artists. We all create. As an entrepreneur I create businesses. As a consultant, I help others do the same. I am at my happiest when I am creating something big. Sculpting away at each business, attracting clients, chiseling out a perfect combination of culture and contribution. When we focus daily on specific goals, we lose creativity. My job is to create. When I wake up now, I examine my canvas and I let it take me to where I am happiest, just building. If the first three months of the year are any indication of where this will take me, I would say that living in a goalless state is moving my life and businesses forward faster than ever before. When you just concentrate on what you are so unbelievably passionate about every second of every day, big, huge, audacious things begin to happen.
Out of Bounds: I recently launched a new business with three close friends. I'm excited about the prospect of where it could go. I look forward to my brainstorming sessions with them. It is offers me the opportunity to try something new with people I care about. I could never have pursued this opportunity in the past because it was outside the boundaries of my goals. Now, with no goals, new opportunities seem to pop up regularly. I am guided by my passion for what I love to do.
Goals Limit Growth: I am still committed 150 percent to each business I own, as well as to my family. I know now that the sky is the limit, because there are no goals in the way. I have a burning, yearning desire to grow each business to its fullest, and to meld each one into its own special creation. Every business I own, to me, is like a life form, so special and unique in its own way. Each organization is a special mix of the individuals that each contribute to its greatness so that the business as a whole is so much bigger, more powerful, and more beautiful than the individual parts that come together to form it.
Goals Disappoint: I once had a goal of having a real estate organization with 1000 agents across New England. How limiting. It's limiting because much bigger is possible. It is also defeating because it suggests that less than 1000 is a failure, when in fact a masterpiece is not dictated by size. Apple, Amazon, Starbucks. These masterpiece businesses were created long before they grew. Picasso is not one of the most famous artists in history because he has a great following. He has a great following because he created a masterpiece. Eighteen-point-five percent of American mobile users have iPhones. If their goal was 50 million iPhone users, would Apple be less amazing for not having achieved the goal?
I guess I kind of have broad goals: happiness, health, passion, and winning. I will create my own Apple, Amazon, Starbucks. Not sure how I'll get there, but I will because I'm no longer handcuffed by goals.