For many years’ participants in my goal setting workshops have discovered that what they set as goals for themselves – e.g. lose 40 pounds – is not what they want.
What they want is what we call “The Prize.
Generally speaking when we identify a goal in our lives – we are really just identifying the means by which we believe we will arrive at what we really want.
The prize’s is what we win for achieving our goal. For example what a person who says “I want to lose 40lbs,” really wants is what they believe losing 40 pounds will do for them.
When they think about losing 40 pounds their thoughts drift to how they will feel once they have lost the weight: how they will look – healthy sexy; what others will say/think about them; how they will feel about themselves etc. That is what they really want.
It is an enormously important distinction – the goal versus the prize. Generally, there is little about most goals that is inspiring or motivational. Most goals – those things we say we want – represent hard work. We are inspired and motivated by what we believe realizing our goals will reward us with.
This was really reinforced for me recently when I asked a friend, who is extremely successful in the insurance and financial planning industry, to describe his early years in the business. He talked at length about the challenges he faced right from the day he announced to his friends and family that he was leaving the security of a high-paying job to pursue a new career.
He recalls with great clarity their efforts to dissuade him. He described these people as “well-intentioned but ill informed” and while he understood that they had his best interests at heart, he also knew that they didn’t know much about the power of ambition and the indomitability of resolute determination.
He knew exactly what his prize was. His prize was freedom. Freedom to choose when to get up in the morning. Freedom to not have a boss to answer to. Freedom to come and go as he pleased. Freedom to live his life each day according to his wishes.
He wanted this freedom more than anything else in the world. When he thought about it and focused his attention on it, exhilaration coursed through his body and filled him with excited anticipation.
So he embarked on this very challenging “Journey to Freedom.”
And, “it took me 9 years to become an overnight success.
For all those years he struggled to build a client base and to retain the clients he had. He went through nerve-wracking ups and downs, many moments (hours/days/weeks/months) of despair and endless dry periods.
And despite the struggle, he never once lost sight of his prize – freedom.
He fully grasped the significance of the Habit of Keeping Your Eyes on the Prize.
Each time those same well-intentioned friends and family members sat him down and urged him to “quit this silliness and get a job,” he immediately turned his focus to the day when he knew he would have all these freedoms and bathed in the feelings that only such freedom can bring.
He forced all his concentration into feeling that he was already enjoying his prize of freedom and his determination to get there grew by leaps and bounds.
And he went back to work and worked harder than ever before all the while reminding himself that each and every setback was simply a minor detour on the path to freedom.
He lived the Habit of Keeping Your Eyes on the Prize until one day when he woke up and realized that he had won the prize.
He was there.
He had achieved his goal.
And was living the life he had worked so hard to sculpt for himself. He had paid the price and owned the prize.
The Habit of Keeping Your Eyes on the Prize helped propel this man through a thick wall of adversity into the arms of the freedom he craved that lay on the other side.
Adopting The Habit of Keeping Your Eyes on the Prize will ensure you will eventually reach your destination.
Taking your eyes off the prize will ensure you won’t.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
P.S. My company, Strategic Pathways, recently introduced our newest Personal Coaching experience called Boot Camp for Your Brain. Please click here and take a peek at our Ebrochure