A few weeks ago I was asked to speak for a few hours on goal setting and planning at a convention.
This is a topic about which I am very passionate and indeed it is where I spend a great deal of time with each of my coaching and corporate clients.
I’m a great believer that we ease the burden of the journey to accomplishment by the degree to which we have planned and obtained clarity prior to even taking the first step.
And so with that in mind I began my presentation by introducing the topic and then asking the audience if any of them presently have any goals in mind that they would like to achieve.
A cherubic lady sitting at a table at the back of the room instantly raised her hand and yelled out “40.”
Before I could say anything a voice from my left side yelled out “50.”
And then one from the right exclaimed “60.”
For a brief moment I forgot where I was and thought I was at an auction before realized that the voices in my head we really participants in my audience calling out their own weight loss goals.
“So you are telling me you want to lose 40 pounds,” I asked the lady at the back.
“Yes, I really do,”
And this is where I got myself in real trouble. I looked at her, glanced around at everyone else, looked back at her and, using the most professorial tone I was capable of mustering, announced “No, that’s not what you want, that is only what you think you want.”
There is a strange look that comes over the collective faces of people who all know each other when a stranger walks into the room and tells members of the group that they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Do not try this on your own. It takes years of practice and experience for a highly skilled and trained professional like me to infuriate an entire audience in less than 30 seconds.
It’s a gift.
I quickly realized that I hadn’t yet been paid for this event and with the motivation that can only come from desperation I hastily formulated the words in my mind that were necessary to extricate myself from this tense situation before the group in front of me chose to extricate me from the room.
I took a deep breath and explained it like this.
“We don’t want what we think we want. What we want is what getting what we think we want will do for us.
“So really, what we want really has nothing to do with what we really want. It is simply the means by which we really want to get what we want, really.
The response from my audience was electric. They stared at me with a look which I could only interpret as being their reaction to the realization that they were in the presence of true genius.
Realizing the urgency of their desperate need for more, I continued.
“Losing 40 pounds is what you would like to do,” I began, “but that is not what you really want. What you really want is what losing those 40 pounds will do for you.
“You may want better health. You may want to like the way you believe you will look when you lose 40 pounds. You may want to feel the way will feel about yourself when you lose those 40 pounds. You may want many, many different things, but what you don’t want is to lose 40 pounds.
“You see, the 40 pounds that you say you want to lose is really the method by which you intend to get those things that you really want, it is how you intend to get there. The goal that we set for ourselves is really just the means to the end. It is the pathway that will lead us to the destination of where we want to be.
“You see, when we set a goal for ourselves we are really identifying the catalyst that will bring us what we want.
“We don’t want a bigger house; we want what (we believe) a bigger house will do for us.
“We don’t want a red Ferrari. We want what (we believe) owning/having/driving/displaying a red Ferrari will do for us.
“We don’t want a successful business; we want the freedom/success/lifestyle/prestige/money/rewards/envy of our friends that (we believe) owning a successful business will do for us.”
I sensed the group was becoming a little calmer as some of this began to hit home with them. The 40lb lady appeared to be breathing normally again and the 60lb guy was holstering his Taser.
I realized I had a small window of opportunity to make my case.
“It is vitally important for us to make the distinction between the goal we set for ourselves, which, as we have discussed, is really the means or method that we have identified that will give us what we really want. It is what we call the Prize.
“When we set out on this adventure to reach our goal, we can determine, right at the outset, what the likelihood of reaching that goal will be by simply asking ourselves these few questions; ‘Why do I want that prize? Why do I want what achieving my goal will do for me? How much/badly do I want this?
“And if we can’t answer those questions, or if the answers we come up with are not strong, powerful and compelling, the odds against success will be heavily stacked against us.”
I was on a roll so I dug myself in deeper.
“We have to want what achieving our goal will give us a lot more than not having it. We really have to want it so much that not having it causes us pain because when we want something that badly, when we want the pain of not having it to go away, we will move mountains to make that happen. When we don’t want it badly enough we will only play at getting it.
“If we don’t want if strongly enough we will allow ourselves to eat that cheesecake, smoke that cigarette, squander that money because, in the moment when we make the choice to do these things, we will choose the one that we most want in that moment.
“And we only ever do one thing. EVER. We do what is most important to us in the moment. So if you have tried and tried and failed and failed to lose that weight before, there is a simple reason why that is happening in your life.
It is not important enough to you.
“It’s that simple.”
The 50lb guy was reaching for something on his belt.
And so I quickly set a new goal for myself.
To get outta there.
Till we read again.
P.S. Please visit my new website, www.raelkalley.com and let me know what you think. So far the comments range from “Love it” to hate it.” I would truly appreciate your opinion. It has been suggested that I change the copy so that the entire site is written in the first person. I’m interested in feedback on that thought.
P.P.S. Book sales are continuing to do well and I had to make an emergency delivery to Self Connection this week as they had sold out. If you would like your copy please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here and the Shipping Department at Self Connection (Mike) will rush one to you.
1 thought on “84. Of course I know what I want, don’t I?”
This commentary actual brought me some clarity. I have taken several courses, read a mountain of books, all attempting to clarify what it is that I want to do. I know my skills. I know my weaknesses. But I don’t know what it is that I want to do. Well today you clarified the problem. I want to play in my flower beds. I want to take piano lessons and practice half the day. I want to travel and spend more time with my adult children and grandchildren. What I don’t know is what I can do to make enough money, to have the luxury to do the things I want.