Why setting goals could hinder your progress …

Breathe and Trust

“When you were in school, did you always know you wanted to create and manage content on websites and social media?”

It’s the inevitable question … The one I get asked the most whenever I speak to a group of Millenials.

The concept of life before the Internet is as foreign to these young people as life before television was to me when I was their age.

So, the answer is, “No.”

Creating and managing content on websites and social media were not even blips on the radar of career opportunities when I was in school.

It would have been impossible for me to set a goal to pursue a career in digital journalism for the simple reason that the world of reporting news via the Internet didn’t exist when I was first starting out on my journey.

When I was in college, I watched many of my fellow classmates map out their career paths down to every turn, every choice at the forks in the road, every strategy to swerve past the deepest of potholes. Keep going no matter what was their motto. Stopping for gas was not an option, not even when the needle toyed precariously towards empty and engine burnout was inevitable.

Then there was me.  I knew I wanted to be a journalist.  But I didn’t worry too much — or at all — about the details.

I loved living life in the moment, I loved to write, I loved to explore spirituality, I loved crafting stories, I loved music, I loved anything to do with health and fitness.  And, I didn’t know it yet, but I loved animals.

My goal was simple: To use my skills and talents to fulfill my purpose on Earth and be happy along the way. The details didn’t matter.  I knew how I wanted to feel as I lived my life.  And I trusted my gut, my feelings, and my God to get me there.

Compared to my fellow classmates, my strategy to reach my goal seemed so trivial.  Simple, but not easy.

As I enter my 6th decade, my “trivial” strategy remains the same, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The problem with setting concrete goals is that it assumes that life, and people, will remain as they are for infinity.  The reality, however, is that life and people change.

Things like the Internet are created, and if you were too focused on your goals to notice, you miss the thousands of opportunities it offers.

Furthermore, you change!  And if you don’t modify your plans along the way, you may reach your goals but you’re miserable when you get there. Then what?

My friends, always remember that the journey IS the destination. Don’t waste time setting so many goals that you miss the magic of the moment.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.                                 – From “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon

This isn’t spiritual mumbo jumbo.

Thirty years ago, I watched in amazement, wondering what I was doing wrong while my fellow classmates wrote down and, one by one, checked off the goals on their to-do lists.

I now realize I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Breathe, trust, let go, repeat has always been my strategy. It has never failed me. I find myself exactly where Life thinks I should be.

Frustration and restlessness are the barometers I use to gauge if I’m on purpose.  If I’m happy, I’m on target.  If not, then I remind myself to breathe, trust, and let go.

And when I try to deviate from this — when I start considering that making lists and setting goals might be a good idea — the Universe patiently waits while I exhaust myself and surrender, then gives me to something even greater than I could have ever imagined.

I am now at a juncture of change in my life — a time to move on — but experience has taught me that trusting the process during these junctures will always lead me to the fulfillment I seek.

What about you?  Are you ready for your next adventure in life?  Are you tired of things not working out quite the way you had planned?  Perhaps it’s time to stop planning …

 

Breathe, trust, and let go.

Your heart will never fail you.  Listen to its wisdom.  And follow where it leads.

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