Mike had always dreamed of being the leader of a company. He jumped into collage with enthusiasm, excelled in his classes and honed his leadership skills as he led the business club. After graduation, Mike landed a job in one of the top three companies he had targeted. Each and everyday was focused on climbing the corporate ladder. The years flew by and then it happened, he was promoted to CEO. His life-long goal was realized. For awhile life was good. Mike immersed himself in his new responsibilities and thoroughly enjoyed setting the vision for the business. Year’s went by and then Mike realized he was feeling lost. He had reached the goals he set. He was living the life he dreamed of. Now what? You see, the big goal’s Mike had set had always given him a focus and zest for life. Now, where was his purpose?
Many people, unlike Mike, react to this fear of losing a goal, by making sure they never quite reach their goals. They anticipate the loss and fear of not having a “guiding light” and sabotage their success. Of coarse, most people don’t know they are doing this. They would tell you things like, “I get close but still cannot reach that goal I’m working towards. I don’t know why.”
We are raised in a culture that encourages goals. It tells us that reaching goals will bring us happiness. The fact is, as many of us have already experienced, the happiness of reaching a goal only lasts a short time. Then we go back to whatever our “happiness set point” is.
Goals, however, do serve us. Our thinking and searching can lead to chaos if we don’t have a purpose. When we set important goals it encourages us to focus our thoughts towards reaching that goal. This calms the brain and activates the prefrontal cortex (thinking part of the brain). By focusing on a goal we become more mindful of our actions and thoughts which can lead to moments of bliss.
What we must realize in order to avoid the fear of reaching our goals and losing our guiding light is that we can always set new goals. That as we step further we will see a new direction and purpose. Learning to sit quietly with our thoughts and just be still for a moment will allow us to better handle those spaces between goals. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you do not sabotage because of the fear of losing your drive when you reach your goals…
1. Practice sitting quietly with your thoughts and just observing them. (Start with just 5 minutes a day.)
2. Learn to be happy during the whole process of reaching a goal.
3. Understand that if you keep your eyes, mind and heart open, one goal will lead to another one, so you will never lack purpose.
4. Learn to be happy for no reason at all! Practice building your happy muscle.
Have an amazing Monday!
Leanna Fredrich, Executive and Top Performance Coach