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Mission Over Goals

I spent the majority of my childhood and young adult years believing in the importance of setting goals. Over the years I had set countless short term and long term goals and would always give  my best towards achieving them. But two years ago, I made the decision to stop setting goals and it has radically changed my life for the better.

Joshua Medcalf and Jamie Gilbert outline the dangers in setting goals in their book, Burn Your Goals. Although setting partially controllable goals can be alluring, they can also be dangerous for the following reasons:

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  • Sometimes setting and achieving goals can leave us feeling empty. There have been many times in my life where I have worked hard towards a goal, finally reach it and then find myself, asking, “now what?”
  • Setting goals can stunt our growth when we can establish a goal well below our potential and can become satisfied with where we are rather than where we could be.
  • Many people climb only to get to the end of their life at the top of the ladder and realize their ladder has been on the wrong building the entire time.
  • Last but most importantly, many goals we set are not in our complete control. Goals like championships and promotions do not solely depend on us to be completed.

Instead of being goal driven, it is in our best interest to be mission driven. Think about characteristics of people you admire or things that you want to model on a daily basis. I’m sure attributes like caring, work ethic, perseverance, loyalty, many others come to mind.

Now narrow your list to things you feel extremely strong about. Think about your list as a comfortable pair of jeans. When we go to our closet we typically come back to our favorite pair of jeans even amongst different options because we know they fit perfectly.

For me, my list consists of growth mindset, grit, work ethic, and authenticity. The characteristics in this list are 100% in my control. I am the only one who dictates how well I do these things on a daily basis. Now, go back to your list and ask yourself if you are able to demonstrate these characteristics on a daily basis? Are these attributes s what I would want in a parent, employee, player, coach. etc.

I am sure that your list consists of characteristics that every company, coach, parent, or professor looks for. This is why I am confident that living a mission-driven life will allow secondary goals, not to be suppressed, but instead, increase.

Living a mission-driven life puts the burden of responsibility in our complete control. Goal setting can leave us with a crutch because if are not given a promotion or win a championship we can always say an umpire blew a call or politics was the reason I did not get XYZ.

Living a mission-driven life concerns itself with giving our very best effort as you and only you can determine your output on a daily basis.Even though we can be good at fooling other people, we cannot fool the person in the mirror. This journey is not easy, but it has been worth it and I invite you join me in living a mission-driven life. I would love to hear your stories and support you along the way!Feel free to reach out to me via email at k_sasala@yahoo.com.