Good Will Goal-Setting

He's smiling because he figured out what he really wants. And he REALLY likes them apples...

He's smiling because he figured out what he really wants. And he REALLY likes them apples...

Here we are…third week of the New Year, feeling pumped, ready to go for it…whatever IT is. So, "How are you going to get your goals?" is the next logical question, right? Wrong.

The most common way I see artists self-sabotage when it comes to goal setting is by getting too caught up in how they will get their goal while they are creating the goal itself. Goal setting is a two-step process, and the first step — actually coming up with and defining your goal — must come before the second step, which is creating the plan for how to achieve the goal. And the truth is that the second part is not a prophecy, it’s not an absolute; it’s a guide, a structure. But you will never know exactly how anything is going to work out. I see so many artists hedge their bets on their goals, because they’re afraid of the unknown. Just remember that when creating the goal itself, you’re answering the question, “What do I want?” not, “How will I get what I want?” There’s a world of difference between the two.

As I said, the first part of goal setting is actually coming up with a goal. For some of you, this is the easy part; you have something definitively in your sights and you’re ready to make a go at it. For others, however, things aren’t so cut and dry. If you fall into the latter category, you may be wondering where to start when setting a goal. The answer, which I learned during my coaching training and had a huge impact on the way I approach goal setting, is this: Your goal is already inside of you. That’s right; it’s the project or idea that you keep coming back to or that keeps coming back to you. It’s a gut feeling. What compels you? What are you ready to go after? What feels “right”?

That’s really the trick — turning your attention inside and listening to what’s going on there. This isn’t about what’s going on in your head; you can’t think your way to your next goal and expect it to feel authentic. You also can’t rely on others to inform your goal. It’s not about living up to someone else’s idea of success — not your parents, or your friends or significant other. You have to strip everything else away and get to the heart of what matters to you. This is about digging deep, being honest with yourself, and taking ownership of what it is that you truly want for you and your career.

I’m sure all of you remember that famous scene from Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams’ character asks Matt Damon’s character, Will, what it is he really wants, and Will, who is a genius, just stands there with this blank stare because he never had the courage to really answer that question. Well, that movie didn’t win an Oscar for best screenplay for nothing. Just like Will, you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t know what you really want to do with it or if you don’t take the time to explore the possibilities, your talent will go to waste. I challenge you right now to go one step further and sit with this question a little bit longer than you normally would. Something worthwhile just might show up.

In my next post, I’m going to help you with the "HOW" – so make sure you’re good to go with the "WHAT" before then. And don’t forget to come back here and share! You all did such a great job of sharing your gifts during the Giving Challenge, and I’d like to keep that going in 2012. So, bring your goals back here and share them with us. Sure, putting it out there for the world to see can be scary. But, you’d be amazed at how empowered you’ll feel once you take your goal out of your head and make it concrete. It's actually kinda awesome :)