Sunday, January 8, 2012

Private Goals

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When I was in my early twenties, friends and I used to start the year optimistically with some mantra or pithy phrase for the New Year.

In my thirties, I learned more about goal setting and how to achieve them faster. I also created elaborate documents filled with metrics and dashboards with pictures of success. My success rate was good, but I often became enslaved to numbers, not intent or purpose. As a result, any celebration felt lackluster, if I bothered to have one at all.

In recent years I’ve been getting back to basics and using words as a theme and compass for the year ahead. This year my focusing words are Create, Prosper and Confidence.

You can bet behind each of them I have a specific vision, strategy, tactics and measures of success, but I’ve become far less uptight about the bottom-line numbers.

I'm a believer in broadcasting a piece of your goals so people can help hold you accountable to them, but sometimes a public declaration can take the steam out of it. Once you declared something and people hold you accountable it can begin to feel like an obligation and people helping you feel like nags. This can be positive and powerful for some. I wouldn't have built a business around being an accountability partner if it wasn't. However, some goals should remain private.

They may not be for public consumption but they are no less grand, or inspiriting or noble. These are the secret goals that paint a smirk across your face when you work on them. There's a thrill and deep satisfaction knowing that you’re accomplishing something grand unbeknownst to others. This is the place where the overnight success is born. Away from the spotlight, in the shadows where no one is looking.

Private goals achieved is often far more satisfying because you did it yourself, without outside intervention. You could have quit at anytime and no one would have known or cared. Except you, and you cared, and you don't quit. These ones are too important.