As the calendar turns to a new year, there’s always a lot of hype about resolutions, planning, and goal setting. I promise this is NOT your average article about goal setting.
Depending on where your past year ended, you may or may not be ready to do a goal-setting exercise. I see a couple of options for where you might be standing right now.
- Things have been going well, you need to do more of the same
- You feel stuck or disappointed with prior results, so you want to make a change
- You’re not sure about which direction to go
Two out of three of these conditions are not good. I’m convinced this is why goal setting seldom works. If you are already living in scenarios two or three, you aren’t ready to plot out new and different directions.
You Need a Change
Ask a room full of people to close their eyes and point North. When everyone opens their eyes, fingers are pointing all over the place. (Try this some time; it’s a great icebreaker).
The message is that “north” while being geographically available for specific identification and location using the right equipment, can conjure various meanings depending on one’s perception.
During life-changing moments our perception of our own true north can be equally confusing. For people who find themselves in career transition, I coach and teach the concept of resetting your true north. Perhaps re-set is not the perfect term, but what I mean is that you should get back in touch with that center of your being. Revisit the core values, goals, and beliefs you once held dear. Allow time to rekindle a fire that might have burned low or even worse, burned out.
When you find that true north again, any decisions you make about the next chapter of your life will have far more meaning and purpose.
Finding your true north applies to all major decisions. Nothing should be decided without checking it against whatever standard you believe is your true north.
There is Risk
There is a risk in what I am saying. All around me I see a slow shift in values and beliefs from what I grew up with. Here’s an example.
I live in a large planned community with a golf course and other very nice amenities. The golf course has a beautiful lake right in front of the clubhouse. It’s not a big lake, but definitely bigger than your average pond. The lake is posted for no swimming and no fishing. It’s posted mainly as a safety thing for young children who might venture that way. Simple enough to follow, wouldn’t you think?
Well, one of my neighbors spied a man and a boy out there one afternoon after work. From all indications, they were a father/son team. They were fishing! Yes, in broad daylight, casting away. The neighbor made a comment on the area Facebook page. We have a very active neighborhood engagement via that page.
The thread blew up in less than 2 hours. Here’s what people were saying. Some agreed with the first poster who argued the Dad was violating the posted sign, so what value was that teaching the young boy?
Son “Hey Dad, what does that sign say?”
Dad “It says no fishing or swimming.”
Son “But we’re fishing. Should we stop?”
Dad “Nope. It’s OK, let them try to stop me.”
Others got outright angry at the thought of anyone having an argument with a Dad spending time with his son, even though it involved breaking the law together.
The way that people spun the meaning of the moment and the variation of core values expressed in this matter made my head spin. Yes, it was radically different from my own upbringing. I had a hard time seeing the merit in letting the people fish despite the posted signs against such activity.
There are questions of respect, honor, following the law, making your own law, and so on. Where is the true north here? Who is the judge?
Clearly, it is a personal decision to honor a higher standard.
Make the Right Choices
Spending your time at the first of the year to set goals and make resolutions is valuable, but only after you have checked back in to center your self on your core values; your true north. Don’t waste time with the planning and goal setting until you re-establish your purpose and value.
Question: What have you done to reset your true north BEFORE you begin planning for the New Year? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
PS – OK I don’t literally mean “NO Goals”. You have to set your base before you start setting goals. I see too many professionals who make major mistakes in their planning because they let their true north shift too much. They want to stay centered on the real north, but if things have slipped or wiggled out of alignment, you have to get those core values reset before you plot another set of goals, plans, or resolutions.
Originally posted on DougThorpe.com
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