I recently watched the movie “Bucket List” after a number of years and it really got me thinking. We all consciously or otherwise set goals for ourselves. The setting of goals has been a big focus of my recent coaching sessions and I wanted to share my perspective with you.
Most of us go through our lives setting incremental goals for ourselves. What if 2018 is your last year in this lifetime and you don’t get to see 2019? Life is completely unpredictable and death can be an old friend that we run into at any time. Having said that, let’s assume we actually get to experience 2018 with the premise that this is our last year in this lifetime. How would you live this year? What would your goals be for this year? Most people fear getting to the tail-end of their lives with a bunch of “what ifs”. What if that tail is now staring you in the face? What prevents you from setting goals that are truly transformational?
Now here’s my perspective…our minds are the only thing that inhibits our setting goals for ourselves that are truly transformational. Irrespective of your age, if you truly value yourself, take the time to introspect and ask yourself what your aspirational goals might be. Make a list of the kinds of goals that would show up as “what ifs” at the end of your life. Don’t talk yourself out of putting something important on your list. At the same time, keep in mind that this is your list and your goals shouldn’t be a reflection of what people might think about them. These goals should be deeply personal to you. Your goals on this list should be as real as you can possibly be with yourself. If you really wanted to work for yourself…put it on the list…don’t tell yourself that you are not qualified or don’t have a business idea or are unwilling to take the risk. All these barriers to the achievement of your goals only exist in your mind. There are some pseudo-spiritual folks who might say that setting life goals is pointless because of destiny. Not doing anything because of the destiny factor is not being spiritualistic but rather fatalistic. Fatalism has nothing to do with spirituality. Spirituality is giving something that's important to you your all and then embracing the outcome, irrespective of whether it was the desired outcome or not.
Not sure how many people have heard of George Mallory. George Mallory was an extremely accomplished British mountaineer who in the early 1900s had scaled virtually every daunting peak in Europe. He was widely acknowledged at that time as the world’s greatest mountaineer. He made three attempts to climb Mount Everest and on his third attempt disappeared from a point that was just about 800 feet from the peak. There continues to be speculation that he may have been the first person to scale Mount Everest. Given all his accomplishments, people couldn’t quite understand his obsession with scaling Mount Everest. A reporter once asked him why he wanted to scale Mount Everest so badly…and Mallory famously responded with “because it’s there”. What made a person who had arguably achieved every viable goal push himself towards another life-altering one…maybe it was because he didn’t want to have any “what ifs”.
So, here’s my recommendation…make this a year to remember, irrespective of your age. Set goals for yourself this year that are truly transformational and directly hit your list of “what ifs”. Prioritize your list, so you know which ones are more important to you than others. Put down the potential barriers that may prevent you from hitting each goal, and then put together a gameplan for overcoming those barriers. Finally, give your all towards the accomplishment of your goals…these goals are after all deeply personal. The achieving of these goals is not in our control. All we have control over is giving these goals our best shot. The fact that we gave it our best shot should by itself mitigate any “what if” feelings. If all this feels like a lot of work, then you’re probably just not ready to make this a truly special life. And if you ask yourself why you would chase after these goals…well…to take a page from George Mallory’s personal philosophy…it’s because “they’re there”.