GREATNESS: going beyond goals

Everyone has set goals. And, while we have nothing against goals, we’ve learned through our research of high performers that there exists something more inspiring and more worthy of our efforts. We call it GREATNESS.

Goals. I received my first goal-setting lesson 20 years ago. As a new intern at The Ford Motor Company, I didn’t completely appreciate it at the time, but I was incredibly fortunate to get to attend a time management program.

For the next 10 years I saw every aspect of my life through the lens of my goals and a daily allegiance to the simple decision criteria of “Is this important or simply urgent?”

The results were awesome. I brainstormed all sort of goals, namely things I wanted to accomplish within 6 to 12 months. I made them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound), then worked away at getting them done.

I struggled a bit to incorporate longer term goals into my day-to-day, but compared to blowing along with the prevailing winds of college life, I was a machine. I felt I could accomplish anything!

That was all well and good, but largely because life was simpler then. Sure it seemed full of challenge at the time, but truth be told I hadn’t a care in the world but to focus on whatever I wanted.

The struggle. Fast forward 20 years, a full marriage, and 5 kids later, and the landscape has changed. I have far greater experience to draw from today, but a tiny fraction the time. An ambitious goal would be simply to keep up and survive!

In this highly reactive, overscheduled phase of life, pursuits that require behavior change must take on a significance rivaling my entire purpose for living.

Goals in and of themselves just don’t cut it. I can try to set SMART goals for everything from my budget to my fitness level, but when challenged by the need of a child or the demands of growing a business, those goals will take a back seat. Compromise regularly, and you can end up resolving to just “do your best”…which is recipe for mediocrity.

So how do the greats sustain growth through even the most hectic and exhausting phase of life? How do some people achieve behavior change without the benefit of time and flexibility?

The solution. We believe the first and most significant step is discovering your GREATNESS, a vision for your life that transcends the individual roles you play. It is how you will develop and apply your unique talents to pursue a higher purpose that is in line with your most deeply held values.

In the context of GREATNESS, the various roles you play meld into a single being. Work and life no longer battle, but instead reinforce each other. Growth and change become possible because they become important. You begin to realize that you can do anything, because you are fulfilling a calling beyond “doing stuff”.

So this post is really about concept of GREATNESS. In subsequent posts, I’ll dig into how you develop it.

Have you experienced this same struggle?  Are goals all you need to change and grow?