If you’re looking to accomplish something, put the focus on your goal.
Beginning at the end may seem easy enough. But conceptualizing the right outcome can be tricky. Often, we confuse goals with objectives (the means to an end), and when we achieve the objective, we are no closer to the outcome we’d hope.
For instance, if you want to be a force for good in the world, whose words and ideas words touch hearts and change lives – then that’s your goal. Period. Any task between you and the change agent’s way of life is an objective. Engaging in a profitable and sustainable writing career; Signing with a “Big Five” publisher or a top literary agent are objectives, a method used to achieve your goal.
Many will say, of course, I know that, but world-renowned author status is my goal. But is it? In our haste or despair to make something happen, we often lose sight of what we want to accomplish. We forget a goal is your guiding principle.
Case-in-point. A few years ago, I unwittingly set a personal goal, and in achieving it, it knocked me right off my life’s path. After a series of professional setbacks and failed intimate relationships, I wanted to disappear. Just go and get lost in the world. Five months after that heartfelt plea, I accepted a job as an international flight attendant with one of the world’s largest airlines. For the next eight years, my friends and associates would send me messages, “where in the world, are you?” Looking back, that was mission accomplished. I’d set a goal subconsciously and was surprised when I achieved it.
But it’s what many of us do, then wonder why we missed the mark. We may say, “I need this, or I must have that. But it’s usually unrelated to our desired outcome. Yet our subconscious doesn’t recognize the difference between desires and principles. So, it goes on and carries out the tasks to achieve yet a misaligned objective. Therefore, it’s important to carefully determine your principled outcome in your logical mind and then reinforce it in your heart. If I did, my heartfelt plea would have aligned with my rational mind.
My subconscious would’ve worked to stabilize my career and help me engage in a healthy intimate relationship. – And not fall for the sway of the next tall, dark, and handsome man who set my body on fire
But I digress.
The goal I haphazardly created became my guiding force and created a new story that I followed onto a different path.
Here’s how it happened.
You may have noticed, “the why” of your goal is just as important as the goal itself.
LIFE IMITATING ART
My everyday life sucked, and it triggered my desire to get lost.
Everything that happened afterward followed a novel’s 3 Act structure.
You’re in your comfort zone – it could suck, it could be lovely, but its what you know. Then something happens to snap you out of it and forces you out of the zone and onto a journey. Your goal is to get back to your routine. On this journey, you’re likely to face obstacles, objectives (a means to an end) assistance, and more to help you achieve your goal.
Note: This journey is to make your character stronger and wiser, but that’s a decision you’ll have to make as you go through the struggles.
Let’s use this current global pandemic as one of those triggers in literature.
The conflict is “Human against Nature.”
The Three Act structure is as follows:
The protagonist in this story is you. It’s not virologists, epidemiologists, health care workers, or government leaders.
Here’s how your story looks.
Stasis: Good, bad, or indifferent; you are going about your daily life.
Trigger: Hostile extraterrestrials from planet Corona invade the Earth –
The Quest: (a journey specific to achieving a goal or mission.) While the world’s governments work with industries to eradicate the Alien Coronavirus, your task is to relieve the effects it is having on your life. The goal is to return to pre-Coronavirus stasis.
Surprise(s): It’s not going to be as easy as you thought it would be. Governors have closed major states for about three months; you learn you’re either an essential or nonessential worker. If you’re the latter, your employer might lay you off. Only jobs available are for essential workers -everything from delivery, cashier, store clerks to health care workers, and first-responders. You’re social distancing to remain healthy because even with health insurance, you may not get treatment, and without it, you won’t. In addition to hostile invaders from Corona, bad actors in the world governments arise. Con artists, opportunists, and anarchists flood the airwaves, the internet, and streets. There may be some in your family, and you might not be able to trust your neighbors.
Critical Choice: Then you come to the big test: “Decision Coronavirus” The test is a pass or fail. You won’t know the results until you decide. Here’s where you learn if your guiding principles are selfless or selfish. Will you make the hard decision for a good outcome or take the easy road that will undoubtedly lead to an awful end?
Climax: The moment of truth: The results of your decision reveal your character.
Reversal: You experience a character change, or at the very least, you’ve learned something about yourself.
Resolution: You’re now experiencing a new normal. You may have a whole new story and are bound for a new journey to learn a lesson. Or you’ve returned to regular life. But now you’re a hero with a gift for those in your community.
So long story, short. “Too Late” as the characters said in the 1985 film “Clue.” A goal isn’t something to do – it’s your foundation. It’s a way of life. A state of being, your cornerstone from which all objectives originate.
Hence always, begin with your end goal in mind. ~MH
Question of the Day: Is your job on the Essential workers list? Were you shocked to learn your job isn’t considered essential?
I was surprised to learn of all the client/customer facing personnel and first-responders who are on the front lines during the Coronavirus pandemic. High-Five to Health care providers including virologists and epidemiologists, delivery personnel, grocery clerks and cashiers, adult infant and child caregivers, journalists, transportation personnel – (shout-out to the flight attendants, pilots and workers above and below the wings), sanitation workers, farmers, ranchers, fishers, EMT, Fire and rescue, Peace officers, ICT personnel (I’m mean really, cloud computing isn’t 100 percent automated, right?) apologies for any other essential workers I’ve left off the list.