The Lies People Tell About Setting Goals

My goals have never included watching my business reduced to rubble and my debt soar. Instead, they were common goals, like supporting my family, raising my children and keeping my home safe.   I’m a single mother whose business took a strong nose-dive in February 2008 when the rest of the economy crashed. Suddenly, my income was less than half and my expenses seemed to take off like an air force fighter jet.

I had always worked for someone else. Now I had my own business and the paychecks weren’t consistent. In the past I had always been successful at work. Now was a different story.  I was like the shark in a marine biologist’s experiment. The scientist feeds the shark small fish and the shark eats them voraciously.

Next, the biologist inserts a clear Plexiglas partition. The feeder fish are released on one side and the shark attacks. Time and again he butts his head against the Plexiglas. Soon his efforts grow less aggressive. Over time the biologist is able to release the fish in the tank and the shark doesn’t try to attack those on the opposite side. He thinks the partition is still there. After not achieving success so many times, he just gave up.

I spent years rebuilding my business to a point where I could once again support my children. And, in those years of butting my head into the Plexiglas in my life, I learned something important about the goals I set and how I could achieve them.

My business involves networking with other business people. More times than not, I received a resounding “No!” to requests, comments, networking attempts and even gifts. At some point in this four year journey I considered quitting.

Popular business people promised to do things with me and then backed out. Others asked me to produce for them, thanked me for the great work and then backed out of their end of the deal. And still others took what I proposed and ran with the idea themselves.

It was more than just a little discouraging.

Four years later I have an education I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else and learned lessons I can use in other areas of life. But, there is one lesson that brought me through the lean years and keeps me strategizing through the good ones. It’s the one lesson on which everything else is built. And, you may not know it, but it’s the one thing that everything is built in your life too.

If that one thing is solid, then you’ll move toward your dreams. If it’s built on sand, then you’ll soon find yourself sinking, wondering what in the world could be going wrong.

It took me two years to figure out that I needed that one thing to make the rest of my life thrive. But, I can’t tell you what that one thing is, because it will be different for you than it is for me. You might jump to the conclusion that I’m talking about what motivates or inspires you, and you’d be partially right.

But not totally. Because there’s more to just what motivates you or inspires you that will drive you. Motivation is great, for as long as you can “feel it.” Inspiration is better, because it runs deeper and stronger. But this one thing is what drives you.

Day in and day out it will drive you to get up every morning and work through the day.  This has been a concept that’s difficult to describe or put into words. And, for that reason, not many people find their driving force.

In the movie City Slickers, three friends vacation together each year. This year they go on a supervised cattle drive where Mitch (Billy Crystal) discovers that one thing in his life. Terrified of his midlife crisis, he’s forced to face dangerous conditions and comes to terms with aging.

But we aren’t always forced to find that driving force in life. Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of a life changing experience that pushes our face in the one thing we don’t want to face.

I call it a luxury while it FEELS like a hard, rocky obstacle standing between you and your dream. There doesn’t seem to be a way around the darned thing – and until you find the reason, the why, your inspiration and motivation – YOUR DRIVING FORCE – you’ll likely fall short.

That’s because it takes a LOT of strength, courage and stamina to stay the journey. You will get through life without the work – but the rewards will be less inspiring and less rewarding.

Courage doesn’t mean you operate without fear – but rather that you do what is expected even though you feel the fear.

You do it IN SPITE of the fear.

The ultimate lie about setting goals is that you can set goals all day long, but unless you take action, nothing happens.

Without motivation, you won’t take action. Without action you don’t experience the results you want. Without your driving force, continuing to keep your motivation will be incredibly difficult.

It’s a cycle.

We all have that one thing in life that lights our fire, drives us beyond what we thought possible . . .


the question is, can you find it?

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