You have big dreams and aspirations, but traditional goal setting feels like a never-ending cycle of problem-solving, trying to fix yourself or situations, and proving your worth. It’s like being stuck in a closed loop, not truly experiencing the joy of creation.
We’ve been taught to set SMART goals, make action plans, and strive for success with an almost obsessive focus on the analytical and logical aspects of our brains.
Traditional goal setting has its place. Yet not only is it reactive more often than not – it also frequently leaves you disconnected from the greater wisdom, creativity, and capacity of your consciousness.
The new frontier of goals lies in the shift from reactive to creator mode.
The truth is we are natural builders and creators. The human longing to create seems to exist in everyone. We have deep aspirations. We desire to build our own lives. But we’ve been taught to create from places of fear and scarcity. We’ve confused problem-solving with creating.
Problem-solving focuses on what we lack and want to go away. You’re in a place of reactivity to what you don’t want – more focused on what you don’t want than what you do.
Creating is different. It’s about bringing what you truly want into being.
Charlie Kiefer talks about this using the example of the American business organization. He says that most planning is approached from problem-solving mode.
First, the current state of affairs is determined. The financial situation, people capacities, the products, competitors’ capacities, probable legislative actions, and so on are all plotted.
“Having done a thorough and competitive analysis of these factors, the organization then takes the almost tragic step of charting a course to optimize performance in the light of these current circumstances. In essence, the organization says, “given these circumstances, what is the best we can hope to do?”
Kiefer says to instead imagine an organization operating as a creator.
First, they decide what they truly want to create. In other words, they first make sure they are true to themselves and not just separating what they think is possible from what they want.
“[T]hen they analyze current reality (perhaps in exactly the same manner as before). Now, however, it is only to use that analysis as a foundation to build a bridge to what they truly want. Such an organization is on the road to greatness.”
There are other ways we limit ourselves when it comes to goals. One way is by tying them to your identity.
In traditional personal growth and goal setting, you’re taught to look at why you want the goal.
The danger of doing that is you tie getting it into your identity. When you make the things you want about who you are as a person, you end up having to fix yourself to get what you want. That can become a near endless loop. When you tie it into your identity, all sorts of things come up: self-doubt, questions of worthiness, fears of failure (or success), procrastination, loss of focus…
Essentially you tie it into fear.
All of that slows it down. Don’t get me wrong, you can and have made great progress and created tremendous success by reacting to things you lack or need to fix. But there’s a limit to your growth in problem-solving mode. An expiry date.
It can only take you so far. And there’s a lot of unnecessary struggle along the way.
Creating from a place of reactivity inadvertently leads you to compromise what you truly want in your life for the sake of safety, security, and a sense of peace. Except, of course, you never experience true safety, security, or peace.
Here’s the thing when it comes to your goals. You don’t have to have a reason for wanting to create something. You don’t have to justify wanting it. You don’t even have to be a good person to have it.
You can create something just because you’d love to bring it into being.
Ironically, not tying your goals into your identity enables you to bring them to fruition much faster.
This all may seem foreign. After all, you’ve been taught to motivate yourself and others by presenting the negative consequences that will happen if you don’t take right action. You’ve been taught to fear your own wants and desires. You worry that what you want might be selfish or self-indulgent. You’ve been taught that being a good person means sublimating your own interests for the sake of others.
But I think we may have gotten it backwards.
Robert Fritz, author of The Path of Least Resistance, writes: “One of the most important lessons I have learned in the past 15 years of teaching the creative process concerns the true nature of people. When people are united with their real power – the power to create what they want to create – they always choose what is highest in humanity. They choose good health, exceptional relationships, and love, and relevant life purpose, and peace, and challenges worthy of the human spirit. People, I have come to discover, are profoundly good.
But you might think, what about our destructive tendencies? What about all the examples of wars, inhumanity, and needless cruelty?
Those who spend their lives destructively are not in touch with their power to create. Instead, the manifestation of evil throughout history has come in reaction to the inability, not the ability, to create. Power-wielding, manipulation, terrorism, militarism, and lust for power do not come from having power, but from not having power.“
There’s a lot more to this new frontier of goals. For example, we need more balancing of logic and right-brain: traditional goal setting often emphasizes logic, metrics, and specific targets (typical left-hemisphere thinking). This approach can help set clear objectives, but it doesn’t take advantage of the intuitive and creative aspects (right-hemisphere thinking) that help us reach goals that are even more on the mark than our left brains can imagine. With left-brain only, we can miss innovation and being able to adapt to unforeseen challenges.
But let’s leave that for another day.
Want more? Check out the Resources Page for cutting edge free gifts.