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By: Chere Estrin

Reprinted with permission from The Estrin Report: www.estrinlegaled.typepad.com

I admit it – the title of this post on The Estrin Report caught my eye. I saw it, wondered “What in the heck is she talking about?” began reading, and internally swore I was going to disagree with Chere’s advice on this one. The curb? Come on. I’m shooting higher! But then I kept reading. The words started to make perfect sense. I found myself mentally setting my sights upon (of all places) the curb. Read today’s post to see what you think! 

How many times have you set goals only not to achieve them?

Come on. You already know in your gut when you set the goal that you probably won’t reach it.  Despite clichés such as “Shoot for the moon” and other psychobabble, you will most likely say to yourself, “Are you kidding?  I’ll commit to xxx but I know it’s a stretch.”

On the other hand, goals are ingrained and give us targets, benchmarks and a sense of accomplishment.  The difference between just setting a goal and accomplishing it is to have a strong “why” in place.

Let’s parallel this to a brick building that looks massive and powerful.  Now let’s imagine that the building was built by a group of amateur builders in one day, had a poor foundation and the bricks were not cemented together. It looked very nice but wasn’t solid. One day, a kid tosses a spit ball smack into the middle of the building. What happens? The building crumbles. The little kid with the fastball knocked down the building that looked amazingly strong and powerful.

Why? The foundation was pathetic. No one paid the price so that the building could hold its own in the real world despite how it looked to the average person.

Let’s tie that into your goals. Your “why” is your foundation and roots. Your “why” must be stronger and bigger than you.  Internalizing your “why” and knowing exactly “why” you do what you do helps you reach your goals. The most common goals in the history of the human race are to lose weight or make a lot of money.  Then you are disappointed when you fall significantly short. Are you relating to that? How about setting the goal of changing jobs within a month and at the end of the month you haven’t even had a decent interview?

Here’s the reason: you must know “why”.  Let’s take the job change. It’s not really the money that drives you…it’s your “why”. What are you going to do with the additional money? Get a new car, buy a house, upgrade your standard of living, save for your kids’ college tution, move your career upward or outward? “Why” have you set that goal to uproot your career? Where is the foundation of your goal?  No one paid the price for that massive brick building and it fell. Be willing to pay the price and earn your way to your goal.

Let’s go over this again. Goals can be damaging to your future. If you don’t have your “why” in order, then you have no foundation to support you as you as head down your success path to completion. Without that foundation, you will give up and be discouraged from ever setting goals again.

It doesn’t matter what type of goal – physical, financial, social. Needing to know “why” you are setting your goals means paying the price to achieve it. If not, your goal could damage your career instead of assisting you in ultimately achieving the success you’ve always dreamed about. Commit to developing your “why” before setting any more goals.

Let’s look at two questions to find your “why”:

1. If you didn’t have to worry about money, location, working hours, billable hours, specialty, education, stress, co-workers, bosses and could design your own job, what would it look like? Why?

2. Do you enjoy your career? If so, why? If not, why not? Your past does not control you! Your future should drive you because you see yourself successful.

There’s no doubt you will encounter obstacles and challenges. That’s just life. If your “why” is strong enough, then unlike that building, you will stand strong against whatever tries to stop you. It’s going to be very hard to knock you down.

Goals are damaging if you don’t have a foundation in place. My challenge to you today is to ask yourself the two questions, develop your “why” and set your goals. In the meantime, don’t take any brick buildings.

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A special thanks to Chere Estrin for stopping by TPS to share this post. Remember to ask yourself why (oh why) it is you want what you want, and more importantly, what you’re going to keep in mind in order to get there.

Like Chere said, “There’s no doubt you will encounter obstacles and challenges. That’s just life. If your ‘why’ is strong enough, then unlike that building, you will stand strong against whatever tries to stop you. It’s going to be very hard to knock you down.”

We’ll see you on Friday! T-minus 2 days and counting… 

(I’ll be sure to save you a seat on the curb!)