Updated: May 22, 2018
Sometimes you can want something so badly that you begin to hyperfocus on it to the point that you literally cannot see when the goal is within your grasp. In her excellent book, You are a Badass, Jen Sincero shares an example that illustrates this perfectly:
“There’s a great Hindu story about a lady who wanted to meet the god Krishna. So she went into the forest, closed her eyes, and prayed and meditated on making the god appear, and lo and behold, Krishna came wandering down the forest path toward her. But when Krishna tapped the lady on the shoulder, she, without opening her eyes, told him to get lost because she was busy meditating on a very important goal.”
How many times, like this lady, have you asked for something, been presented with what you requested but didn't recognize it because it was in a different package than what you expected? You were probably so focused on what you thought it SHOULD look like that the object of your desire passed right under your nose without you even noticing. So in reality you could be lamenting your bad luck when you are simply blind to the riches that surround you.
You could be lamenting your bad luck when you are simply blind to the riches that surround you.
Sometimes we decide on goals for all the wrong reasons. Maybe we chose the goals because it was something that someone else wanted for us, like making vice president by age 30 because that’s what dear old dad did. Or maybe we seek a job with a prestigious firm because we think it will impress our friends. For goals to be truly motivational, we’ve got to understand WHY we are pursuing them and the reasons have to have real meaning for us.
Some questions to ask to discover your WHY:
How will you feel when you achieve this goal?
What rewards will you gain by achieving this goal? Money? A sense of accomplishment? A new title? Higher self-esteem? Continued opportunities for advancement?
What will achieving this goal mean to you? To your family and friends?
Is there someone who wants this goal for you more than you want it for yourself? If so, how has that impacted your decision to pursue this goal?
If you can access the feeling and rewards that you desire through other means, how willing are you to alter your goal or the path to get there?
As the maxim goes: "All roads lead to Rome"-- there are many ways to get to the same destination. Don’t get too caught up in thinking your goal is out of reach because you had to take a detour or are temporarily stalled. It’s even okay to decide that you want to change your destination along the way. (After all, it is YOUR life!)
There are many ways to get to the same destination.
I’ve seen ambitious people refuse to take on volunteer or side projects because they are too “busy” with their jobs and they view that sort of thing as just “meaningless busy work.” This is like someone who is stuck in a traffic jam on the highway refusing to get off and take side streets because they are convinced “the highway is faster” despite evidence to the contrary.
I have also observed enlightened people who are willing to volunteer, take on board memberships, or other special projects, who have seen their investments in time pay off in spades – they broadened their networks, became more visible to leaders in the company or community, and landed bigger roles because they stepped out and differentiated themselves from everyone else who was “just doing their jobs.” To continue with the analogy, these people got off the highway, sat through a few lights on the side streets then got a speedy police escort to their destination.
Remaining present, centered and open can result in you being able to see the myriad ways to get from point A to point B. Career advancement is no longer a linear march up the corporate ladder – today it’s more of a jungle gym with many routes that can lead to the next level. It’s common practice in big corporations for emerging leaders to be given assignments that are outside the normal hierarchy in order to gain broader perspective and understanding within their organizations so they can eventually rise to the executive level.
Career advancement is no longer a linear march up the corporate ladder – today it’s more of a jungle gym with many routes that can lead to the next level.
Sometimes the assignments can include being sent overseas, moving from a line position to a staff position (or vice versa), or being transferred to a different business unit to work under a more experienced manager. Despite the meandering paths, the objective of such assignments is to provide these "high-potentials" with exposure to a variety of challenges, that will strengthen leadership muscles and broaden perspectives to prepare them for higher level leadership roles.
Even if you’re not fortunate enough to be on the “high potential” list, it doesn’t mean that you can’t seek varied opportunities to round out your skill set and build your network of friends and colleagues willing to help you achieve the goals that have great meaning for you.
If you hold on too tightly to the idea that you have to do everything yourself and that you'll never catch a break – guess what: you won’t! Each time you move out of your comfort zone, you stretch, learn and grow. When you find the courage to do this, you'll discover new paths that can lead to where you want to go.
You may wake up and realize that your dream is coming true right before your eyes.
Remain open... and who knows? You may wake up and realize that your dream is coming true right before your eyes – perhaps in a different way than you originally envisioned. That’s okay though – if you let it, the universe will help you get the things that you want. You just have to stay open and alert to be able to see it.
If you are feeling like you're not progressing as quickly as you'd like in your career, contact me for a free, 30-minute strategy session to explore unseen opportunities that may within your reach.