Not just for Dads

Intentional Influence – Thoughts for Leaders and Fathers…and anyone who knows some!

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

The Cake is the Goal

The Cake is the Goal

My 1-year-old son, Joshua, hadn’t finished eating his lunch, but desperately wanted the cake. (How do you recognize an inexperienced parent? They bring out the cake before “little one” is done with the real food…) There was some complaining and some crying, but no chewing. Although I told him he could have some cake once he finished his food, he didn’t even touch it. At least not until I took a piece of the cake and placed it right in front of him. Close enough for him to clearly see it, but far enough away that he couldn’t reach it. In no time, all his food was gone and he was happily munching his cake.

What made the difference?

Although I’d like to believe it was my authority, or reasoning, or wisdom in training, it was actually just one simple little reason: He had a goal: A piece of cake that reminded him where he was headed and what had to be done.

Goal or no Goal

Last week I talked about not giving up on our goals, because we usually set goals for a reason. I just took for granted then, that people had actually set goals for the new year. Then I thought about it some more, and I remembered conversations with people who don’t actually set goals. They have many reasons, ranging from “too much hassle” and “won’t work anyway” to “fear of failure” or “just don’t care”… and I can relate to all of them, because I have used all of these excuses myself one or more times.

No Goal – No Success, Know Goal – Know Success

Most people I know  (and probably those I don’t know) would confirm, that they want to move on, grow, achieve or succeed in life (whatever that means for them). The first words that come to mind when we hear success may be words like work, finances or fame. But I would suggest that for most people “success in life” includes or even depends on other areas like family, friends, health, integrity, purpose, values, etc…

So on the one hand we all want to succeed in life, in some way or another. But at the same time we often struggle to set goals. I believe there is a direct link between success and setting goals. In fact, a simple definition of success could be “reaching your goals”. There is only one problem with that. According to that definition, in order to succeed you need to set some goals.

Now that might not sound very profound, but let me ask you:

  • Is there an area in your life where you would like to be further than you are?
  • Is there a part of your life where you want to grow or improve, but you don’t seem to be getting anywhere?
  • Is there a skill you’ve been wanting to learn or something you’ve wanted to achieve for a long time, without success?

Have you set some goals in those areas? Do you know exactly where you are headed and what needs to be done? No goal – no success! Know you’re goal and it is a lot more likely you will know success.

So, if you feel you are not getting anywhere in some area…try setting some goals.

I’ll use the next few days to give you some advice on how to do that in a way that will actually work.

Have you failed yet?

“New Year’s resolution”…

Just these words alone will be enough for some people to stop reading. If you are still reading this, stay with me! I need your insight:

What is it, about the end of each year, every year, that prompts us to make “New Year’s resolutions”? And what is it about the beginning of the new year, every year, that makes us fail at them so miserably, so quickly?

Well, that’s a long story…probably too long to go into detail here… (Ok, I’ll admit it: That’s just my excuse for not really knowing the answer to the questions. But then again it doesn’t seem right for me to be writing here, if I don’t have an answer.)

The truth is, that probably a lot of people who write don’t really have answers. In fact that is why some people write in the first place. Because they don’t have answers. They hope to get them through writing. That’s probably true for me, too. And so I made a New Year’s resolution to write in my blog at least once a week in 2013, hoping to get some answers to the questions I have and to refine my thinking and reasoning.

Now if you are still reading, take a look at the calendar. Yep, that’s right. Week three…and I am finally writing my first blog entry for the year. FAIL!

So, I am two weeks late with my first entry…but might be just in time after all. Because I am sure I am not the only one in this situation. (I just happened to have chosen a New Year’s resolution, that means I have to publicly write something on the internet and admit my failure.)  Maybe you are reading this and feel like you have failed just like I have. And just like me, you feel like it’s not worth even starting at all now.

But look back with me at my REASON for making this New Year’s resolution: “To get answers to the questions I have, and to refine my thinking and reasoning through writing”. That hasn’t changed. That is still my goal. Am I going to give up on that goal, just because I am two weeks behind schedule?

You, like me, might be lousy at setting and keeping New Year’s resolutions. But I am sure your REASONS weren’t lousy. I am sure your INTENTIONS were good and your GOALS were noble. Are you going to throw all that away, or wait for a whole year to start over, just because it hasn’t started the way you were hoping?

As for me, I am not going to give up and I am not going to give in.

Happy New Year everyone! (I had planned that line for week one, and wasn’t going to waste it just because I am two weeks late…)

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