By Ben Dictus – Former Leadership Consultant
We often have goal setting force fed to us from every angle and in every aspect of our lives. It seems like everyone wants to know what your goal for this is and how you will meet your goal for that. And just as often, it does not seem to matter. You look at your performance, in whatever activity, and say to yourself, “I was one of the best,” or even, “I was the best;” and I never set a single goal. Why should I bother if I am already at the top?
Maybe your main thing is running. As is such, you run a marathon, because marathons are the pinnacle event of any runner’s career, but you never set a goal as to how you will perform. Let’s say you finish at just under 4 hours and did not walk during the race. Everyone tells you how amazing a feat it is to complete a marathon; and you agree. People say, “Wow! Under 4, what a stud!” Again, you agree. “You never walked during your first marathon, unbelievable!” Again, you agree. It certainly appears as though things went well and that goal setting is unnecessary. Sure, what you did was great, but so what, it lacked intentionality; and more importantly, it lacked integrity.
Think about it like this – a guy shoots a gun at a wall, then paints the bull’s-eye around the bullet hole, and then tells you how great of an aim he is. He says, “Look, I hit it right in the bull’s-eye!” Not very impressive is it. Almost feels wrong doesn’t it. Does this man exhibit any sort of integrity? What if he had painted the bull’s-eye first? Would you be impressed then? Would he have something to be proud of then?
What, then, is it that I am getting at? Am I saying that people that don’t set goals are lack integrity? No, not at all. (Although, accepting compliments for matters of chance seems to have a certain lack of integrity to it.) What I am saying is that people that don’t set goals are taking the easy way out by letting others determine what is good for them, instead determining what is good themselves. Robert Morrison once made this pertinent statement, “ You must guard against elation. Do not look at the past as a thing that should be satisfying; look at it only as something in general that was well done. Thank God for it, but go and do something better.” The individual who does not set goals is not guarding against elation; rather, they are embracing it. They are looking at the past as a satisfying thing; instead of as something they did well. And how will they go and do something better, when better was determined by others who do not know your abilities?
Therefore, the answer is yes. Goal setting is something that you need to consider worth your time. Unless, of course, you want to stay exactly where you are in your life and abilities. Sure, maybe you are already at the top, but wouldn’t it be better to be so far up there that no one else could even catch up. Start setting goals and give yourself a place from which you can “go and do something better.” Take yourself to a new level. Be a Phi of intentionality and integrity.