- Thoughts for inspired living

July 21, 2009

Goal Setting

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:12 am

What if, suddenly, you couldn’t breathe, how focused would you be on getting oxygen?

My guess is it would be your only focus.

I was flying last week and was seated next to a young woman from Cambodia. We struck up a conversation and eventually she asked me this question: “Do you set goals?” I laughed and mentioned that the parent name of our company is “Goals International.”

Then I let her question sit for a moment and responded. I drew a horizontal line with my finger on the back of the seat in front of her. I said, “Imagine the far left of the line represented Zero and the far right of the imaginary line represented 100% (an exercise I learned from Jerry Stocking). Then I took my finger to about the 25% mark and indicated where some of my goals currently lived. I labeled them as “Nice to have.”

“Nice to have” goals have about the same chance of happening as winning the lottery.

I then took my finger to about the 85% mark and said, “Goals that live here are in the neighborhood of ‘if I can’t get this, I won’t be able to breathe’.”

My experience is that goals you really want to achieve have to be like needed oxygen in order to come to fruition. They need more than a casual focus.

Please don’t confuse this with setting a step-by-step plan. That is a helpful strategy AFTER you feel the requisite need, but too many people put their efforts into the plan without having enough emotional juice to launch it. I believe they call that “Bass Ackwards.”

The “7 Steps to Success” plans all are valuable tools, but if you are working with an anemic goal, you’re planning to keep your wheels spinning.

Take a look at any recurring goal you’ve had for a long time. IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

It’s not going to happen unless and until you elevate it to the category of needed oxygen.

This probably goes counter to everything you’ve heard about goal setting but, by and large, goal setting is ineffective. If you need proof, just look at your long list of unfulfilled New Year’s Resolutions.

Dreaming is also a part of the goal setting formula but it’s over emphasized. Dreaming or envisioning a “nice to have goal” may produce momentary reverie but, absent of any real need, it will become part of the flock of failures.

Daydreaming is a nice way to escape but a poor way to plan your future.

If you have a list of goals, may I suggest that you prioritize them and find the ones that need oxygen and breathe life into them. They are worth dreaming and planning for. The other ones are like the “C” list of your wedding guests – the first ones that need to be cut.

Here’s to taking a nice deep breath!

All the best,



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