Goals are often difficult to define. It’s easy to describe a problem or obstacle that you’re having, but when asked to articulate where you see yourself and what you want to achieve, the conversation becomes more nebulous. Responses I’ve often heard when working with my clients sound like “I just know I don’t want to be here anymore” or “I want to make more money than I’m making” but if you step back and reflect on those responses, they’re not actually goals. They’re reactions to a current situation that reinforce the issue you’re facing. They describe a fix to the problem, not a goal to actively work towards. They represent that you want to overcome your current obstacle, not where you want to go and what you’re willing to do to get there.
The other thing I’ve heard a lot is “I’d love to do this but it’s impossible” or “I don’t see how I can support myself doing what I really want to do.” Statements like these are literally stopping anything before it even gets started. The idea starts to bloom but immediately gets trampled before it even has a chance. Taking a step into unknown territory is hard, but it’s not impossible. It takes work and commitment, and statements like “It’s impossible” or “I can’t do it” removes any sliver of motivation to even try.
It’s been estimated that the average person spends over ⅓ of their life at work. That’s approximately 90,000 hours over your lifetime, and this estimate doesn’t consider the extra hours you likely put in over and above your standard work week. Do you enjoy what you’re doing? Do you want to do it for another 30,000, 40,000, 50,000+ hours? If you love what you do, congratulations! If you don’t, it’s time to focus your energy and figure out what makes you tick so you can create your new reality.
Having a career and a life you love is available to everyone. But first, you need to know what that looks like for you. What is your goal? What do you want for yourself? How are you supporting this vision with the current actions you take every day? What ideas do you have? What makes you unique? How can you make money based on your unique talent and ideas? What resources can you gather to help? What does your ideal day look like? Where do you see yourself when you’re living life in a way that honours who you are? It’s time to take ownership of where you are and where you want to be. If you can’t visualize it, you can’t build it.
The way I see it is you’re at a crossroads and your choices are to (A) accept where you are and stay there, or (B) get your head and your heart in the game and take action that leads to change. If you choose B, you’ll need to truly believe in yourself and build a plan to make your ideal day your every day. Half-assed action leads to half-assed results, and we’re not here for that. You’ll need to take a deep breath and a leap of faith to start taking intentional action every day in the direction you want to go. You may not have all the answers yet, and your goal may not be entirely described, but you’ve got a vision for what you want for yourself. And that vision is worth something.
Start working on yourself so you can start working for yourself. Get clarity on your goals and make shifts in your day-to-day that support these goals. Because until you get to where you want to be, you’re just putting in the time…and 90,000 hours is a really long time.