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Most goals that we set, the desired outcome, isn’t the outcome we put on paper. The desired outcome is happiness. One of the best ways to achieve your goals is to work daily toward the goal and not worry about the outcome.

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Episode Transcript

Welcome back! The last episode we talked about, knowing where you are going before you start and how having a roadmap will help achieve your goals. Today I want to take a step back and talk about letting go of outcomes. 

Since the dawn of philosophy, philosophers have talked about letting go of the outcome. One of the earliest to say this is the Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu said, “By letting it go, it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.” 

This sounds counterintuitive to our modern hustle culture. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying give up or don’t work toward a goal. What I’m saying is that the journey toward the goal is the prize. Your personal growth is worth more than any goal you seek. As you work toward any worthwhile goal, you will become a completely different person.  

Many people who talk about success say striving for every goal you can hit is what everyone should do. Let’s look at the entire picture. If all you are doing is setting and achieving goals because you want more, isn’t that defeating the purpose of having more? If your motto is “I’ll rest when I’m dead” what good is achieving a goal if it does not satisfy you when you reach it or with who you are becoming as you move toward it?

One of my favorite stories is about a Central American fisherman who goes out every day and catches two or three fish, sells one or two and eats one or two and then spends the rest of his day with his friends. either mending their nets or helping others with what they’re doing. They’re just talking and sharing life. Of course, Along Comes an American stockbroker or someone who’s in the money making field. He sees what the fisherman is doing and as he talks to him; the executive lays out this extravagant plan of how the fisherman could start making money by catching more fish. If he uses better nets, gets a better boat, hires other people, and so on. In the end, the fisherman asks, “what will I do after I make all this money?” The guy says, well you’ll retire and then you can spend your day catching a few fish and then spending time with your friends. 

But isn’t that the way we are conditioned to think as Americans? Earn all you can so you can retire and live the good life. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, so why not live the good life now?

I fully believe we need goals. What I want us to do is think better about the goals we set and focus on becoming better, not just having more. Most goals that we set, the desired outcome, isn’t the outcome we put on paper. The desired outcome is happiness. If I just had this thing or that person, I would be happy. Which is why many of the people I coach have concluded that they want to be more instead of have more. 

Author Peter Russell wrote in his book, Letting Go of Nothing; “Will I feel better for it? Will I be happier, more content, more at ease? We may think we seek some external goal, but in truth we seek it hoping that, in one way or another, we will feel better inside. 

How do we get there? We’ve got to learn to trust the process. 

When we set a goal, we lay out a plan to reach the goal. The process is the plan. The process is the roadmap to get from point a to point b. Trusting the process isn’t about giving up, it’s about trusting that you have a plan in place to get you where you want to be. But, in order to trust the process, you have to look deeply at yourself and where you are going. And this is where the system can break. If we aren’t willing to follow the plan we have laid out for ourselves, why did we say at the beginning, this is what I want?

This is also a moment for growth. It allows us to step back and take a deeper look at who we are and what we really want before we pick back up and start again. Not reaching a goal isn’t failing, it’s always an opportunity for growth. 

Spending Energy

I’m publishing this the second week of January 2024 and I guarantee many people who listen to this have set goals for the new year that they have already dropped. I know that because that has been the truth since way before I started setting goals myself. 

We waste a lot of time chasing or even pretending to chase a brass ring that isn’t there. Take a minute and think about how many years have you or someone you know told everyone that this is their year? They are going to make it big, lose 50 pounds, go to the gym every day, etc… It wasn’t a poor plan, it was just the wrong plan for that time and the person who made it. Instead of spending time trying to be something we’re not in order to impress people we don’t know or even like, we can learn to be of service to the people around us either in our homes or in our work. We can do the job we have to the best of our abilities and we can leave that job for one that brings us fulfillment because we’re not focusing on working to make money. 

Again, don’t hear what I’m not saying. Goals are good to have. What I want us to do is take a breath and figure out what is really important to us before we try to be, do, or have things that won’t make us happy. 

In 1938 Harvard University started two different studies on human wellbeing. One focused on Harvard graduates and the other focused on lower income boys from Boston. (Links to the video about these studies is on the website.) They combined these studies and have studied around 3000 people. over 87 years what this study has shown is that good relationships play a bigger part in happiness than any other factor. Not what you own or the money you have. But, the people you have in your life. 

Now that we know this, if we set goals to get things that make us happy, in the end our major goals should be to find friends and form relationships with other happy, positive people. And when we do, we can let go of the outcome because in the end, we can’t truly make anything happen. If we can’t really make anything happen, we might as well enjoy life with good friends.

My whole coaching business is based on helping people find genuine success in life. If you’re ready to let go of the outcome, here are a few questions you can ask yourself.

Why am I setting this goal? What do I really want?

Am I judging my insides by someone else’s outside?

Does my job bring me fulfillment? If it does, what about it does? Can I do more of what brings me fulfillment?

If you are looking for more fulfilling relationships:

Who do I know I would like to get to know better?

What are the three qualities I would like in a friend? Do I have these qualities?

What three qualities do I absolutely not want in a friend?

Remember, be true to yourself and you will find people who will bring joy and happiness to your life. 

That’s all for this week. Thanks for listening. If you like what you hear, please remember to subscribe and share this with your friends and family. And if you don’t like it, share it with your enemies. 

If you want to stay up to date with all the happenings at Recapture Your Life coaching, you can sign-up on the website https://RecaptureYour.Life

We also offer complimentary coaching sessions. You can sign-up through the website.

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