I’ve been allergic to goals most of my life. As soon as someone starts telling me I need to set goals, my system goes into defense mode and begins rejecting all efforts in that direction.
I’ve got lots of excuses: I’m self employed and my income is inherently unstable; I can’t plan if I don’t know what I’ll be earning; I’m in a person-to-person business, and there is no way for me to know what other people will do; I didn’t set goals in my previous business, and that was successful; and my personal favorite, No one I know has ended up where they thought they’d be in five years, so why bother?
A colleague of mine termed this kind of reaction an immune response. I appreciate the phrase, because that is exactly what it feels like. My whole body gets involved with fighting off the concept of goals.
At least, it did.
I’m tired of living on the edge. I’ve been out here ever since the health failure that closed by business in 2006. Granted, that business was hugely successful and I never wrote down a goal. It would have been easy to run my life that way again.
There were a few drawbacks, however. I really never knew where I was going (the freedom was a benefit at that time.) I had no retirement plan. Although I had the freedom to only balance my checkbook when the urge struck me (three or four times a year,) I never really knew where I stood.
I’m at a different place in my life now. I’m just over a year away from 50 and have no retirement plan in place. I feel a strong pull to move onto acreage in the country. I need a mechanically sound car. Most of all, I’m ready.
I’m ready to live a life of security and stability. I’m ready to know exactly what I owe, how much I have, and what I can do. I’m ready to face the physical realities of my life instead of running away or denying them. I’m ready to try something new, to continue on my path of learning and growth.
I think being ready is the strongest factor in setting and achieving goals.
Likewise, not being ready is the strongest factor in avoiding anything, goals or otherwise.
Becoming ready is not entirely about my age, though that efficiently serves as one alarm going off. There are many factors that contributed to getting me to this space. I’ve done a huge amount of personal growth during the last 5 ½ years of my Coaching practice. I have incredibly supportive people around me. And, I have a financial planner who has taken me under his wing.
He is the husband of one of my clients. He confronted me as I walked into their house a week ago. He wanted to know what I’m doing about my retirement. I was embarrassed, but I responded truthfully, “Nothing.”
Before I left their house, he handed me an article. “I want you to read this and give me your Magic Number when you come back next week.” Mind you, I don’t normally take well to this. However, I know he’s been doing well at financial planning for several decades, and they both care for me like family, so I took it as it was intended, with love. (link to article)
When I went back earlier this week, I had done my homework. My Magic Number was roughly $1 million. That looked like a pretty unattainable number.
I told him my number. He asked when I was born.
“Hooo boy!” he replied.
I was not encouraged by that.
“How much do you have to invest?” he asked. “Nothing,” was my reply. I told him that I often feel lucky to be able to pay my rent.
“You have to pay yourself first,” he counseled. This is not the first time I’ve heard that. I’ve always thought it was rather unreasonable, and had dismissed it as unattainable. Of course, that was my immune response talking.
I made the decision to look at it differently. After all, what I’ve been doing hasn’t worked out. A change of perspective and behavior seems to be in order.
As I was leaving their house, he handed me a slip of paper.
“You pay yourself first. Every day, take $20 and put it aside. At the end of the week, you’ll have $100. Write a letter to this company and send them a check for $100. Tell them that you want to purchase stock and to reinvest the dividends.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I didn’t think I could afford to do that. I also realized that it wasn’t fair to myself to not even try.
I live in a magical world. When I got home that evening, I found a check for $200 in my mailbox. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that check arrived exactly on time as a Divine confirmation that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
Yes, I am setting goals. Yes, I am working through my issues around paying myself first. Yes, I am leaning into my life.
I’d like to take you with me on this journey. It is said that we teach best what we are learning. I am putting together a webinar on Goal Setting for Goal Reactives. This will be a totally safe, non-judgmental, honoring environment where you can get at what is behind your own immune responses (this is the work I’m doing with my coaches) and defuse those mental and emotional landmines that keep you from moving forward with confidence. And, you won’t have to do it alone. You’ll get the synergy of working with a maximum of seven others who are exploring this path, too. Learning from other people’s experiences is so much easier and efficient than having to have every experience yourself!
Stay tuned. The ride is only beginning!