It has frequently been observed that if we do not steer our lives we are unlikely to arrive at our intended destinations. At the same time, the unpredictable nature of life makes absolute control impossible and would, in any case, crowd out the role of fortuitous chance. Effective goal setting has been studied intensively by psychologists and involves a waltz between careful planning and responding to the moves of the world.
In this talk we describe the process of identifying one’s life goals, while building in the flexibility to incorporate opportunities as they arise. We use guiding questions, brainstorming, and participants’ personal experiences to identify core aims in 9 primary areas of life:
- Learning & Skills.
Talks for specific audiences can also focus on one or more of these areas in particular.Sparkplug questions include:
- What would you be doing if you took your life seriously?
- If there were no applause and no criticism, who would you be?
- Where would you like to be, five years from today?
- How would you like to be remembered?
Some talks focus on creating a vision for the future. Others emphasize the steps to get there. Sometimes dual presentations are given, in which part one involves creating a vision and part two is on effective goal setting.
In the goal-setting portions or versions of the presentation, participants learn the principles of effective goal setting and apply them in their own lives. We define the difference between Ultimate and Immediate goals, and provide a series of rules for the latter. We discuss how to turn problems into goals, and how to convert goals to realistic plans.
Participants identify at least some of their own life goals and work from these grand visions down to the level of achievable and measurable actions they can take to get started on the path. We discuss the feeling of being overwhelmed, and how this common emotion can be harnessed to guide our goal setting. We also identify the traps involved in both succeeding and failing to carry out our Immediate Goals.Along the way, we repeatedly bring in the idea of “giving up” on achieving absolute control over our lives, and the idea of enhancing goal setting by a judicious letting go:
- of the idea that we will achieve our Ultimate Goals quickly,
- of the idea that our current vision for our life will remain static,
- of the need to complete every goal, of the notion that we must delay happiness until we have achieved a certain amount,
- of the idea of trying our hardest or working to 100% of our capacity,
and of unproductive forms of hope.
Participants leave with a clearer vision of their goals and the path toward them, plus tools for self-correcting when problems appear.
Formats: Available in 60-, 90-, and 120-minute versions, dual-presentations, as well as half-day and full-day workshops. Shorter versions generally focus on specific issues - either defining visions or working on goals. Longer versions can give deeper understanding of these topics. These presentations work best with visuals, so there is normally a screen with presenter’s laptop and host’s (or presenter’s) projector. Longer talks are best offered in a large space with breakout areas. Depending on length and form of presentation, participants can receive a handout package of exercises and slide printouts.