Yesterday we talked about figuring out what you want to change about yourself. Today let’s focus on where you want to go.
I’m not assuming that where you are currently isn’t where you want to be, but I will assume it’s not where you want to stay. I’m not advocating feeling dissatisfied, discontented or unhappy with your current position. You may be those things – and that’s okay if you’re not close to your ideal, but it’s not going to be profitable to dwell on it without taking action. So the bottom line for today is the goal of figuring this out so you can do something about it.
What do you want to be known for?
That’s the deal. It’s the culmination of figuring out where you want to go.
When people think of you, what do you most want them to think?
These get to the heart of what’s important to you.
A person who wants to be known for something behaves in ways congruent with BEING that. And it doesn’t matter what IT is.
When I was in college I remember reading quite a lot about writing and writers. Somewhere along the way I read something profoundly simple, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it spoke to any activity. It was a two-word sentence (and I’d happily give attribution to whoever wrote it, but it was far too long ago to remember)…
I thought about that for a long, long time. I still think about it because it’s ridiculously accurate.
Writers write. It’s what they do. It’s what they’re known for. It’s what people think of when they think of them.
I’m not saying it’s all-encompassing and that people don’t think of anything else about them, but it’s likely the primary thing.
Now apply that sentence structure to where you most want to go – the thing you most want to accomplish. Start by going macro, big picture. Drill down to the micro and go as deep as you’d like, the details.
What do you do? Mostly?
You’ll quickly discover that this is largely about your identity. It begins with how you see yourself. From there, it morphs into how others see you. That’s a big part of figuring out where you want to go…coming to terms with how you most want to see yourself.
All week there’s been this underlying focus on a very important element of self-awareness and your personal growth. It’s your self-respect. Being comfortable in your skin because you like who you’ve become. You agree and approve of what you’re trying to become. Sure, you know it’s a journey but so far, so good. You’re pleased with the direction and the progress. Mostly.
Or you’re not.
In either case, you can do better. We all can.
It’s about feeling good about the effort. Last week I talked about why happiness may not the very best goal because it’s a moment we’re chasing. Joy may be a better representation of what we want because that’s long-lasting.
Let’s focus on the effort of figuring out where we want to go because it’s active, not passive. We have to do something other than merely thinking about it.
So once again, what do you DO?
What do you most want to do?
If those are different, why? Are you sure you know where you want to go? Are you sure it’s where YOU want to go and not where somebody else wants you to go?
When I was a kid there was a TV show on called, “This Is Your Life.” Here’s an episode featuring Betty White, the actress.
The host of the TV show would surprise the celebrity and walk them into the studio where the show was produced. Along the way, he’d tell their story and surprise them with people from their past and present. It was considered a big honor and most shows were filled with emotions.
This is your life.
Nobody else will account for YOUR life. You answer for it. Just you.
We’ve already stressed the importance of accepting responsibility for your own choices, decisions, behavior, and actions. So this is on YOU. May as well make the most of it. May as well accept it as fact…because it is fact.
When people think of YOU and who you are, they’re thinking of YOU. They may associate you with others, but you are you. So, like we said yesterday, let’s own it all. Every bit of it.
Where are you right now? It’s perfectly fine – likely beneficial – for us to examine how far we’ve come. You’ve learned some things. You now understand some things. You’ve grown. Take some time to reflect and give yourself credit.
Give thanks. Be grateful for where you are. Count your blessings.
Where do you want to go from here? This is the heart of figuring out where you want to go. Sure, it’s partly an ideal you may be chasing long-term, but it’s largely some things you’re unhappy with about yourself. Don’t go too many days in a row not liking yourself (there’s that self-respect again). Start being more true to who you most want to be by defining your direction more precisely.
I call you up to come get me. I text you the address where I’m at, “2024 Easy Street.” You could go to 2024 Easy Lane and I won’t be there. You could go to 2025 Easy Street and still not find me. Close isn’t on target. It’s not precise enough to get the job done so stop being too general in figuring out where you want to go.
Think. Then do.
Put in the work that your ideal self would put on. When I was young I wanted to write. So guess what I did? Yep, I started writing. A lot.
Don’t wait until you think you’ve reached the destination. That’s not how you’ll find me at 2024 Easy Street. You’ll have to get in your car and drive there. You can’t instantly teleport yourself there…you have to take the actions necessary to take you there. Ditto for figuring out where you want to go.
Lean in hard to the verb, GO. And do it.
Be well. Do good. Grow great!