Remember family car trips when you were young? How many times did you ask “Are we there yet?” And if you are a parent, didn’t you hear it too? I sure did, and it drove me nuts!
This familiar inquiry presents an interesting and challenging dilemma. On the one hand, the most successful people set goals for themselves—often pretty aggressive ones. I still chuckle when I hear the acronym “BHAG”—Big Hairy Audacious Goal. When I set specific goals for myself, I tend to be more motivated, more productive, and more successful. It feels great when I get “there” and mark off that big to-do item.
On the other hand, what is our ultimate destination? We never stop learning, never stop setting out new challenges, and never stop being curious. If we do, we’re probably dead. So what is the point?
I think the truth is that setting goals along the way allows us to create a legacy that becomes the destination we can be proud of. Just wandering around without these way points limits the impact of our life.
An essential step in professional coaching is to help clients create and clarify their goals. A powerful and effective model for establishing goals comes from Neuro-Linguistic Programming(NLP). It’s called “well-formed outcomes.” In a nutshell, when goals meet the following criteria, we are more likely to achieve them.
- Stated in the positive
- Testable with clear sensory-based evidence
- In our control
- Ecological; preserves the positive by-products of the current situation
Ultimately, though, the paradox for me is the pure joy in the journey. In asking of the question “are we there yet,” we take the final destination for granted. And yet, isn’t life all about exploring and celebrating the journey all along the way?
Are We There Yet? - Click here to download PDF