It’s not easy to achieve meaningful goals – goals for having an impact through the life you live and work you do. Seeing the fulfillment of change-making goals, sustainably, is something fewer can claim.
There are capacities required to achieving not just goals but in particular change-making goals, sustainably. Although circumstances might present opportunities, there are habits and capacities we will break down into steps that you must develop.
“We need you to roll up your sleeves. We need to get to work. Because remember this: When they go low, we go high.”
– Michelle Obama
Regardless of any circumstance, and especially in difficult circumstances, you will need discipline to get through, move forward, and hit your change-making goals.
You might hear advice that you are to follow your passion and do what you feel when you feel inspired. Getting to your big important goals in life is going to require real hard work – discipline. Discipline means doing what you need to even when you don’t feel like it.
“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”
– Marian Wright Edelman
Why most people don’t create meaningful change in their lives or in the lives of others that they say they desire to is lack of consistency. You need to be consistent through repeating the actions that are required to build capacity, knowledge and experience in line with what you want to effect.
You won’t see change by doing the right thing for one day or one week. Although this might seem self evident, in practice most people are not really getting this. You’ll start to see the changes months down the line if we are speaking of a meaningful goal, through consistency.
3. Expect Defeat
“Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”
– Wilma Rudolph
If you have a goal to create change in your life direction, your experience of love, your enterprise, your ability to give, the impact you have – change is going to be hard. To achieve something truly of significance is going to take work and it’s going to mean being challenged on big levels.
Expect family and friends to take the role of naysayers. Do not just focus on the strategies to move up. How will you deal with defeat is the bigger question. On the way to your change-making goal, expect defeat. You will need the capacities to adapt and be resilient, first, in order to win and keep winning, second.
“Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”
-Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)
You can only do so much at one time. Focus means not only strategizing, not just choosing your training, which readings you need for knowledge, and which practices to include in your day. Let’s move up a bit. From a helicopter view, focus means making hard decisions around what you’re willing to sacrifice in order to stay on task with what you want to have, do and influence before you leave this earth.
5. Choose your Values Carefully
The purpose of life is a life with purpose.
Are you happy with how well you’re influencing your life and work direction? If you don’t have clear values, you might be climbing the wrong ladder. Remember, achieving anything meaningful, sustainably, doesn’t happen randomly. The key to ensuring you’re living purposefully and impactfully is to understand that we all have values, and most of which we are unaware or unconscious.
The goal therefore is to become aware of which values are guiding our choices and behaviors every day, and which we really want to embrace in our lives and the work we do – so that we may live purposefully.
This decision and recognizing our value system has everything to do with whether or not you will achieve and influence positive change in your life and the lives of others. In fact, all I have said up to now will in actuality give you little tread without you having nailed your values first.
6. Learn Your Place in the System
“The impatient idealist says: ‘Give me a place to stand and I shall move the earth.’ But such a place does not exist. We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace.”
Everything of value to you and everything you design to create positive change in your world and for others requires not only a lot of learning but learning within its context.
If you have a niche or area of influence you’re targeting, you need to learn about that niche. If you want to know how to influence that niche, you need to learn systems. Everything is part of a larger system of influences and subject to natural or universal laws.
You need to understand how to intercept and work with these systems if you want to create change. You are a part of the system; you as a system need to evolve. You will need to learn, and learn about how to influence the system with its own pace and laws.
7. Align Your Passion to Your Goal
“There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.”
– Richard Branson
What is your ‘why’? Why do you want to create the change in your life and the world you are saying is important to? Stay with this one. The answers will help you uncover your values. In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, winner of four Grammy awards, and having sold 75 million records worldwide, Michael Bublé, discusses his five-year-old son Noah’s cancer diagnosis and what’s really important in life. Talking about his priorities in life, he says “Let’s just say we find out who we are with these things” (quoted in Thrive Global).
Feed your answers into your values to loop back here to your true why’s, your deepest needs, how your current values align or misalign with your highest values, and in your sphere of influence or the larger kosmos what embracing your why and your highest values might mean.
Battelle, Nora. How Michael Bublé’s Son’s Illness Made Him Rethink His Career and His Life. Thrive Global. Retrieved from: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/how-michael-buble-s-son-s-illness-made-him-rethink-his-career-and-his-life/