What do you want out of life? What do you want your life to look like? What are your goals? If you want to make the most out of life, you need to not only know where you’re going, you need to choose the right path to get there. You need purposeful goals.
A Life of Purpose
Dale Carnegie called our innate desire for importance “one of the chief distinguishing differences between mankind and the animals”. Having a purpose and making a difference in the world is something all of us gravitate toward.
Having a clear idea of how we can make our mark in the world is the best way to accomplish it. It’s one thing to say “I’d like to go somewhere fun one day”, it’s another to plan a vacation, get the tickets, and book the hotel. Having a concrete plan and setting purposeful goals helps us achieve what we want in life.
A Broken Tool
Many people have used goals to achieve high levels of success. In fact, the success has been so great, the concepts have been shared again and again in books, conferences, speeches, videos, and more.
Unfortunately, we’ve focused so much on maximizing the potential of goals, we’ve completely forgotten the guardrails that make society thrive. In our drive to improve our individual success, we’ve lost our focus on community – the thread that makes it all work.
After all, we don’t have success in a vacuum. That social media icon who came up from nowhere relies on all the people that built the networks – both physical and social – that they use to grow their audience. They rely on the electronics manufacturers, social media companies, and tens of thousands of people who supported them.
Individual Success, Communal Devastation
As the world struggles with COVID-19, the US is seeing a huge disparity between the richest amongst us and the poorest. The rich got richer while record numbers of people lost their jobs. Justin Horwitz called it out.
In a similar vein, someone on Twitter called out Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, for not having a “Batman” moment and simply using a small amount of his wealth to fix some of these problems. Someone responded with a very insightful thread that basically boiled down to her first sentence: “If you’re the kind of person who would do that, you never become Bezos in the first place”.
It’s all the more reason we need purposeful goals.
A Richer World
Any success story you look at is built on a community of people that acted in order to make them successful, yet our goals often reflect not how we can positively impact our world, but ourselves. We have been focusing on individualistic goals, but what we need is goals that focus on our impact on our community.
We need to focus on maximizing our potential in a community-centered world. We need purposeful Goals. We need goals that focus not on simple metrics but on human-centered results We need to change our thinking from “how can I maximize my potential” to “how can I make the most meaningful impact in the world?”
After all, “what gets measured gets managed.” We need to set goals that measure meaningful impact rather than measuring our own vanity metrics. Here’s how we do that.
Creating Purposeful Goals
In order to focus on the things that make a difference in the world, we need to focus on goals that not only make us better, but make our world better.
If you want goals that make the world better instead of tear it down through blind self-centered action, incorporate these three things into your goals. If you need a primer, check out this post on creating goals.
- Goal Focus: There are different types of goals you may have. For instance you might have one about finances, one about health, one about hobbies, etc. Make sure you incorporate not only personal goals, but goals that impact others. Also, change your goals around to focus on others such as by focusing on quality and purpose.
- Focus on Quality: It’s one thing to have a goal of creating 2 pieces of furniture or selling 3 cars a week. It’s another to create 2 high-quality, long-lasting tables a week or helping 3 people find their perfect car. Focusing on quality changes a simple number into a quality item.
- Purpose: When you create goals, don’t stop with the goal. Instead of “I create 2 high-quality, long-lasting tables” make it “I create 2 high-quality, long-lasting tables to give families a place to break bread, laugh, and share their day together.” Then, as you do your work, you can smile as you picture families enjoying life together and growing closer because of your actions.
We can have a better world if we focus on our impact on others with purposeful goals and actions. Don’t stop at your part in the process of creation. Much like in the examples of building furniture or selling cars, focus on what your actions do to change the lives of others for the better. That’s how we build a strong community and a world worth living in.