I consider myself a “goal-setter” and a “goal-getter” but up until last year, I noticed I was achieving goals that in a way felt almost like little items on a “to-do” list. In other words, it didn’t take much to get these goals accomplished and as a result I would simply check them off my list with no effort. It wasn’t until I really sat down with myself to get to the core of what my “big-time” goals were that I realized I had been hiding behind my “little goals.” I was hiding behind these little goals because they were easy to achieve. But, I had a big dream and this dream consisted of living and working in Spain. And, I had this dream for 18 years! While I talked about this goal to everybody for years, I simply was not achieving this goal. And why not? When I put pen to paper in an effort to discover that answer, it dawned on me that I was scared and that this goal meant a lot to me; I did not want anything or anybody to ruin it, including me! My goal of living in Spain was the type of goal that would “stretch” me so to speak; the kind that would take me out of my comfort zone. I knew achieving this dream meant it would stay with me for a lifetime. In other words, I did not want to mess this one up! But, I also realized I could no longer go on talking about the extreme significance of this goal without really making a concentrated effort to go after it.
For years I had researched the joys of living and working in Spain, found various programs to help make this dream a reality, and even filled out several applications to these programs but never mailed them in. I had begun the goal-setting but never really went after the goal-getting process. Once I noticed that the goal-getting was what was holding me back from opening up a whole new world of endless possibilities, I decided after 18 years to turn this goal-setting into goal getting Spanish radio stations.
So, what do I mean by goal-setting versus goal-getting?
Goal-setting is all the talk, research, and information behind the goal. It may even mean you share these goals with others. However, goal-getting is where the real action is! Goal-getting is being extremely concrete with action steps and an action plan. Even if you have no idea how or when you may be able to put your dream into motion, you still take some forward movement in an effort to see this goal through. So that may mean that you put dates on a calendar (even if they are fictional dates) that pertain to your action steps. It may mean you visualize this goal nightly or journal how you would like this goal ideally to play out. Personally, I believe visualizing is very important because it not only allows you to “see” the goal but it allows you to “feel” it. This feeling part of goal-getting is crucial because it makes the goal very real; it no longer seems like just an idea, it is a bit more tangible. So, I encourage just five minutes of visualization a day to bring your goal your way!
When I decided I could no longer stand listening to myself talk about living and working in Spain and that I was finally going to get this goal, I hired a coach (even coaches need coaches!) to help me create a plan of action. I also told all of my co-workers (even my supervisors), as well as my family and friends that I needed their support and accountability to help me see this goal through. Nightly, I would relax in my bed, close my eyes, and visualize myself listening to flamenco guitars, drinking Sangria, and speaking Spanish daily with the native Spaniards. Before I knew it, I was taking steps to get to Spain without it even feeling as though I was working toward the goal! It all just started to unfold as I was saving money monthly, writing my letter of resignation, hiring a property manager to rent out my home and interviewing potential tenants. Just 16 short months later, I found myself working at a radio station in Castuera, Spain. And from here, I think you know how the rest of the story goes: I was sipping Sangria, watching flamenco dancers stomp their way into my hearts, and speaking with the natives daily in their mother-tongue.
Alrighty, here is the big test: take out a piece of paper, write out all of your goals and evaluate where you stand with them. Are they goals that are taking lift-off or are they going to just continue to sit on this piece of paper? Stop for a moment and ask, “How important is this goal to me? Do I feel it in my gut? Does it make my heart race? Am I feeling excited at the thought of achieving it?” You may feel a bit nervous or anxious thinking about these goals and I say that is okay because anxiety is usually a sign that you love this idea or goal. It is a physical manifestation of your attachment to this dream.
Now, take two minutes to see yourself living out this goal. Notice where you are, who is with you, what everything looks like, and how much fun you are having. Live this out in your mind’s eye for a moment. Really feel the energy behind this goal. Take it all in and live it out in your visualization.
Finally, grab that calendar and pencil-in some dates with action steps you are willing to take in an effort to further this goal. It may simply be that on the 21st of October you are going to get on the Internet and research trips to Italy or that you are going to talk to that friend that ran the same marathon you wish to run. Whatever the action may be, it is a step in the right direction.
My intention with this article is to help you gauge whether you are “walking your talk” or if you are just putting goals on a “to-do” list but aren’t really putting the effort in to go after what matters most to you in your lifetime. Check-in with yourself and ask, “Am I hiding behind my little goals and as a result am not achieving my big goals?” If you answered “yes,” you now have way to get started on those big dreams.
With just a bit of elbow-grease, trust, and dedication, you can achieve those big goals in no time. Ready, set…GO and GET!