I love goals. I write about and talk about them a lot.
One thing I’ve never included in the goal conversation, however, is the fact that I’ve learned to be flexible about my goals. Probably because I’ve only recently learned the value in maintaining that flexibility.
While I think it’s beneficial to really visualize what you want most in the world so that you can do everything you can to achieve it, I think it’s fair to recognize that you can’t force the world to bend to your every whim. You can create whatever reality you want, but it won’t always look exactly like what you expected.
I’ve got a thousand stories about this type of stuff. For example, I had created a goal for myself to essentially do more voiceover work. I didn’t know how I’d go about it. Within about two months after creating the goal, I found myself not only submitting my voiceover work to agents for critiquing weekly through VoiceRegistry.net, but also had landed my first animation gig on a short project. When I first pictured the goal, I saw myself standing in front of a mic with headphones on getting constant feedback from booth directors. And a little while later, that’s what I had.
It’s not exactly what I thought, but it was exactly what I asked for. So I enjoyed it, was grateful for the opportunities provided and went back to the drawing board to clarify the next thing I wanted.
I think a key to happiness is allowing yourself to see the good and not being blinded by only seeing one fixed outcome. So you want the love of your life to show up and sweep you off your feet? Awesome. That’ll likely happen. And it’ll likely come along with some conditions you didn’t see coming. So do you say, “Screw you, Universe! That’s not what I meant!” and throw away a perfectly wonderful opportunity. Or do you say, “Sweet. Let’s see what the heck happens in this…” and figure it out as you go along.
If you’re so obsessed with the outcome looking exactly like you expected, you’re setting yourself up for perpetual disappointment. Maybe the outcome you’re obsessed with isn’t what will actually serve you best. Maybe by missing out on that one opportunity, the universe is leaving you open and available to the life-changing one around the corner. But ending that relationship, it’s making room for the more amazing one that’s waiting behind the corner. By having you “fail” in one area, it’s lighting a fire under you that will fuel your motivation to do even more. And in that motivation, you end up creating three projects that will launch your career. Maybe by hitting that red light you don’t get side-swiped by the person who’s going to run the red two lights down from now.
I don’t know about you, but I know when I set a goal or have any specific outcome I desire, I allow myself to visualize it as best I can and let the universe fill in the rest. And as long as I’m listening to my gut and living in perpetual gratitude for the good and the bad shiz thrown my way, I think I’m doing alright. Or as they’d say in the hood, “aiiite.”