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Defining Goals Vs. Values


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You CANNOT Have It All

By Liza Sperling

I grew up believing that I could have it all. Did you? Did you also tell yourself that if you work hard enough you can be the modern Michelangelo? I know parents and role models who professed the lofty ideals meant well, but they were wrong. You CAN be the President of the United States, develop a cure for cancer, be the lead singer in a famous rock band, end world hunger, write a novel that changes people lives, win a Nobel Prize, design and patent skinny jeans that make all women feel skinny, win the Tour de France (after Lance Armstrong retires for good), break a Guiness World record, but you cannot do everything it all. It’s not about gender, race or systemic limitations, it’s simply the fact that we are are human beings, not superheroes.

As I see my peers setting and meeting impressive goals, blowing me away with their dedication, inspiration and intelligence, I am surprised to learn that these same people  feel incomplete, empty and wonder “What now?”.  My guess is that our parents and role models neglected to point out the following: 1) You cannot have it all; 2) Instead of focusing on setting and achieving goals, let’s first identify your values, and recognize that your goals are merely the tools we use to live a life we value.

For example, if one’s value is spirtuality, the goals are endless, education, studying, daily meditation or prayer with NO END to the process. The goals create a process to live a life we value, but no goal is in and of itself is meant to provide life long happiness. but each goal is a part of the process of living a life that he/she values.

Those who tell their children: you can have it all, are setting up their kids for disappointment.  Achievements demand focus, priorities and trade-offs.‘You young people are so lucky. You have so many choices.’ Yes, we have far more opportunities than the generations that came before us, but this blessing is a curse if we choose all of the above and beat ourselves up when we cannot achieve each of the 2,104 goals we set for ourselves.

before you pick any of these goals, you better be sure that you know your values and that the goals you choose are actions that fall beneath your core values.

Values Vs. Goals

Is this where we lost our way? Did we become focused on a list of goals without first figuring out what matters most, our values? Ask someone their goals, and most people will recite a long list off the top of their heads. Ask the same person to recite their values,typically you’ll hear the same values, the values we believe we should embrace. Most people can’t narrow down or prioritize the list, because we have never asked ourselves …..

igure out your values first. Not the warm fuzzy Oprah values that anyone can recite, but three or four values that are your core guiding principles. Then choose goals aligned with your values. We all know what happens when one pursues a goal, achieves it and says, now what?  I have done it myself.  I focused on the goal so intently that it never ocurred to me that it was not something I wanted, but something others suggested I should want.  Pick the goals that are uniquely yours, that are your means of and get after it. Figure out what makes you giddy with passion, while also frustrated as you struggle to when you cannot NOT what others think you should do.

Liza Sperling


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