Every day we set goals and create courses for ourselves, often automatically and unconsciously. Much of this goal setting and course designing has to do with relatively mundane issues. We pick up the phone and speak with a friend, making plans to meet later for coffee. Goal. We pick the coffee shop and in so doing establish the first element of course design. We think about where we’ll be prior to that coffee meeting and contrast destination to location. Course.
For most of our young lives we’ve been following courses designed by ourselves and others. There was a course for our education through elementary school. The curriculum was predesigned. The levels were established along with standards of measurement. The same continued through high school and into university or college. But then?
The vast majority of people have followed a pre-designed course for their education but when they leave school no such course exists for their careers. There is no course. No levels. No standards of measurement. No pre-established targets. As a result, we meander through our working life, doing the “job” but not managing the career.
One way to be more successful is to pre-design the course you want to take. Know, in advance, where you want to go and contrast that with where you are now. This process establishes what Robert Fritz calls ‘structural tension’, a force which can then be used to propel us toward our desired end results. It’s the same tension that drives you when you have an appointment, and if you’re late that tension becomes even greater. Instead of unconsciously setting targets and contrasting those goals with where we are currently, we can do so deliberately.
In working on my book ’18 Holes To Your Goals’ I noticed that all golfers successfully make it around the course, time and again, repeatedly, because the course has been predesigned for them. This course is broken down into a series of smaller, manageable goals that are easy to see. Golfers always know where they are in relation to their next target and take action accordingly. Such a model can work well in designing your desired career path.
However, many people have a real aversion to setting goals and targets. So in my next Blog Post we’ll talk about why that might be the case.