Goals. We can all agree that goal setting is a good thing. They are however, not the best thing to hold onto once we achieve them. Sure, there’s a grace period to celebrate our accomplishments. Once settled again though, a new realization dawns on us. “Dammit! That was a success!” Now what? What’s next?
Failure is an achievement with the an undesirable result. However, what’s keeps us driven is getting back at it until we achieve the desired result. Once that happens, we’ve often expended a lot of energy and are drained. Furthermore, we are sometimes so drained from pushing towards the goal that we didn’t even see the progress we were making until we were well beyond the finish line.
Goals can be like watching the grass grow. We need the distance to gain perspective. It’s almost like we need to have parallel lives going: one to do the work, and one to watch from afar to monitor our progress, so we can appreciate the journey to see the growth within the goals we set in real-time. There are methods of reflection that allow us to do so, and to each their own. The point is that achieving a goal should create a balanced feeling of pride and fear. Pride for what we did, and fear for either, “how do we now maintain what we’ve achieved” or “where do we go from here?” That fear, however, will be more appropriately used if we look at it as excitement for the unknown opposed to fear of the unknown.
If we feel drained on the daily, it’s likely not the work that’s draining us, it’s our approach to the work that’s exhausting. We’re failing at how we’re looking at the problem. Because, as Einstein said, “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” So when we succeed, we’ve succeeded at thinking/doing on a new level. Levels are often battles fought uphill, and in life they can be infinite. There’s good work to be done, and there’s always a demand for it. We shouldn’t fool ourselves in thinking that the demand for doing good work is an external expectation. We should demand from ourselves to put out the best work we can, and continue to build on our successes with excitement for the maintenance and/or the new.