The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Achieving goals

There is this strange sense of emptiness. The passion that fueled the progress disappeared.

It’s how a friend described his current situation.

After working for a few years to establish his business he had arrived at a point where he felt like having reached his goal. At the same time, he wasn’t sure what this meant. It was a situation between “and so what?” and “what’s next?”

There had not been any clear mark stating that he had reached his goal. The goal had been more of an implicit one. Nothing measurable, just a sense of accomplishment and feeling good about having established a business he felt proud of.

Defining goals is a tricky thing. We can define specific goals, we can make them measurable but as long as they remain items to check off the to-do list it is difficult to have a sense of satisfaction. The visceral goals are the ones which push us forward, which allow us to feel the passion and engage fully in the work.

Naming these goals takes emotional labor. They require to be honest with ourselves, to see how our desires and needs can push us towards goals which seem irrational or don’t align with the person we seek to be. Somewhere in the midst of rational goals, you’ll often find goals aiming to prove one’s worth, seeking to be appreciated, to be seen or to win against someone who didn’t treat us well. It can be challenging to accept them, when naming goals like “establishing world peace”, “helping others to develop their potential” or “transform the way conversations are dealt with” would sound so much better.

While the best moment to realize what our goal is will be when we set our goal, realizing what our goal was when we reached it, is still an excellent moment. It allows sensing the satisfaction to have reached the goal as well as to address the emptiness of not knowing where to go to next.

It’s a fantastic moment to become curious about your work again.


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