Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Setting Goals

Answer: Lower your standards.  Question:  How can anyone hope to achieve all their goals in life?

Over the years Mrs. Linklater has had any number of goals she wanted to achieve. Usually they were all about surpassing other people. Not necessarily about making herself a better person. 

She always relished the competition.  The youngest this, the first that, the only this, the most that, the best this, the biggest that.

Fifteen years ago, she was making a salary in the high five figures and she wanted to pass six.  When she passed six she wanted a huge title.  When she got the title, she wanted the power. 

By the end of that year, she looked back and should have felt great. But she didn't.

Financially it had been the best year of her career. She'd earned the most money she'd ever made. 

With a bonus, too, for helping to save a $200 million dollar account. She also earned a very nice title that had the cards and stationery to match.

Other than that, the job sucked.  There were political games she wouldn't play. People who worked for her she couldn't fire.

Then she got fired. And life got better.

She was her own boss. She could hire the people she needed when she wanted.  She was able to make almost as much money as before.  

But she didn't need so much anymore -- no commuting and much less travel.  She could keep her own hours.  Dress in t-shirts and flip flops, except for meetings. Go to all her younger daughter's high school soccer and basketball games. 

And use all her skills, not just one or two of them.

She began to see that her traditional goals of money, success and power were limiting. They had no relevance to her. Although they were handy for impressing other people. 

For her, the financial rewards needed to be balanced with emotional rewards.  She needed a feeling of personal satisfaction that would be there with or without huge sums of money.  

"Whoever dies with the most toys wins" was her old philosophy.  She changed it to "We're all going to die -- so be happy."

Which brings her to today and her new way of setting goals. She doesn't need to achieve the kind of goals that Donald Trump would love.  She's already been to her professional mountaintop. And the view wasn't so hot.

She now prefers to achieve the smaller, more personal goals she can count on reaching each day. One at a time.

Getting the garbage out to the curb before the truck goes by. Washing yesterday's dishes yesterday. Mailing the letter that's sitting by the front door. 

Taking the panel off the computer by herself. Taking out the old and installing a new video card. Calling Aunt Genie. Sending love to her daughters.

Setting goals that have meaning for her world, not someone else's.

Which brings Mrs. Linklater to the goal she kept firmly in her sight this morning when she went to the dentist's office. 

This was a goal she didn't realize was so important to her until she was faced with not achieving it today.

Last week she had a back molar capped.  Part of the very back upper tooth on the left side had cracked off [pistachio shell] and there was was some deep decay. Uh-oh.

Then, yesterday, Mrs. Linklater felt pain in the new capped tooth.  Now she was worried about having to have a root canal. She had never had a root canal.  

By her age, most people have had at least one. But not Mrs. Linklater. If there was one thing she wanted to avoid forever, it was having a root canal. Some people don't want children. She didn't want a root canal.

So this morning she went to the dentist to see if her goal of avoiding a root canal was still possible. 

After the x-ray, she waited and chatted with her dentist and his partner. How bout them Cubs? You guys playing much golf?  What are the kids doing this summer?

Then, the news -- tooth looks okay. Maybe it's just riding high.  Maybe you just got some food caught in the gum. Let's not worry about it.

Mrs. Linklater was very happy. So happy, she wanted to shout like the announcer who does the World Cup soccer broadcasts when a player scores -- GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!!!!!!

Luckily for everyone, she didn't.



lwhitewave said...

Oh, good score!  I'm terrified of root canals, myself.  
Congratulations on achieving a root canal-less day!

quroboros said...

Wow, sounds like you've run the career gauntlet & speak from a lot of experience.  BTDT myself, but as my goals weren't ever $$-oriented and in my chosen fields (nursing, writing, horse-training) you don't make boat loads of money anyway & I knew that early on.  I went thru the dissatisfying jobs bit; the abusive bosses and life-sapping schedule of hours.  Sure, I made more money, but all for naught.  I wasn't happy until I ditched it all and became self-employed.  ¤Holly

lamove04 said...

Mrs. L. is my kind of woman... glad you left the Rat and Ms. Rat race. Thank you for all the sweet comments in my journal!!!  --Albert