I describe myself as a poor but enthusiastic golfer. There is nothing that I like more than wandering around a paddock in the sunshine attempting to hit a small, defenceless white ball with a tool that is ill-equipped for the purpose. Like most golfers, a goal of mine is to lower my handicap sufficiently to play off single figures. The fundamentals of my game are reasonably solid and I have a pretty good idea that if I wanted it badly enough I would be able to significantly reduce my handicap simply by additional practice. Clearly, I do not want it badly enough – I’ve been stuck in the mid-teens for years.
In similar fashion, I would like to weigh 85kg again, but those who know me will agree that this is unlikely. I would like to lose some weight, but I also like the Red Wine AND the cheese – problem!
In my work as a financial adviser, one of the first things I ask a new client is “What do you want to achieve?” Lots of people come to see me with only vague ideas about this. They often feel a little bit uneasy, worried that they are not getting what they want from their money, but when I ask them what exactly it is that they want, they are very often unable to tell me. Sometimes this question is greeted with a blank look. At other times the client will give me a list of things, which at first glance look easily achievable, so easy in fact, that I am at a loss to decipher why they haven’t been achieved already. This is true of young tradespeople or 20 year business veterans. Very often people find themselves so bound up in doing the doing that they haven’t really taken time to work out what it’s all for. In my experience, it is lack of goals that leads to that feeling of drifting, to lack of direction and focus, to the unease that I referred to earlier.
One of my favourite expressions is “A Goal without a plan is just a wish”, but what do you do with someone who doesn’t even have a goal? I would argue that everyone does, it is just that they have trouble articulating it, and some of my best work has been done helping people with this.
There is also the matter of peer expectation, Surely everyone wants to own a house don’t they? Or would love an overseas trip? Or want to spend more time with their family? Or would like to work less hours? It is important not to impose our own views on other people, and get them to tell us what they want (what they really, really want, – why did the Spice Girls pop into my head there? Oh Dear). When working towards a goal it is important that the goal is our own and not someone else’s.
And so, dear client, what do you want badly enough that you will do the things you need to do to achieve the outcome you desire? I can help you identify the steps and get them done once we have worked out the goal, but until then……
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