The Yin and Yang of Setting Risky Goals

apple blossoms

I would have never experienced that moment above, if I had never learned how to set risky goals for myself and my family. Most people I know don’t set risky goals out of fear, but that fear leads us to accept a life that’s just “okay”.

Do you know someone like this:

  • They are working a job that’s “okay”. It pays the bills, and they are pretty good at it. but it doesn’t inspire them. They need a minimum of two coffees to get going in the morning, and Friday afternoons are far more exciting than Monday. They haven’t had a promotion in years, and are doing work that they are good at but it isn’t challenging any more. They want a change, they want things to be different, but they then shut themselves down with “but I shouldn’t complain because I have it better than so many other people.”
  • They have a partnership/marriage that’s “okay”. There’s occasional passion, and occasional enjoyment, but it’s been on cruse control for most of the last 5-10 years. They seem to have the same fights, they have the same struggles, but they also know that things are better than what many others have.
  • They are in “okay” physical shape. They aren’t over-weight, but their health isn’t what they want it to be. There’ s too much reliance on coffee and chocolate, or some other treats that are more comfort food than sustenance. They don’t exercise as much as they want to. They spend far more time in a chair than they are comfortable to admit.
  • They are in “okay” mental shape. They aren’t dealing with depression, but they don’t feel great about things. There’s lots they don’t say to others, but you can see in their eyes that they are tired, worn down, and are losing their spark. Where they once connected with friends, they spend a lot of time in front of the computer. And, where they once spent time doing things they loved, they now spend watching television.
  • They complain, but they don’t want ideas to make things better. They are frustrated, but they bottle it up, only to be let out with close friends when they’ve had a few drinks. They want more, different, better, but they are scared to acknowledge it, because it risks too much. What if they start advocating for themselves at work, and get laid off? What if they start changing as an individual, and fall out of love with their lover? They don’t feel they have time to commit to self-care (working out, meditating, or some other way to help their physical and mental health), because it’s going to take time away that they spend at work or with their lover–and they are worried about the consequences of choosing to take care of themselves.

Even if they decided to step into the fear, to try and grow into their work, relationships or who they want to become, they don’t know how to make it happen. There are so many conflicting sources of advice on everything, that they don’t know who to trust, what to try, or how to achieve their goals. They want to feel energetic about life, as excited to wake up on a Monday as they are a Saturday. They want to feel like they are growing, evolving, and making a different through their work and relationships. They want to lean into loving their partner. They want to feel free, powerful, and passionate about life. And the biggest thing that’s stopping them is that they are scared changes will bring risks. They don’t want to risk anything that matters so much like their job, or their relationships.

I’ve been there. Five years ago, that was me – I was uninspired by my job but too scared to do anything for myself to grow, out of fear of being laid off. I then came home exhausted from forcing myself to put up with work, leaving little energy to support my wife and new daughter. I loved my wife, but with the challenge of having a child in the house, we didn’t have much energy for each other. Then, I felt physically and mentally exhausted from all of the demands that were on me from work and my family so I put off all of the things that I knew would help me feel better. The biggest struggle was that I wanted things to be better but I wasn’t sure if it was possible. I dreamed that I could live a life where I felt empowered, energized, and could do something great with my creativity. Instead, I was barely surviving, skimming the surface of my potential. To make the shift, I knew I had to take risks, but I was scared to risk anything because I believed I could lose those that mattered most to me.

Everything changed when I started to take wise risks, and set goals for myself that I didn’t know if I could achieve. At first, I tried to become an entrepreneur and start a photography business. That failed, but opened many opportunities and experiences for me. Next, I committed to running an endurance race, when I had always been convinced I wasn’t athletic enough to run–and finished well. Then, I took a risk on committing to my own personal growth through my job – and discovered that I was able to craft a career that I was excited by. Then, after that, my wife and I decided to try and buy an Apple Orchard. It took two and a half years, but we are finally closing the deal. That picture up above, I took that a few days ago in the beautiful morning light, in awe of what my wife and I were able to achieve together through wise risks.

What I learned along the way was that goal setting is critical to moving myself forward out of a rut. I learned I could take wise risks, and I learned the difference between a bad risk and a wise risk. The goals I set mattered somewhat, but how I set the goals was even more important. By working through my goals and taking risks, I tried things, failed, learned and grew, changed courses, and pushed myself much farther than I could have ever imagined. I have learned how to accept my own limitations, weaknesses and faults, and then I’ve learned how to work through them to achieve even greater things. I experienced the risks, and in some cases I even experienced the worst case of the risks – and have found out that often we are far more scared of what might happen than what will likely happen.

Risky goal setting needs a difficult balance to be set between a desired outcome, and a freedom from the outcome. If you hold too hard onto the desired outcome, if it is too “important”, you put your mind into a state where you loose your creative edge. Yet, with no thoughts on a desired outcome, you will never challenge yourself to grow beyond your current knowledge, limits and capabilities.

I’ve created a short presentation on The Yin and Yang of Goal Setting. On Thursday June 2nd, at 12PM EDT, I’m going to share with you how to set risky goals for your own life, goals in areas that matter a lot. Whether these are growth goals for your job, for your relationships or your own physical and mental health. I will share with you a process that I have created based on my own experience, along with guidance from entrepreneurs and coaches such as Simon Sinek, Leo Baubata, Todd Herman and Tony Robbins.

As a bonus for people who can attend, I will be offering a free 30-minute coaching session on this topic for you (which I will give you the details of during the call).

Are you okay with okay for the rest of your life? Or, are you ready to dig in, and commit to taking the small steps today that will lead you to a life you are passionate about?  The call will be on Thursday June 2nd, at 12PM EDT. If you want to attend, click here to sign up for my mailing list, and you will receive a link on Tuesday with all of the call-in details, along with a work sheet for the material. Stay for 30 minutes to get the ideas, and for those who can stick around for an hour we will go through this in more detail together so that everyone will walk away with a meaningful goal set for themselves.

What areas of your life have you wished to set goals, but have been too afraid to? What would be different if you knew you could lean it, take wise risks, and grow in areas that matter deeply to you?

Sign up here, and start the process to make that a reality.

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