I’m about to share a secret with you.
Something you probably don’t know (or expect) about me:
Long-term goals scare me.
Yep. I’m a huge proponent of short-term goals. I wake up every morning reviewing my short term goals in my mind. I live and die by them. And I (mostly) rock my short-term goals.
Why I’m afraid of long-term goals
I know, I know. It’s crazy talk. How can any entrepreneur, blogger, freelancer, whatever be afraid of long-term goals?
Here’s why they scare me. I could use your help in getting over this, so please leave a comment and let me know what you do to use long-term goals as a motivator instead of a demotivator.
Fear 1: What if I don’t reach it?
Short term goals feel less life-altering…probably because they are. But since they’re smaller, more reachable goals, I stress about them less. After all, if I don’t quite reach the goal I’m shooting for, there’s always tomorrow’s short term goals.
But if I work hard for 10 years and then don’t reach my long-term goals, I’m worried I will feel like the last 10 years were a waste. So I work hard to reach my short-term goals and hide from the long-term ones.
Fear 2: What if I change my mind?
One of the things I enjoy most about life is the spontaneity. I like not knowing what’s coming. I like waking up one morning with a crazy business idea and spending the whole day running the scenario through my mind.
I like not knowing what’s coming for me in 5 years or 10 years.
Is that so bad?
Is it bad that I’m happy with life the way it is right now? That I don’t want to be constantly looking ahead to something I may or may not want once I get there?
You’ve heard this expression by Stephen Covey:
If [your] ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.
So, I choose to stay on the ground, examine what’s coming and throw a grappling hook when the time is right instead of climbing a ladder to a place I may not want to end up anyway.
Am I completely crazy?
Fear 3: Who will I disappoint with my long-term goals?
The other day someone asked me where I want to be in 5 years. What they wanted me to say was something like “I want to be making (insert desired income here) and be a (place ideal title here).”
What I wanted to say was “I want my family to be happy. I want to be happy at work. And I want to work less and focus on what really matters in life.”
But of course, no one ever pats you on the back in the business world for wanting to stay on the corporate rung you’re already on.
No one smiles and says, “I’m glad to see you don’t want to climb the ladder over the next five years.”
They ask you questions like “Where do you want to be in five years” and expect you to want to work more hours, bring home a bigger paycheck, spend more time away from your family, go into more debt to buy things you can’t afford and lay awake at night wondering how you’re going to manage it all.
All under the guise of “setting long-term goals.”
Have I gone off the deep end?
Well, what do you think? Have I gone off the deep end? Have I completely lost it? Should I be actively setting more long-term goals?
Comment here. And, as always, thanks for your help.