One of the most important things I have learned through my adult life is how to plan for, and attain, goals in my life. My company takes a great deal of interest in its employees as human beings. This is demonstrated by all of the workshops that we can attend throughout the year. Most of them are business-focused, but the lessons can easily apply to everyday life.
The first thing about creating a goal is to make certain it is what you really want, and not something that another person expects of you. Your own self-interest will either help you to achieve a goal, or sabotage that goal. If you can easily and honestly answer the “Who, What, Why, Where, When, and How” questions you are on the right track.
The next thing is to realize that a large goal doesn’t make it more difficult, but you have to manage a large goal differently. Large goals must be broken into smaller goals that are prioritized. Each of these smaller goals is more achievable and represents a stepping stone towards the overall goal. Working towards and accomplishing each small goal gets you closer to your overall objective.
Timelines are important to keep your focus on the goal. Failure to allocate time to work on your goal will lead to the abandonment of that goal altogether. One way to avoid this trap is to make a game of working towards the overall goal, or towards one of the smaller goals. This approach helps keep the motivational juices flowing.
Finally, don’t let not achieving a goal the first time keep you from pursuing it again. We all learn from failures more than from successes.
Every year on this date, I take some time to write a letter to Mom. She would have been 95 years young today, just two days before her birthday, but sadly she passed away 19 years ago. She is still a part of me because the memory of her lives on.
Mom would be proud of me and how I am doing, but that is because she always was proud of me. She and Dad raised me to be self-sufficient, and to be kind to others. Those lessons have served me well throughout my life. Mom always taught me to look ahead, and not back. “What is past, is past” was what her and Dad always told me whenever I wanted to linger on a mistake I had made. Learn from your mistake and move on was the motto I got from Mom.
I remember Mom as a room mother in elementary school, helping out with holiday parties and such. One of her proudest accomplishments was being the first white woman to have ever hugged some of my African-American classmates around 1970. As children, we didn’t realize the importance of that until much later. I was always proud to be her son, but never more so than those days.
Mom and Dad considered themselves to be special and unique. That belief was passed down to me. It isn’t arrogance, it is an appreciation of who we all are as individuals, and the belief that to force conformity onto anyone is just wrong. If you have a good moral compass, you don’t need to be a cog in any great machine that people try to force you into.
I miss Mom. But I know that she lived her life as she wanted. She instilled her love of life and her kindness to me. There will never be anyone else like her, but that is exactly what makes her so special and worthy of remembering on her 95th birthday.