Why I’m Writing this
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” —Andrew Carnegie
Sometimes we forget our “Why.” Finding our “Why” is important, especially when faced with burnout and lack of motivation. Many of you have probably heard of Simon Sinek’s popular speech, “Find Your Why.” In his speech, he explains why your “Why” is the one constant that will guide you toward fulfillment in your life and work. In Japan, there is another similar term called, “Ikigai” which means “a reason for being happy,” which I will touch upon later.
In this article, I want to help remind you why you are doing your work. Throughout this blog, I have given you actionable tasks that you can use to revitalize and remember your purpose. Towards the end, I have provided a worksheet that you can use to help set your goals and intentions.
So many of us forget our “Why” or Ikagai as we continue on with our daily lives and I want to remind everyone that with a little vision, you can realize your purpose.
Sometimes I Forget
“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so…. get on your way!”– Dr Seuss
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, there is a chance you’ve hit burnout more than once. Burnout for me is when things start feeling stagnant. I overwork myself, but it feels like things aren’t getting done. In the end, my mind is scattered, stressed, and ultimately I start feeling depressed and unmotivated.
I had reached burnout on August 1st, 2020. I laid in my bed and scrolled Facebook for hours ultimately trying to stop myself from having any REAL thoughts that would only cause me to stress out. My parents were driving up to Wyoming and I decided to take a few days off to see them. A vacation seemed acceptable if it was for family.
On the way to Wyoming, I had picked up some spiritual items that I felt were necessary. My family and I were going backpacking to a lake my family deemed “hidden lake,” which was given that name, because it was a hike up into Medicine Bow Peak, and was not on any map.
The second day we were there, I decided to take a hatchet, the book “Lincoln on Leadership”, a hammock, my phone, and my spiritual item into the middle of the forest. There was a mountain with big, flat rocks my family used as a marker to determine our location. Making sure I had that mountain in view, I hiked for a bit until I came to two strong looking trees that could hold my hammock.
After an hour passed, I started to feel uneasy. We had seen a wolf hiking up to our camping spot and I felt bare being alone with only my hatchet. I tried reading my book in my hammock, but I felt like sitting prey. All I could think about were the bears, mountain lions, and wolves that lived in the forest.
I became slightly introspective on the feeling of security. I felt slightly secure knowing that I had a hatchet and that my phone had a bit of service. On that thought, I figured I would pack up my stuff and head closer to my family by the lake. As I started walking that way, I noticed how beautiful the woods were. It almost seemed too perfect, like it was painted by the gods. Instead of heading back to my family, I looked up at the mountain that we used to dictate which direction to head.
I decided to head to the mountain. I had a clear goal. A goal that was attainable, timely and I could see. As I headed that way, I walked through a meadow of sunflowers. I was no longer scared and the closer I got, the less I thought about the bears and mountain lions.
Finally, I reached the top of the mountain. It had taken me about an hour and I wished it to be longer. As I peered over the forest and saw my family, I realized that I had this amazing experience because I visualized my goals and took action to get there. Instead of being scared and running back to what was secure, I had set a goal for myself and hiked an hour through beautiful terrain to reach my goal.
I realized that if I took the same actions with my work and private life, and became more disciplined and intentional that I could feel the same accomplishment that I felt climbing to the top of the mountain. Like deciding to hike up the mountain instead of going back to camp, I realized it would be a lot easier to reach my goals if I knew what they were.
The “Goal Sheet”
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”– Henry Ford
This worksheet is the same one that I created and filled out and has helped me immensely. I hope it will help you as well. I have taken three principles from three different sources to ultimately build what I deem, the perfect “goal sheet.” I have used a goal setting guide from, “The 12 week year”, a snippet of finding your purpose from the book WWHW, and the idea of manifesting your vision related to “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale.
To start with, let’s look at finding your Ikigai or “a reason for being.”
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” — Albert Schweitzer
Ikigai, a Japanese term which means “a reason for life” is said to be the reason you jump out of bed every morning. To achieve life purpose: you need to find a balance between four key ideas: what you love, what people need, your skill, and what makes money.
To find your Ikigai, you can start by making three lists: your values, things you like to do, and things you are good at. Where these three lists cross is your Ikigai. You can also start by answering these four questions that make up the Ikigai.
What do you love?
What does the world need?
What can you be paid for?
What are you good at?
Once you figure out your Ikigai, it is time to move onto visualizing and writing your goal. In this case, we will take a page from Nightingale’s, “The Strangest Secret” to help remind us of our purpose.
“The Strangest Secret.”
“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” – Earl Nightingale
Like the mountain faced before me. I had to first have a vision in order to realize that climbing to the top was my goal. By reminding ourselves daily of what we are trying to accomplish, we can reach our goals quicker and easier if we first know what they are.
As Nightingale mentions, “We become what we think about.” If you think negatively, you’ll start to notice more negative than positive. This is why many people keep gratitude journals. Research has shown that people who keep gratitude journals tend to be happier and healthier than people who don’t.
If you take a second and picture yourself already reaching your goal, and seeing yourself do the things that you need to do to reach that goal, you will start to see yourself become that person.
To visualize your goal, take a notecard. On one side write,
“Ask, and it shall be given unto you
Seek and ye shall find
Knock and it shall be opened unto you
For everyone that asketh, receiveth
and he that seeketh, findeth
And to him that knocked
It shall be opened.
On the other side, write the thing that you want to accomplish most. This needs to be an attainable goal that further expands on what you discovered your Ikigai is. Make sure it is a single goal and clearly defined. Every time you have a negative fear or thought about your goal, switch gears and think of something positive instead. Remember that nothing comes easy and that anything is possible with hard work. Make sure to look at your card everyday, recite the mantra, visualize your goals and think about how you can get there.
The last part that expands on this is to create your actionable goals so you can put what you visualize into action.
The 12 Week Year: Goal Setting To Reach The Top Of The Mountain
“Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare.”– Japanese Proverb
Having a vision is the first part to achieving and realizing any goals. Like my story with the mountain, having a clear vision creates motivation and ultimately leads you to where you are trying to go to fulfill your purpose. To start with, create a list with three different rows each labeled: Have, Do, Be. This list isn’t your vision, but rather the things that you want in life. What do you want to have, what do you want to do and what do you want to be?
After you create your list, construct your long term and three-year vision.
The long term vision is where you see your life in 5,10,15 or more years in the future. Take some of what you wrote in your Have, Do, Be list, and write it in your long term vision.
The medium-term vision focuses on your personal and work life. You can first answer the personal life part by thinking about relationships, health, spiritual, social, financial, intellectual, emotional, and lifestyles that you want to have. Next write about your business vision by answering questions such as:
1. What is your ideal profession?
2. Where will you feel most fulfilled?
3. What will your income be?
4. Will you lead others?
5. What position/role will you be playing?
If you are an entrepreneur think about:
1. What is your target market
2. What value do you offer?
3. What is your service model?
4. How will you market?
Next after creating your vision you want to start with the end in mind. Think about a few goals that you want to reach. This could be losing 15 pounds at the end of the 12 week year (the book is premised on the idea that you can accomplish a year of work in 3 months if you focus on your vision and goals.)
Once you have your goals then create key actions and tactics to reach those goals keeping time in mind. For example:
Goal: weigh 185 lbs by the end of the 12 week year
Also ask yourself: “What assistance from others might you need to increase your chances of success?
To write effective goals remember:
1. Make your goals specific and measurable
2. State each goal positively
3. Ensure that each goal is possible for you
4. Include accountability
Remember to align your goals with your longer vision which will put you on pace to one day reach your purpose and get you where you want to go in life.
What Can Happen If You Take Time To Plan and Visualize
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
Many people do not take the power of vision seriously. With a good plan, vision to match, and hard work, anything is possible. As someone who just pulled themselves out of a rut, I can say these tools really do help.
First, I suggest figuring out your purpose. What is it that will make you happy. Is there something out there that you’ve always wanted to do, but could never figure out how? Write that down on a notecard, and make sure to look at it every day. Only associate your dream with positivity. Finally, use these goal setting strategies from the 12 week year to bring your dream to life. Pick 3 big goals that will help you get closer to your vision and write out the tactics and timelines to help get closer to your goal.
Imagine what you can accomplish in a year if you set goals? Imagine how your tasks to reach your goals can accumulate in a lifetime. Focus on getting 1% better every day. You will find the small things you do for yourself accumulate, until one day you will feel confident and accomplished in what you are doing.
I have included a worksheet that you can print out to help get one step closer to your goals and dreams. Remember to focus on what it is you want, and realize that you “reap what you sow.” Find the goals worksheet here: Goal Worksheet
Good luck to everyone!