For decades goal setting has been
an established component in attempting to enhance ones personal and
professional life, as well as a catalyst for human motivation. It has also
provided guidance for organizational strategy and individual achievement. With
many approaches the process of goal setting has become unnecessarily complex
and over analyzed for individuals and organizations to utilize on a daily basis.
Allow me to simplify this individual
process for you. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines a goal as, “the
object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” First, what does in mean to have a goal, and second,
do you have any goals in your life?
To have a goal means you have direction for the path your future will take. To determine if you do, or do not, have any direction for your life here is a practical, undemanding, yet powerful question. When you woke up this morning did you have something to look forward to? If you did, then you have goals and direction. If you have more than one goal, which ones are more important than the others, and can you rank them? If you are able to execute that task successfully, then you have just established and prioritized your goals, and you are on a path of personal accomplishment.
Having something to look forward to everyday provides the energy to contribute positively to yourself and those around you. It also validates that you as a human being matter, and that you have a purpose for existing. Without a sense of purpose the excuse door opens resulting in a loss of motivation, discouragement, frustration and even depression. How could I possibly be motivated if I have nothing I want to accomplish? Look at the number of individuals who emotionally and physically deteriorate when, in their own minds, they feel there is nothing to look forward to; and believe they no longer have purpose. My 84-year-old mother still surrounds herself with people and daily tasks to maintain a personal sense that she still matters. Whether it is her desire to play a round of golf, yes at 84, or take on the role of club historian, or continue to volunteer for the hospital, provides her with a sense of value to herself and pride that she is still contributing to others and the community. Although my mother no longer works, by volunteering to causes she believes in, and participating in activities she enjoys, provides her a catalyst to live life to its’ fullest. This continued desire to feel purposeful also stimulates for her fresh memories of happier times, people she has loved, and appreciation for the many blessings in her life. The ability for all of us to feel we are contributing in some way to the world around us can make a substantial difference in our daily emotional and physical well being.
Everyday I personally make a
point to recognize, acknowledge and work towards the areas of my life that I
look forward to. For example,
these goals might include my next column, speaking engagement, workout, school
board meeting, lunch with friends, vacation, visiting my children, or searching
for something new to experience to broaden my mind, or challenge my body. There
is so much life can offer, if one has the confidence and sense of purpose to
take a chance on their future and discover their full potential.
Returning to those fundamental core values that reflect who you are will provide you the fortitude to manage those goals, and provide you with an outlook on life that is optimistic and full of possibilities. Understand, to have something to look forward is our responsibility to create ourselves, or in conjunction with others in our lives. However, how we coordinate our efforts to accomplish those goals rests individually on each of us. At this moment my goal for all of you is to wake up tomorrow morning having something to look forward to. Enjoy the day, because you matter, have a purpose, and have the potential to positively impact those around you everyday.
As core values have been of prominent importance in the theme of my columns, it is essential that we define the core values we discuss with our self and others. In other words it is important to define for ourselves, and the people we influence, what we mean by what we say. For example, I can say the word “love” or “discrimination” and all of us will define these terms based on our life experience with them. For example, an understanding of what love means is developed through the healthy and/or unhealthy relationships we experience in life, and that is unique for everyone. Further, I do not believe that I have ever witnessed discrimination directed towards me in my life. Therefore, my innate sense of the meaning of that word, and the emotion it generates, will be different than someone who has experienced discrimination. The beauty of humanity is we all come into this world, hypothetically, wearing a different pair of glasses and based on our life experiences we all see the world differently. It is that individual outlook that makes each of us unique and wonderful. It is also what allows us to learn from each other and appreciate the differences among us. Can you imagine what a world it could be if this understanding was universally appreciated and understood?
Integrity can be a core value, is
a positive leadership trait, and is a principle of behavior used commonly to
define the character of a person. I ask you, “What is integrity?” The Oxford Dictionary definition of
integrity states, “the quality of being honest and having strong moral
principles: moral uprightness”. How do we know if a person possesses integrity?
First, how many of you enjoy dealing with people who are indecisive, say one
thing one day turn around the next day and do something else, someone who is
inconsistent? There is no one that appreciates that behavior. When we are
around individuals like this we lose respect for them, which depreciates their
Consistency in behavior is the first step to understanding if a
person has integrity. The only way I can be consistent in my behavior is to
understand what it is I stand for and believe in, my other core values. However, I cannot leave integrity at
just consistency in behavior. Past and present day there have been, and are
many individuals who have been consistent in their convictions and beliefs, and
in the process have destroyed societies and decimated humanity. As referenced
in the definition above, the other component that gives integrity it’s meaning
and therefore credibility, is morality. What is morality? Morality is defined in the same
dictionary as, “the extent to which an action is right or wrong.” Certainly
that definition can be left to an enormous amount of interpretation. There are
some who believe that exterminating others, who do not believe in the same God
as they do, is completely moral. Regardless of some form of structured
religion, I define morality in my life as how I treat another human being, and
I believe we should treat one another with dignity and respect.
To summarize, if I can wake up every day, understanding what I stand for and believe in, my core values, act on those core values in a consistent manner, and in the process treat others with dignity and respect; when I go home at night and put my head on that pillow, I will most likely feel pretty good about the example I set that day. As a result, I will have demonstrated integrity; also resulting in a greater likelihood that I am being more personally honest with myself, which in turn allows me to hold myself and others accountable. The key to making fewer excuses is living a life that is a true reflection of who you are.
Finally, integrity is the barometer in evaluating the level of trust within a relationship, family and organization. Trust is the glue of every established human connection. When trust is broken the relationship is never the same. It is comparable to a broken bone. It may heal, but it is never what it was. Keep the bond of your relationships continually strong by consistently striving to be a person of integrity. By living a life of integrity and maintaining that bond of trust with those around you, you will have established the character of an individual respected by all.