Plan Your Life Backward

Group-People-Diverse-Maze-Puzzle-Concept-000065450239_XXXLargeWhat’s the goal?

I mean, the end goal. I mean, what you want your mark on this world to be. The BIG difference of YOU.

Don’t know?

Well, then we’ve got a problem.

Every day, I read a few pages in Governing Business & Relationships by Swami A. Parthasarathy. I’ve read it before and I’ll read it again, but when I pull open to the page I’m on, I always see something new.

Like this concept of planning your life’s work backward. Back-ending into accomplishment.

It makes perfect sense.

If you know what the goal is, you can plan the steps you need to take to get there. And if you have a hunch that you might have 70 or so years to do it, then you know how to break down the time.

This is how businesses plan. This is how businesses grow.

They set a goal – be it revenues or customers or franchises. Whatever it is, identify the specifics and then work toward that by creating simple steps to get there.

The problem is, when it comes to our life’s work, our personal goals, the mark we want to leave on the world, most of us don’t know what that big goal is.

Guotation : Goal without a plan is just a wish on blur abstractAnd so we get swept up into the minutiae of every day and before we know it, we’ve lived a life of running here and running there, doing errands, fighting with the people we love, taking out the garbage and cleaning up the same mess that other people make, over and over again.

I don’t know if I can give you an answer.

Because you see, I can’t articulate what my life’s goal is.

What do I want to leave the world having done? Is it a certain number of books? Speaking to audiences in ways that inspire? Traveling the globe helping people? In what way?

I. Just. Don’t. Know.

And that is incredibly frustrating.

And so I wake up on a morning like this, walk downstairs with my littlest boy, snuggle next to him on the couch and agree to watch a Simpsons Halloween episode he recorded on the DVR.

And when my neck starts to hurt from craning it to watch over his profile, I get up to make a cup of coffee and write my own stories.

I think about whether or not to wake my oldest boy to go to synagogue, and I think about my sleeping girls in an unbelievably messy room.

I think about how I’ve gotten too busy again to find the time for ME or to write my daily blog on a regular schedule.

If you don't know that you want to climb the mountain, you'll never reach the summit.
If you don’t know that you want to climb the mountain, you’ll never reach the summit.

I think about how much I love being back in the classroom, teaching, and before I know it, I have spiraled into so many possible reasons-for-living that I stop cold.

Perhaps that’s it.

Perhaps we should in some way set the end goal but at the same time just gravitate toward it in the natural path of doing Work That We Love.

The other day someone posted about a guy whining that he doesn’t know his purpose or his calling but all the while he’s doing graphic design work really, really well and easily. And so maybe that is his calling and he just doesn’t see it.

Does that happen much?

We are on the right path and everyone else can see it but us?

Perhaps.

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