It’s Never Too Late: Setting Goals for Life, for Career, for Business, Ep2

Written by Pam Lefkowitz on October 7, 2021

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Episode 2 – Big Dreams

terrier trying to bite a tree

Welcome back to our 4-part series on setting goals. This week’s column is about Dreaming Big.

If you’re lucky enough to work in an evolved company, you are already doing some of these goal-setting exercises. If you’re working on your own or working in a less “evolved” situation, this is the place for you.

We want to remove the stumbling blocks that keep us from dreaming big, from being creative. “Creative, you say? But I’m an IT Administrator, I’m not creative!” Oh how untrue that statement is. You are actually creative every day in the way you teach a user a skill, in the way you solve a problem that you thought was unsolvable, the way you develop a script to avoid having to repeat a task, the way you create your user and device policies. Maybe you’re not artistic, but you are creative. Let’s discover that together.

The Wisdom of Ted Lasso

I want you to clear your mind, free it up from the structure of your work. I’m talking about meditation, folx. I know it makes some of you uncomfortable, but before you go running for the “close” button, have some faith in the process, k? To quote Ted Lasso, “Hey, takin’ on a challenge is a lot like ridin’ a horse. If you’re comfortable while you’re doin’ it, you’re probably doin’ it wrong.”

Trust me, it’s not what you think. For some, meditation is sitting on the floor, looking like a pretzel chanting “Ommmm”. For others, it’s doing a creative activity that takes concentration. I’m a fan of this second method, it works for me. I’d like you to try this and if it’s not your jam we’ll find something that is. So order up a small set of tools: 

  • A pencil
  • A Micron 01/03/05
  • Some colored pencils or markers
  • A small sketchbook (spiral bound 5.5×8 type – something like this
random doodles on setting life goals blog

Clear a spot on your desk, turn on a short Calm session (you do own Calm or some kind of meditation app, right?) and spend 10-15 minutes with your focus on doodling. Draw your doodle in pencil and then trace it over in marker or crayon or something else permanent. Fill open spaces with other doodles. This exercise is not about a beautiful product, it’s about concentrating on the lines you’re drawing, focusing on the task, focusing on your breath as you create lines on the page. See how the graphite or wax or ink flows onto the paper, follow the point as you trace over your lines. Don’t look ahead, focus only on what is just under your pen tip. And don’t forget to breathe (for some of us, that’s the hardest part!).

random doodles on setting life goals blog

I use small 3×3 cards to do my doodles. Big open pages of paper overwhelm me and, since I struggle with leaving white space, a large sheet of paper always feels incomplete to me. I set a timer for 15 minutes and I take off my watch. Whatever I finish in that time is my finished product. On the back I sign it and date it, taking ownership of the drawing and my effort.

A Clear and Calm Mind

Now that you have cleared out some cobwebs, you’re going to start dreaming. On the life areas list you evaluated last week, I’d like you to briefly write down what a 10 would look like in each of your struggling areas. Also make note of what might be keeping you from that 10. Don’t overthink this. Treat it like a brainstorming session…would starring in a sitcom get your job satisfaction to 10? Write it down. Would family life reach 10 if you became a foster parent? Start a charity? Rescue dogs? Write a novel? Get it all down on paper. Dream big. I mean REALLY big. This is not your plan, this is your dream page. No judging, just writing. This will, and should, take you a fair amount of  time. 

Assessment

When you’ve finished your Dream Big List, sit quietly and take stock of how you’re feeling. It may be good, it may be less than wonderful, it may be inspired. Set it aside to read again after a few days. See how you feel again. Review it again after a couple more weeks – lather, rinse, repeat.

You know how I’m a fan of non-technology tools? This exercise is where the act of physically putting pen to paper should start to make sense. Unlike typing into a Google doc, the ink feels rather…permanent, doesn’t it? It feels like a commitment, like signing a contract with yourself. This exercise is about you envisioning yourself being successful. Interesting things happen when you commit to being successful.

As with last week, work in 20-30 minute sessions over the coming days. And join the discussion in the JumpCloud Lounge #admin-life channel!

Pam Lefkowitz

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