The really really awesome folks started small, and their smallness grew into something that was huge and wildly popular. Such was the case of Sam Calagione in Brewing up Business – he made one batch of beer, realized that he was good at it, and kept doing it because it was what he loved. He didn’t want to deal with the boardroom stuff – he wanted to make a great craft beer that he and a bunch of other folks could love. In other words, he saw an opportunity and went with it… more to the point, he MADE his own opportunity and chased it with all of the energy of a four year old chasing a butterfly.
I used to find the whole idea of ‘make some goals, follow them’ to be one of the most important pieces of advice that I could give. After all… the best way to get from here to there is to have a plan about how to get there. The goal acts as the destination in the road map, something that you can point at and say.. ‘hey, I’m going there.’ Seriously. It’s just one of those things that’s necessary. But you know what? This advice seems to be that sorta common sense’y sort of advice that parents will give their kids. Yeah, even though it’s true and all… and it’s been rehashed a zillion times, there’s a sort of patronizing undertone that’s associated with it.
Durpa durpa durpa. Yeah, make goals. Follow them. That’s how you get success.
I wrote a fairly antiseptic article here about how to break down the goals that you’ve got into more easily manageable parts. In fact, Eleven Minute Awesome revolves around the concept that if you break down the goals that you’ve got into eedy beedy segments (of eleven minutes) and pursue your dreams in those bite sized pieces, then you can become a little bit more awesome. In essence, that’s the way that you gain your awesomeness… you set your sights on something and do it. There’s not as many awesomeness points awarded to the one who’s *gonna* do this, or who is getting their awesomeness by who they know.
There’s two things at work here: passion and determination.
Passion says: I want this really bad.
Determination says: I will break down doors to get this.
So, you want to lose weight? Losing weight is your passion. Your determination is what guides you into the gym at odd hours, shows you the new research about bodyweight exercises. Your determination is what puts you in the middle of the produce section at your grocery store to lustily gaze upon collard greens. You know what’s good for you… and if you don’t, there’s a team of experts who will help you figure out what’s good for you. Your determination is what brings you to listening to them in the first place.
You want to be rich? Becoming rich is your passion. The determination comes in with the trials, the experimentation, the searching and researching new ways to be rich. You might find yourself in the library, you might find yourself at a bookstore reading for free and drinking coffee, you might find yourself in a little closet in the middle of the night. That determination to be rich is what is going to make you be rich, because it leaves you open to try new stuff and play with the parameters that you’ve got to work with.
Talking about goal setting seems to be a moot point when you’ve got the passion and drive. Setting goals is just a way of faking it, because the passionate folks are naturally and intrinsically taking the steps toward what they’re wanting. They’re doing something every single day toward the goal. They’re making sure that their letters are getting sent out to the publishers. They’re showing their art at galleries. They’re finding their way, plugging along and making the world a better place. Goals? Broken down goals? They’re not necessary when faced with passion and determination. Those tinygoals are just reminders, like road markers.
You’re traveling in a direction, regardless.
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose freewill.
— Rush, “Free Will”
This is one of my favorite Rush songs, and it was quite appropriate that I quote it here. In all seriousness, you’re traveling in a direction and the world is changing around you regardless of whether you’re directing it or not. When you’ve ignited your passion and gotten your determination in play… then you’ve got a direction. It just makes things faster. And, it’s really true that those who have the passion and the drive for something that they love don’t really think about what to do next, they just sort of do whatever. The artwork just talks to them, or the song just appears on the page, or the words just make it to the keyboard.
When it comes right down to it, the key to becoming awesome is not in making goals and following a path to get there. The key is more in that you should find ways to have your own passion ignited… and it will send you like a rocket ship toward your destination. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night and you’ll find your body abuzz with energy for what you’re wanting to do. You know that every step that you take will get you there, and you’re willing to do anything. If you find that your motivation is flagging, here are some suggestions to get it going again. Yeah, those are suggestions for those who want the energy of the passion back – sometimes the mid-game causes folks to question.
In all seriousness, finding goals is one of the hardest things that I’ve had to do during my adult life. My parents instilled in me the concept that I could do absolutely anything that I wanted, I just had to set my mind to it. Some people wonder *IF* they can do something, I think about whether I want to do something. And since my job made me comfortable, I was likely to say ‘no’ to whether I wanted to do something. With the goals, though, it’s like autopilot – rocket propelled to greatness. Brainstorming is one of the best things that you can do to discovering your goals. Brainstorming and talking with other people. Seriously. Your friends are able to spot your strengths.
The Fast Version
When you’re looking to pursue your own awesomeness, start with your passion. Start with the answer to the question of ‘wouldn’t it be cool if?’ Start with something other than ‘I need to have goals and break them down’ … Breaking down the goals is not what you’re needing in the situation… you just need to find the goals in the first place. Look to your friends, look to brainstorming, look to folks who you admire. You’ll find a way there as soon as you name the destination.