Friday, July 5, 2013

Day #5 - The Difference Between "What" and "How"

Now that we have begun to give serious consideration to our passions and our missions, we can begin the process of setting our goals. Someone has probably begun to wonder if I am who he or she thought I was since all they wanted to know was how to get out of debt. I have said many times that money is what we use to help us reach our life goals. Debt is one of the barriers that get in our way but getting out of debt really happens in conjunction with taking control of our entire lives. The way we see and manage life determines the way we understand and handle money. We will definitely discuss finances this month. But only after we set the proper framework for the discussion.

Goals are important because they assign specificity to our dreams. All humans dream and many dreams can come true. Of course some dreams are pure fantasy. But even our fantastic dreams have kernels of possibility in them. Example: I had a recurring dream as a youth that I could fly! This was probably inspired by my love for television shows like Superman. And of course those dreams were completely ridiculous. But in my adult life I have earned so many miles and points on airline frequent flyer programs that I have taken many free trips by using airline rewards. I have never grown wings or worn a cape, but I have done an above average amount of flying. I have spoken in every state in the country and on every continent except one. So dreams can be taken seriously and even preposterous dreams can inform our goals.

A goal is a target – a specific intention to accomplish something. Ideally what you want to accomplish is consistent with your mission (see Day #4). When I was a child, the president announced that America would become the superior nation in conquering outer space. That superiority was the mission. Then we embarked upon the goal of putting a man on the moon. Achieving this mission would represent the superiority that we sought. Many tasks had to be accomplished in pursuit of that goal and I call those tasks our objectives. Some people reverse the use of the terms goals and objectives. It doesn’t really matter how you use the terms as long as you know the difference between your “what” and your “how.” I call my goals my “what” and my objectives my “how.”

When we confuse our what with our how, or when we allow our how to become our what, we risk abandoning our what when our how is disrupted. If reaching a particular destination is my what, and driving on a certain road is my how, if the road is blocked because of construction, I don’t turn around and go back home. The route that I was taking was not my what – it was my how. So when my how – the road that I was taking – was blocked I simply looked for a different road – a detour – to get me where I was going. I kept my what and changed my how.

That is why goals are so important. And written goals are critical to achieving success. When I started creating written goals, my life began to soar. And this month my personal makeover starts with updating my written goals, keeping in mind to begin with my list of “whats” before I develop my “hows.”

Before we separate our goals into categories, lets consider our mission and just list the goals that we have pursuant to the mission.

            Action items:
1.     Make a list of your goals.
2.     Make sure all of your goals are “whats” and not “hows”

3.     Separate the new goals from the old goals.

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