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Goals for happiness?

Do goals make you happy? Goals are important. Think about some of the goals that you've achieved and you probably associate some happiness to them. But what about the goals that you do not achieve? What about the goals that you work hard on and when you DO achieve them feel a sense of let-down? It happens. Goals might not make you happy but they can help you identify and support what does. It's a process. Moving from one goal to another helps us narrow down the endless possibilities to those opportunities most likely to bring us joy. Goals do not equal happiness. They do, however, help. -- doug smith

Character and Goals

What comes first, building character, or achieving goals? I've seen people achieve their goals at any cost. Their dedication is unlimited, but the cost is too high. If achieving a goal changes who you are in ways that you would not have chosen or in ways that would alarm your friends, maybe the goal was too much. Character -- who you are -- matters.  If achieving your goal subtracts anything from your clarity, your courage, your creativity, and your compassion, that's too much. If achieving your goal diminishes your character -- how you live and treat other people -- that's too much. Achieving goals is important but so is building character -- and without character your goals don't matter. Character comes first. -- doug smith

When the goal matters

We've all set goals that we did not achieve. It could be that the goal was too large. Maybe the goal was beyond our control. Or, maybe we just decided it wasn't worth the bother. If work feels like bother, we may not bother to work. If the goal doesn't excite us, it's hard to see the point. Focus on the goals that DO matter, and make the difference from there. When the goal matters enough to you, you'll do enough for the goal. Both silence, and action, represent prioritization.  -- doug smith

How about those rules?

It's become almost glamorous to break rules. There's a kind of excitement to rebelling, to tearing apart a carefully constructed boundary. It might even be necessary. Before breaking that rule, though, it's worth wondering if that is also a dangerous thing to do. The more a rule is broken, the easier it is to break. The more rules that are broken, the more it seems acceptable. The more acceptable it seems to break rules, the more anarchy and chaos prevail. Choices sneak up on us and change everything that came before. If someone will break a rule for you they will eventually break a rule that you care about. How do you treat rules? -- doug smith  

Keeping those values

  People rationalize breaking their values all the time. It can be more convenient to let things slip just a little to hit a financial target, or to make payroll, or to reduce overtime, name it. Cutting corners on our values seems easy. But, how does that turn out? The cost to be paid for surrendering against our values might not even be immediate, but it will be certain and it might be profound. The proverbial slippery slope does not lead to a soft landing. It's easy to rationalize breaking a value but much harder to endure the eventual results. -- doug smith

Was It Only Imagination?

  Have you ever imagined something so much or so strongly that you believe it's happened, even when it hasn't?  Like a dream, a creative endeavor takes on a quiet life of its own. We see it. We feel it. We're sure we did our work to make it happen.  But if we didn't do the work, it didn't happen. That's why some  writers will not talk about a piece they're working on: if they talk about it too much, it already feels complete, and it's NOT. Our minds are wonderful, and sometimes they're funny. We can do that with "facts" as well. Our own inner bias convinces us that a particular view is true, even in the face of contrary evidence. We see that all over these days. What we imagine to be true sometimes gets in the way of what is actually true. It's the job of a true high performance leader to know the truth, to tell the truth, and to lead with the truth. Leaders who don't, don't deserve to be leaders.  -- doug smith

How is that plan?

  What's your goal? Is what you're doing achieving that goal? Once in a while I need to check my plan because it's just not up to the goal. There's no shame in it, but there's no game in it either to stay with a broken plan. If what you're doing isn't working -- you know what to do: something else. -- doug smith

Breathe and Begin

  Moment by moment, some moments are tough. They can fill us with challenges, they can weigh us down. Inevitably, when we apply our best focus, when we stay with our values, we prevail. On to the next moment! This moment will pass soon enough. Breathe, and begin -- start the next better time. -- doug smith

Chicken or Egg?

  Have you ever found yourself involved in a mission that feels disconnected from who you really are? It happens far too often. We start by chasing a dream, get distracted by chasing money, and get misdirected by a mission that makes no sense for who we are. Maybe it's the company's mission. Maybe it's your own mission that got lost in the fog of survival. We sometimes face a decision: keep working that mission, or listen to our heart. If your mission is forcing you into actions that make you uncomfortable from a values standpoint, you've likely reached a decision point. If your character and values can't survive your mission, abandon the mission. It's both difficult and simple. Simple in that it tells you what you already know, and difficult because the work still wants to be done, your boss still needs you to comply, your organization has already decided for you. You decide. It's your decision.  -- doug smith  

Fill In The Blanks

  Have you ever had an argument and only later on realized that maybe you didn't get it right? Maybe there was a missing piece of information. Maybe you had filtered things a bit from your point of view. It happens. When? All the time. Right or wrong, every perspective is incomplete. Sometimes we need to fill in the blanks by gaining another perspective, by hearing someone else's story. What's your rush? Get it right. -- doug smith

High Performance Leaders Are Accountable

  High performance leaders don't get to pass the blame. It's possible, but worthless, to blame someone else for your problems. Who will deal with the issue? Who will solve the problem? Who is accountable? Every problem is a leadership problem. Take charge. Forge forward. Rally the team.  That problem that concerns you belongs to you.  -- doug smith

The Challenge of Common Sense

  Have you ever wondered where all the common sense went?  What we often take for granted as easy to grasp knowledge goes unacknowledged by all too many people. What once was common has become uncommon: courtesy, flexibility, resilience, determination, perseverance...if these traits were ever common they have slipped into rare supply. Or have they? It depends on what you're looking for. It depends on what you are modeling. Wouldn't common sense be hardest to find by those who aren't practicing common sense? It makes me wonder. It also matters how we define common sense. Just because it feels right to me doesn't mean that it makes any sense to you. Our perspective does still matter. Common sense is easily confused with common bias. We see things the way we see things because that's the way we see things. That both makes no sense at all and yet defines sense-making. Or does it? What to do with all that?  Be careful about what you expect, because you'll get a lot o