This is the second in a three-part series about getting ready for 2019.  You can read the previous post about how your values are formed here; next week’s post will include questions to ask yourself as you head into 2019.

It’s not all about the big goal.  The journey is just as important.

If you’re a rugby fan, you’re looking forward to 2019.  The World Cup will be held in Japan next year; 20 teams will compete for the honor of being the world’s best.

England’s team has made no secret of the fact that they want to win the cup in 2019 — this is their goal.  The team previously won back in 2003 and were runners-up in 1991 and 2007. Being a fan, I remember all the finals vividly.

A big goal like this isn’t merely one or two seasons in the making.  It takes years of planning: building up the team, rigorous practice and playing to win every time. One game at a time.

Coach Eddie Jones knows that each game they play is preparing them for the World Cup Championship:

“We want to be our best at the World Cup. This series [autumn internationals] was a step forward and the Six Nations will be another step forward again.”
Eddie Jones, The Guardian

Most people get scared by big goals.  

Even when the goal is something you really want — like a world cup — the preparation can seem so overwhelming. Knowing that it may takes months or years to achieve is hard to swallow.

That’s true if you only focus on the goal.  It can feel heavy. Overwhelming. That feeling we all know well.

Most people give up and stick with making themselves busy, leading to being disorganised.

Being busy is a great way of making you feel like you’re making progress when actually you’re just spinning your wheels like a car in the snow. Using loads of energy with no progress.

What if, instead, you focused on the small steps that will get you to your goal?

For Eddie Jones, that means his team wins the next game — that’s it.  That’s more than enough to focus on at one time. Then you focus on the next game.  And the next. Right up until you’re playing the championship game.

He’s taking it one game at a time. One training session at a time. One conversation with his players at a time.

Moment to moment. Baby steps.

Use the bigger goal as a signpost.  Remember that each small step you take is aimed directly at that signpost.  If you keep taking those small steps along the way, you’ll eventually reach your goal.

And there’s a massive link between Eddie Jones’ highest values and what he’s looking to achieve with the England rugby team. It keeps him on track through the tough times, like when they had an awful run earlier this year.

So often we focus our attention on the action; what do we need to do to reach our goal?

But consider also the person you’re being.

Who do you have to be to reach your goal?

The mindset is at least as critical as all the action steps you take.  

I’ve wanted to write a book for my entire adult life.  I can still remember when I decided in my 20s. I’ve tried to do it so many times and never really made any progress. I was always busy being busy and the little author’s voice inside kept getting drowned out through my own endless internal wheel spinning.

Until this year.

My book will be out next year.  I finished the first draft manuscript several weeks ago.  I kept that bigger dream of being a published author. This year, working with a coach, I was able to finally focus on each of the steps I needed to get there:  brainstorming ideas; creating an outline; crafting a writing plan; and actually doing the work of writing each chapter.

One small step at a time.

Just as important, the book is completely aligned with my values of fatherhood, personal development, and coaching.  Where’s Dad? is about an overwhelmed entrepreneur learning how to find his way in life, business and parenthood.

It’s been hard. But because the creation of my book was aligned with my values, I’ve been more than happy to keep going.

That’s what having clarity about your values does. It allows you to keep going and find a way to move forward when your wheels start to spin because you know, at your core, this is part of your soul’s expression to create it. Just like Eddie and his team.

My values kept motivating me to get up at 5.30 a.m. to write Monday to Friday.  Not easy, but worth it. Sentence by sentence. Paragraph by paragraph. Chapter by chapter.

Goals aligned with your values exist in a framework for your whole life.  Goals that don’t relate to that bigger picture rarely find traction in your life.

Here’s another example:  Fatherhood is one of my top values.  Let’s say I want to create extra money next year so I can take a long vacation with my family.

If earning that extra money meant I had to take a job that involves traveling two weeks out of every four, that doesn’t fit with my value of fatherhood. It would only lead to inner resentment because I’ve gone against my highest values in exchange for cash. And all the money in the world can’t buy time back with my family.

Not even Warren Buffett can buy back time. Neither can you.

When your goals conflict with your values, they are going to be drastically harder to achieve.  Perhaps even impossible. Unless you can link your goals to your top values in an authentic way.

It’s okay to have a big goal. They can be aspirational — big, audacious ideas that will have a huge impact, whether on you or someone else.  But don’t forget to pay attention to all the steps along the way. Don’t forget that achieving your goal is as much being as it is doing.

One game at a time.

And remember, the clock is ticking. The sooner you can peel back the layers of life and connect with what it is that really drives you, the sooner you can create a life you love leading.

Love and wellness,

David.

PS — If you’re curious about the types of coaching I offer, please visit the services page of my website.  I work with individuals 1:1, run masterminds and host Get Clarity each year in November.  I’m also available to work with leaders to create training opportunities for your teams.