Let Fear Help You Set The Right Goals

Setting goals is extremely powerful. It's a cornerstone of high performance and a way to tap into the unseen powers that surround us.

When you set a goal and stick with it, things start to shift. Basil King: "Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid" 

Conversely, if you don't know exactly where you want to go and by when, you won't get there. There's just too much entropy in the universe. 

A while ago after quarterly planning at Kindara I wrote out our 5 goals for the quarter and put them on the wall. After a few days it seemed ridiculous that we didn't have the goals on the wall from day 1 of the company.  

Write down your goals and put them on the wall. Or review them every morning before work. As many have noted this is probably the simplest and most effective life hack there is. By keeping your goals in mind regularly, you'll tend to head towards completing them. It's like magic. It's a law of the universe that whatever you focus on expands. 

The law seems to be: 

If you set a goal and review it regularly along with the next actions
you need to take, you'll reach it.

There may be breakdowns along the way. But over time you'll get there. As sure as shit. Realizing this was huge for me. It opened up a lot of possibility that wasn't there before. 

I've noticed a corollary to this law, and that is: 

Set the right goals, because anything that isn't
part of your goal ain't gonna happen. 

For example:

In the spring of 2015 I set out to raise $3M for Kindara. It was a terrible 6 months for me. I hated most of it, but I just kept going: reviewing my goals and the next steps to getting there every morning. I got 65 "no's" and a handful of "yesses" and by September we closed the financing. 

Guess how much we closed? $3M on the button. Not a penny more. At times we were over-subscribed, but some crazy stuff happened (which I'll write about elsewhere) and we ended up closing exactly $3M. Not $2.7M and not $3.2M. Exactly $3M. Strange right? 

Within a few months of closing the raise I was wishing I had raised $5M (as is oft the case in startup world). But back in the spring of 2015 I didn't have the balls to set that as my goal. So I set $3M as the goal. And that's exactly what I got. 

Another example: 

At the beginning of this year I set us a goal as a company to Ship Wink in the first 100 days of the year. By April 10th. We've been pushing hard to meet this deadline all year.

In February we had a manufacturing set-back. A lot of things went a little wrong at the factory and we had to push everything back by 30 days. Now we're aiming to ship by May 1. So even though the original 100 days has become 120 days, I think we're going to do it. Awesometown. 

But here's the thing: not much else has happened in the product department at Kindara over the last 3 months. All of our energy has been going into Wink, and while that might be fine and good, I wonder if I should have set a more ambitious goal at the beginning of the year.

Like maybe the goal should have been "Ship Wink with a new and improved UI/UX for both our iOS and Android app" or maybe "Ship Wink & one major new feature and a new web-app by May 1st" etc. 

I've noticed that whatever goals I set, I can generally reach them. This is part of the magic of the universe. But at the same time the universe doesn't seem to give unexpected bonuses. If we want more, we need to ask for it. 

And so with that learning in hand, now I'm going to pay attention to setting the RIGHT goals. Goals that are more ambitious. On the line between doable and crazy. 

So what is the right goal? From Marianne Williamson: 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
—Marianne Williamson, Return to Love, 1992

Well ok, so there's the answer. The RIGHT goal is the goal that feels a little scary. When setting a goal, make sure you feel a little scared, otherwise you're playing too small or being fantastical. Fear is the sight that tells you where to aim. 

Remember, anything we don't include in our goals, ain't gonna happen, so don't aim too low. Keep raising your aim until it starts to feel pretty scary. Then shoot for that and keep shooting. You'll be amazed at what will happen.  

Will Sacks