Tag Archive for: goals

When does ambition become harmful?

I’m a person who has set goals all of my adult life. Ever since my dad introduced me to Earl Nightingale when I was a teenager, I was inspired to deliberately better myself. With ambition deeply ingrained, foundational habits were formed that built a road of success for me. But like anything in life, an asset can turn into a defect when it outgrows its function. Now, in retrospect, I offer what I’ve learned about how my drive for ambition has a harmful side.

  1. Bettering yourself is not the same as perfecting yourself. Perfection is an unattainable goal, but incremental, continuous self-awareness and growth is a target worth aiming for.
  2. Constant striving for perfection to prove something unprovable can create frustration, tension, and pressure on yourself and those around you.
  3. It’s great to have goals; however, the purpose of goals is not to measure your worth by your achievement of those goals. The purpose of goals is to inspire you to become the kind of person it takes to get you there.
  4. While it’s good to have intentions for the future, don’t miss the joy of life today. Ambition can be a thief of contentment and inner peace. At the end of our lives, I believe we’ll realize that this one precious life we have been given is not a destination. It’s a journey.

Simple Art of Living

Nellie McClung is regarded as one of Canada’s most prominent suffragists, helping to grant women the vote in Alberta and Manitoba in 1916.

In my library I have a book written by Ms. McClung, published in 1930, titled Be Good To Yourself, personally signed to my grandparents.

Here’s a quote from page four:
“We are clever people, efficient and high-powered, but in our zeal to get things done we are forgetting the simple art of living. Let us make a resolve – that we will begin today to relax, and loiter, and potter around, and be lazy if we feel like it once in a while, and take time to meditate, and watch the sun go down behind the hill.
Let us be good to ourselves.”

It appears that we have been struggling for some time with the challenge to s-l-o-w our lives down and remember the “simple art of living.” Being present in our busy lives to the experience of living is where life is actually lived.

I, for one, have spend much of my life setting goals and striving, while missing out on what life is actually all about.

While goals set the course for our life, it’s important to be mindful of what goals guide our lives. I think we all could all benefit from Ms. McClung’s advice and find fulfillment and meaning by being present to the experience of life.

Let’s make a resolve to bring more goodness to the world by remembering the simple art of living. Let us be good to ourselves.

The Ant And The Elephant: Leadership For The Self

When I was home recovering from surgery this week, I read a book by Vince Poscente called The Ant And The Elephant: Leadership For The Self.

It’s a brilliant little parable about the power of our unconscious minds and includes a plan and tools to work intentionally with your unconscious. It illustrates how the unacknowledged aspects of ourselves can sabotage us and keep us from realizing our goals.

Leading others begins with being a leader to one’s self through a greater realization of our talents, strengths, and vision.

Vince’s teaching about increasing self-awareness aligns closely with that of our SAGE Forums https://lnkd.in/dktaE-XM. This book offers a practical plan and simple tools to transform individual and team performance.

Seven take-aways:

  1. Like the ant who learns to guide the elephant with a wise owl as his guide, humans can tap into their potential by connecting with their unconscious.
  2. Shift beliefs, attitudes, and truths so they align with your vision.
  3. Never underestimate the power of emotion.
  4. Being committed to a task means being committed to the process of commitment.
  5. Strengthen confidence by instituting pattern busters.
  6. Have an intentional strategy for responding to unforeseen events.
  7. Stay the course. Change is gradual. Gratification will eventually come.

I can’t believe it took me so long to find this book. But then I’m reminded, “when the ant is ready, the owl will appear.”
I look forward to deepening the connection to my inner elephant.