Is Your Goal Unrealistic? (Goal Series #3)

Runner at UTMB climbs steep hill in Italy

What if your goal is more than too big - it’s impossible? 

We can all manage bravado for a gloriously big, “shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars” type goal, but an unrealistic one? 

I mean, if I wanted to become a ballerina with the New York City Ballet, what would you say?

“That can’t happen - why would you want to try?”

And if you delude yourself into thinking otherwise, people will remind you.

So we demand proof we can succeed before we're willing to try. And end up waiting instead of trying. 

But you have goals and dreams for a reason. They’re not random - they’re a compass needle, though you may not see what they’re pointing to.

So before you shelve an unrealistic goal, consider this:

What if it's not about achieving the goal - it’s about the pursuit?

What if you get something priceless out of the journey you couldn’t have gotten any other way?

Wouldn’t that be worth it?

Take my master's degree, for example.

I’d been working for years as engineer. It was okay but I dreamed of working at something I loved…without taking a pay cut.

Planning, as in city planning, caught my interest and wouldn’t let go.

It made no sense. Even if I got the degree I’d need, I’d be starting over mid-career in a new field (hello, learning curve!) where I would take a significant pay cut (um…no!), and start with less than half my current vacation time (ouch!).

No way would this achieve my goal but the subject fascinated me and since I desperately wanted change and had the time, I plunged ahead on blind faith.

As you might guess, I didn’t get job in Planning.

It was unrealistic - but was it worth it?

I loved the classes and to my complete surprise, I especially loved the legal class. It shifted the way I see myself.

I enjoy using the degree to give back to my city every month as the Vice Chair of our Board of Zoning Appeals, a tough board that is required to have a legally-defensible basis for our decisions. My education makes our board stronger because I see things my fellow board members wouldn’t. 

And simply having a master's degree opened the door to a new promotion scale at my engineering job, something I didn’t expect.

Yes, it was worth it!

If you’ve hidden an unrealistic goal away, why not get it out and follow to see where it leads?

- You might learn a new skill that opens doors you never imagined.

- You might meet your new best friend.

- You might end up with a version of the goal you like better - ballerina with a local dance troupe of friends.

You may not achieve your unrealistic goal but one thing’s for certain - you’ll be a different, braver, more confident person for the journey.

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PS - If you want to learn to change your thinking to work for you instead of against you, email me here to set up a free 30-minute mini-session to see how coaching can keep you out of self-sabotage and change your results for the better!

Susan DonnellyGoals