Finding Opportunities Without Setting Goals


I did not set a goal of making more money this year.  In fact, I didn’t even set an intention to make more money. And yet, I’ve had two possible maybe almost opportunities to make more money come up in the last 24 hours.

I also did not set a goal of teaching more yoga. Of finding ways to be on more non-profit boards and do more social policy. And yet, in the last 15 days, I’ve been invited to join boards, invited to assistant teach at one of my favorite yoga fundraising events, and wiggled my way onto a committee on a topic I’ve been following/advocating/trying to get other people to pay attention to for four years.

Why am I telling you all of this? To brag? Well, kinda. As in, look, I can still be a successful person and do cool shit even if I don’t set any goals. That so long as I follow my heart and say yes to every opportunity and don’t think “am I good/cool/thin/awesome enough to really do that?” and just go run after things that seem like fun or resonate with me, then I will have a million opportunities start cropping up in all sorts of places.

This really fits my theory that setting goals is sort of vision-limiting. As in, you only see the goal you are focusing on, rather than a million other opportunities to grow and learn and fail and change and shine. It’s like when I decided my next car would be a Subaru, then all I could see on the road were Subarus. They were following me. They were everywhere! I didn’t see any Hondas and certainly no Toyotas.  Setting a goal of making more money or getting a new job (that is one of my goals, though money has nothing to do with it) had me focusing only on either money or leaving my current job. It didn’t allow for colleagues to call and say they wanted me to come join their firm because the work was more interesting.  And setting goals like “I want to publish a book from this blog” would be limiting because then I’d only be thinking of what would be good fodder for a book, instead of just writing. And really, when I am curious and think of things I’d like to write about, they are everywhere. When I sit down and think, what would be good for a book, all the sudden my creative juices pucker up like they ate a lemon and I’m still sitting there, with the dog staring at me, 15 minutes later.

The moral of this story (is there one?) is that I’m finding that it feels truly hard for me to live without a set goal, I feel sort of aimless and like I’m not getting anything done, but then when I actually catalog all the stuff I’ve gotten done in the last two weeks (two articles published, invite to speak on international issues, green lighted on starting a peer mediation program, pounced on an opportunity to work on anti-trafficking legislation, invites to teach yoga, invites to join a board, and on and on), it’s kind of a gigantic load of stuff. And I honestly, couldn’t be happier about the millions of cool things I am working on right now. Even without those guidepost/northern stars to direct me.


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