I once heard during my first year at university that a research team at Harvard measured how many people in a class had structured goals, around 10%. Ten years after graduation they measured that same class and found of the 10% who had goals, their success far outweighed the other 90%, and the net worth of those 10% was greater than the 90% combined primarily because they had goals. So I decided to set goals, some included to grow a business to succeed, earn a certain salary by the age of 25, buy a house by the same age, and to eventually lead an organisation. I set these goals after I found out at the ripe old age of 17 that it was “not at all possible” to join the air force as a pilot because of my eyesight.
With those goals set in my mind, I progressed well through university and remember looking at suits in shops thinking I’m going to wear one of those soon and be ‘successful’. When I graduated, it was the first time in my life where I actually felt a sense of achievement and it didn’t hit me until the graduation ceremony three months later. I joined the corporate world and began plotting my path to achieve the goals I wanted to achieve. The house came within the year, and my salary goal was hit on time. I got my first leadership role not long after graduating and received some good and bad feedback and, on occasion, excellent training, that helped develop my capacity as a leader. My goals were shaping up. But something wasn’t quite right.
The term ‘Pie in the Sky’ comes to mind when I explain the feeling of doing something you like, but not love. I felt like I was achieving what I set out to, yet I began to think that the goals I set weren’t truly me. At times I became de-motivated with what I was doing, often sticking pictures of aircraft on my desk thinking ‘if only’. I still have a picture of a PC-9 as my phone and computer background images to remind me of what I really want and what I should chase even though I was told “our policy says you can’t do it”. I hate to say it, but I began to understand that I fell into that immature trap of measuring wealth in financial terms, not mental. This had to change. When I turn 80, am I going to look at my life with regret or with the knowledge I did everything I could to chase my one dream? Will I be able to tell exciting stories of my adventures to my grand children or will I struggle to find true interest in what I did? And if I do invest myself in the hunt for my real definition of success, what will I do if I’m told no once again?
Epiphany; It came a few years after graduation and at a point where I felt my immaturity vacated. Starting to realign my goals to what I wanted, one of my best mates couldn’t have timed a chance encounter better. The seed was about to be planted….