There is a very provocative article in the November issue of O magazine, at least provocative from a life coaching standpoint. It’s titled, “Are Your Goals Holding You Back?” and it’s about a book coming out in December called Goal-Free Living.
I expected to be resistant to the story, maybe even rolling my eyes. After all, I set goals with clients all the time and the idea is to move them forward, not backward. But once I started reading I realized author Stephen Shapiro is talking about something I’ve been preaching and practicing for years.
“… when you focus on a goal, ‘you put blinders on. You lose your peripheral vision and miss out on all the great opportunities around you.'”
Of course that can happen. The idea is not to let it happen. What I try to explain to my clients is that they must have goals but stay open. For example, I would never be a life coach now if I had tunnel vision around my goals. I had never heard of life coaching, so how could it have been a goal? I stumbled on it and followed my gut. For that matter, I never set out to be a web producer, a TV producer or a sports writer; they were all opportunities that came about due to friends, colleagues, mentors who helped me see my gifts.
The point is that goals and peripheral vision can co-exist. In my view, that is the best possible way to live a meaningful, purposeful life.