Most of the time, we set having or doing goals.
- I want to have a 5 bedroom home.
- I want to have a car of this make and model.
- I want to have a net worth of X dollars.
- I want to get an MBA.
- I want to start a business.
- I want to start a relationship.
What most of us don’t realize is that there’s a third category, being goals. Being goals are on a deeper level than the having and doing goals.
You might want to have a net worth of 10 million dollars. You might want to achieve that by building a business. But have you ever asked yourself who you have to be to achieve those goals? The answer to that question would be your being goal.
Three Levels of Goals
Whenever you set a having goal, also set doing goals if you haven’t done so. And whenever you set a doing goal, come up with a being goal underneath. Here’s an example.
- Having Goal: I want to have a net worth of 10 million dollars.
- Doing Goal: I want to start a business.
- Being Goal: I want to become an entrepreneur.
The article Primal Leadership, the Hidden Driver of Great Performance by Daniel Goleman, et al. has a five-step process to achieve your being goals.
The article is also available in the book HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Managing Yourself, one of the top 12 personal development books that I recommend. The version in the book includes some extras such as the Idea in Brief, Idea in Practice, and other extra material.
Step 1: Who Do You Want to Be?
The first step in realizing your being goal is to define who you want to become. Imagine yourself you are already that person.
- What do you see?
- How do you feel?
- What is your mindset?
- How do you approach life?
- How do you approach your day?
Step 2: Who Are You Now?
We need to know the differences between who you are now and who do you want to be in the future. To do that, answer the same questions for who you are now.
What are the differences between who you are now and who you want to be in the future?
Maybe you want to become an entrepreneur, and you think that an entrepreneur has a network of business partners. How many business partners do you have now?
Step 3: How Are You Going to Bridge the Gap?
It’s normal that there’s a gap between who you want to be and who you are. We need that gap to make progress. Now, ask yourself how you’re going to bridge the gap.
In the example above, the answer would be to build a network of business partners.
You’d probably come up with more than a single difference between your current and ideal self.
You need to come up with an action plan for each gap.
Step 4: How Do I Make Change Stick?
This step is especially important if you’re bridging the gap by cultivating a virtue or developing a personality trait.
Suppose that you’re an introvert and you’re cultivating extroversion. First, you become aware of your introversion. Second, you make a conscious effort to be an extrovert in certain situations, like networking events.
Your ultimate goal in learning is to get to the level of unconscious competence, the final one of the four levels of learning.
In the unconscious competence level, you’re behaving in the desired way automatically, without any conscious effort. Getting to that level requires repetition. A few successful tries won’t cut it.
Step 5: Who Can Help Me?
If you ask for feedback, make sure you acknowledge that feedback and take it in. Don’t reject it or explain yourself. If people see that you don’t use their feedback, they will stop giving you feedback.
Setting having and doing goals is the first step to success. There’s a deeper level of setting goals that will accelerate your accomplishment of having and doing goals. That deeper level is the being goals.
You can set being goals by asking the question “who do I need to be to achieve my having and doing goals?”
Once you set your being goals, determine the details of your being goal, find out the differences between your ideal and current self, and come up with an action plan to bridge the gap between the two.
Don’t forget that you need repetition to get to the level of unconscious competence. Also, ask for help and feedback from the people around you.
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.