We all have goals. Some secret, some we share with others. However, we do all have goals of some sort or another. In the writing game, the one I hear the most is someone wants to write a book. Period.
This isn’t some kind of self-help blog post about how to set goals. There are tons of people who have spent years defining what goals are and how to achieve them. You have anacronyms like S.M.A.R.T. to help you organize your goal and set up action plans. There are rows of shelves inside libraries and bookstores dedicated to setting and achieving goals.
I have learned to laugh at these. Most of the books are simply regurgitating what someone before them dictated as goal setting requirements and those took their ideas from others as well. Without a doubt, there has not been a single new idea about setting goals since the concept was created. Every single person who has written a self-help book has taken their goals formula from someone else and made it their own or reworked it so it could be their own. The number of steps it takes, what you need to do, etc.
Not that what they’re selling is wrong. It isn’t. I simply object to most of them claiming the concept and the way to achieve them as their own ideas. Of course, most who read my blogs know how much I dislike “experts.” I am, once again, digressing.
The reason for this post about goals is I have failed at several of my own recently. I took the time to examine my own personal failures, which they are, so I could fix what has happened.
Understand why this is so important to me. There was a time when I was what the military called “mission oriented.” Once I set my sights on getting something done, a goal or a mission or a job, I didn’t stop until I accomplished it. Period. There was no middle ground. There was no room for failure. I was hardcore and it cost me many things in my life. It is the reason I suffer from quite a bit of physical pain now. It is also why I have lost so many friends and others along the way.
When you are goal oriented, you set aside all else. Period. It is why I was good at what I did. I was never the best. When I was a welder, I was far from the most naturally gifted welder. What we called “golden arms” back in the day. These guys, and a few girls, had the gift. They could lay a bead of metal down so pretty it made you cry with envy.
My mission back then was to become as good as they were or better. I succeeded. To this day I can close my eyes and run a bead. A useful skill in some of the positions I use to weld in. I could tell you stories all day, but you wouldn’t believe them. Only those who have lived it would and even they would question it. Yet, I accomplished my goal.
I did the same thing with damage control while I was in the Navy. At five feet five, and with something of a belly back then, I was not anyone’s idea of what a firefighter looks like. Nor was I gifted with the natural ability to fight fires. What I was gifted with was the ability to learn. So, I did. I learned everything there was to know about damage control onboard a ship. Kept up with every update. Looked forward to the drills so I could get better. Sick, I know. No one wants to perform drills, and yet; I did. I went from not knowing anything to becoming a master at all forms of damage control.
Both cost me. Incredibly high costs in personal and physical damages. Something I came to accept as necessary if you wanted to achieve something.
I have done the same thing with anything I set my mind to. Pipefitting and a dozen other skilled trades are a great example as well as becoming a skilled supervisor at all levels and a great delegator.
I have set my sights on the writing game now, and yet, I find myself failing. I am not used to failing. I have always boasted I can outwork anyone and that was my key to success. I would put in the time and effort. That was the cost to succeed. Time and effort. Yet, I have been failing.
I set myself down the other day and asked myself – why? Why was I failing? I still have the same skill sets it takes to overcome adversity and achieve what I set my mind on. Why was I not getting it done?
Truth has an ugly habit of poking its head out when you get real with yourself. And let me tell you, the truth doesn’t always set you free. It can hurt deeply and badly. Often times, a good lie is far better than any truth. However, I needed the truth. Whether I liked it or not.
My truth is simple. I really don’t like paying the price anymore. Plus, I have gotten lazy as well. Sad but true. I told you the truth wasn’t really a great thing to hear from yourself. Truth is something we often avoid, especially by those close to us and even more so from inside our own heads.
I have become what I used to despise as a young man. I know what I need to do. Know it without a moment’s hesitation. I know the steps I need to take. The action that will be required and the amount of time, effort, and energy it will take. I know. Which is part of the problem. I know the costs and I find myself unwilling to commit to what I need, yes, I said need; to accomplish.
When you sit yourself down to examine yourself, you get answers. Mine was simple. It went like this – Stop whining, get off your ass, and git ‘er done. That was it. Git ‘er done. The one key element in achieving any goal is getting off your ass and keeping at it until you get it done.
That’s what I’m doing now. I am taking my own advice and getting off my ass. A simple thing but so hard once you have gotten used to being lazy. Once you have learned how to make excuses. Learned how to accept them. I have a need now to achieve a certain set of goals. Period. End of sentence – end of story.
It is not a matter of whether or not I achieve them, it is now a matter of when. I can offer up no more excuses. The cost of not achieving my goals is far higher than I want to pay.
So, tell me; do you make excuses to yourself about not getting done what you know you need to?
I’m Ross, the Editor-in-Chief at The Pyrateheart Press and I’m out.