I love traditions.
I love creating them, maintaining them, and the anticipation of the entire thing.
Every year around this time I have a group of pals I grew up with over to my folks house for a barbeque.
My mom spends a couple months preparing lasagna, my old man makes the Italian sausage, and I supply the cigars and booze.
We eat like kings, laugh like idiots, and always have a great time.
It started out as a birthday bbq… but it’s not even that anymore. It’s just a chance to laugh at stuff and catch up.
The drive out to Vancouver from Calgary for the tradition is 10+ hours (most do it in 12-13, though I just cracked the 10 hour mark for the first time on the way back).
10-hours seated is a lot.
You’re trapped in your truck for the entire time and you can spend it listening to music, or you can use it to think, learn, and evaluate.
I stock up my phone with podcasts and ebooks, have a few cigars ready, and have a good think over that period.
The drive back got me thinking about goals, what I want to achieve in this 36th year on this planet, and why I want to achieve it.
There are a few flaws in how we typically set goals…
1. We don’t get specific.
In setting my goals for the company, for my own personal investments and things like that, I set both a specific number and a specific date to have them achieved by.
Just like I set a body fat percentage I’m going to hit and a weight I’m going to be.
Goals need to be exact, or else they’re just dreams.
If you actually want to achieve the thing, get specific.
2. We don’t expect them to happen.
This is something I actually struggle with, and that I’m working on diligently, daily.
You have to expect to achieve your goals – especially the big ones.
There are goals we all set that we know we’ll achieve.
Well, know you’ll achieve the big ones.
Say your goals aloud every morning with the expectation that you’ll achieve them.
These aren’t wishes, they’re things you’re GOING TO DO. The time between now and the due date is merely when you take the actions that will bring them to fruition.
Get it in your head that you expect to achieve these goals. Practice this line of thinking. Don’t leave them as wishes.
Lives end with stockpiles of wishes and dreams.
What a tragedy!
We wish and dream about these things but we never give them our expectation. We deserve these goals because we’re going to do the work. Think as such.
3. We lose them.
These goals have to be in your mind all day.
They have to get you revved up and excited to start the day, everyday.
You have to look at them and read them aloud every single day if you want to genuinely take them seriously.
We don’t attach a why.
Many of my goals – the reasons for many of my goals – have to do with a worldview I have, and the people who raised me.
For one, I want my parents to be proud of the son they’ve raised.
I want them to look at me, what I’ve done, who I am, and think, “holy shit, I raised that?”
In a good way, of course…
I want them to feel a swell of pride and happiness at their job well-done, because they deserve that.
I also want them to experience this while they’re still active and energetic!
Hence, the immediacy to some of the timelines I’ve set for some of the more massive goals I’ve aimed at.
There’s also the worldview that God has given me everything I need to do some pretty incredible things – far greater things that I can comprehend.
Just like He’s given you everything you need to do great things (and because we’re each individuals, our ideas of ‘great’ are very personal).
To NOT reach that potential, to not squeeze everything I can out of life, out of this time I have here, out of everything I’ve been given, seems to me as a complete and utter waste.
Not only is it a waste, it’s a tragedy, a sin, a slap in the face of those who raised me, and those who raised them, and my Maker.
My ‘why’ is just that…
It’s them, it’s those that have yet to come into my life, it’s this stark reality that we have one life, one opportunity to make the best of this one life, and we can’t really afford to have a day or two or a week or two where we’re not getting after it.
Your why may be your kids…
Or that gnawing feeling that you can be better, that you can always be better, and you’ll always chase who you can be.
I left Vancouver at 5am and pulled up to the front of my house 9 hours and 58 minutes later with all of this in my brain.
I got the pups inside. Emptied the truck. Got out my notebook, and write it down.
This morning I read them aloud, and got down to work.
Seeing my friend’s kids grow up, my folks get older, my grandparents pass away one by one, all bring this urgency of life to a gut-punching, soul-wrenching reality that we all should face.
It’s sad, but it’s life.
It has to create urgency.
It has to make us question why we even place any limits on ourselves and what we can do while we’re here?
It’s so silly.
Why limit ourselves?
Why limit the joy, the happiness, the freedom, the love, the success that we have while we’re here?
Why not have it all?
It’s the risk of the effort not yielding a result, the fact that you have to win every single day, the way we’re raised to accept mediocrity that crushes our potential before we even get our goals down on a piece of paper.
But it doesn’t have to.
It SHOULDN’T happen like that.
Expect great things. Then do those great things.
And let those around you fuel a wonderful life.