A Worthwhile Goal
A conversation today made me think about my goals in life now. Scott and I always talked about and planned our short term and long term goals together. We both were very driven. We were also big Covey fans. I have a personal mission statement as well as a family one. (my personal one is on the sidebar)
Scott was often asked to teach goal setting to the young men at church. He was very accomplished and achieved a great number of things in his 41 year life. His favorite example involved his desire to own a Dodge Viper. The car came out the beginning of his long educational path. He tore the picture from his favorite car magazine and posted it over his desk in his study spot. Throughout medical school and residency when things got really hard, and he was tempted to not study, he would look at the picture and remind himself why he needed to keep working. Not that Scott became a doctor solely to own that car. He had many other worth while reasons to pursue medicine such as helping people and providing for his family, but the car was the carrot that urged him forward when he was spent. Scott ordered a Viper and picked it up a few days before he finished his residency. This story was very attractive to teenage boys because he was great at describing all of the virtues of the car. Unfortunately, I don't have a recording of his speech; it was much more effective than my rendition. After his death I received letters from some of those boys who described how he impacted their goal setting early in life, and how that had made a huge difference to them.
I find myself in a very different place now than I had originally planned on my goal sheet the summer before his death. So many of the goals were dependent on Scott or the lifestyle we had created. Now I am asking myself what do I want to do alone. So many of my long term goals are impacted by a possible remarriage or move. I find it hard to plan too far ahead right now because my life feels very transitory. Yet underneath it all I still have my mission statement, or the things I desire to BE. I can set goals that move me forward, towards being that persons I want to be. In fact, I think all of our goals should originate out of the things we want to be.The summer before he died he did a Family Home Evening lesson with our kids and my best friend's daughters. He asked them to label papers with "50 years," "25 years," " 10 years," " 5 years," "2 years," "1 year," " 6 months," " 1 month," " 1 week," and " tomorrow." He asked them to start on the 50 year page and write down what they wanted their life to be like, or the goals they hoped to have achieved in areas such spiritual, intellectual, family, career, personal abilities, and temporal means. Then he asked them to move to 25 years, keeping in mind the things on the 50 year page, and making sure that the things on the 25 year page would lead to the things on the 50 year page. The exercise continued until they reaches the final page labeled tomorrow. His point was that we always must begin with the end in mind, and that the things you do today must be
Moving you towards the things you want tomorrow and down the road. If you neglect to create that plan, then you end destination will be very different from what you planned.
Many of the things we set goals for such as large homes or fast cars become completely irrelevant when we leave this life. All that we take with us are the things we have BECOME. So many of the 'things' we worked for are disappearing in my life now, and honestly I'm not sad. I am over burdened with the amount of stuff and the care of the stuff. It seems so trivial to me now. I think back on the memories that we spent money on, such a trips or time on our boat. Those memories are priceless to me and my children now that their dad is gone, but the accumulation of stuff does little to comfort us. We would do better to set our hearts on things that rust and moth does not corrupt. To set goals that improve us and our relationships not just contribute to the acquisition of stuff. These are hard lessons to learn, but important ones. I'm glad that this experience is helping me to put things in better perspective.