So often when sitting with clients, whether young people, children or parents, the conversation will turn to “when I reach my goal, then I will be happy!” “When I get my new job or move schools or win that football premiership, or when we move town or finally get to have that holiday then I will feel fulfilled”. While there’s no doubting that achieving goals can provide a momentary sense of success and happiness, how long does this feeling truly last? How long until we move the goal posts further along the line and continue to strive for the next thing? A bigger house, a better job, a more grandeur holiday. And so the quest for the next best thing becomes habitual and a never ending cycle.
So what if we pivoted from a goal orientated way of living our lives to a VALUE focused way of living. Take the example of the goal of wanting to win a football premiership. What if the goal remained the same, however the focus was on appreciating the journey itself. What if we approached the journey with a sense of open curiosity and continually directed our focus and attention on the values of why we want to win the football premiership in the first place (fun, enjoyment, self-fulfilment). This is what I like to call “the space between”. Learning to appreciate the process of heading towards the end destination is the space between. Pivoting towards this way of thinking can be truly liberating. With this focus, no longer do you need to wait to attain your goals in order to achieve happiness, fun, fulfilment and enjoyment, instead you are able to gain all of these values throughout the entire process, regardless of the end result.
But what happens when we don’t achieve our goals? Ash Barty, an Australian former world number 1 professional tennis player has a quote about this exact thing; “If I win, it's a bonus. If I lose, the sun still comes up the next day, and it's all good”. No doubt, the end goal is to win, to get that promotion, to get that A on your maths test, however when you purely focus on the end result it can create pressure, anxiety and inflexible thinking. However, when you learn to focus on the space between, you GET to enjoy the journey and even if you fall short of your goal, no one can ever take the fulfilling journey away from you. A value focused way of living allows you to enjoy the journey along the way to your goals if we achieve the result or even if we fall short.