Distance is not something we talk about when we share our goals or aspirations. We describe our goal as if it is easily attainable. And we never use distance to judge our choices in trying to achieve our goal.
Confused? What do I mean by all of this?
In our everyday conversations, we tell others that what they are trying to do makes sense. That it’s great. And that they should try something else that you recommend that would help them get there.
But what if we changed this conversation, so that upon hearing what someone wants to do we first ask how far is that from what you are doing now? How high is that from where you are now? This would give us some immediate context that would then allow us to give better feedback.
Let’s take losing weight. I come to you excited and tell you that I have decided that I need to lose 100 lbs and I am going to do it. How far are you from your goal you ask? 100 lbs as I now weigh 285 (reasonable goal given my 5’10” height). How high is that from where you are now you ask? I can’t run for 15 seconds but at 100 lbs less in weight I will be physically fit and have a body made for a swimsuit.
You look at me and say, yeah, that would be good for you to do. So then you ask, how am I going to do this? I respond that I will walk (not run) on the treadmill for an hour a day and skip lunch so that I take in less calories in my day.
Hmm you say. What you just heard might work if a person wanted to lose 3 lbs but not 100 lbs. So within a few minutes of our conversation, by knowing how high and how far, you have determined that my choices for action will fail me.
This causes you to then say to me that I don’t think any of what you told me will work. You ask me if I really understand how high and far I am from the goal I have told you of wanting to lose 100 lbs?
The hard part in all of this is getting me to become self-aware enough to see what you are saying. Being enthusiastic about your own goals is great. But understanding first how far and how high your goal is could provide you with great leverage because you can better decide if what you are planning to do is big enough, extreme enough, or deep enough (call it what you will) to get you there.
Adjusting your tactics, given the distance you must travel, is essential to having any type of success and self-fulfillment in your life. How far? How High? Simple yet difficult words to guide us properly as we continue our life’s journey.