There’s this one guy from high school I’ll never forget.
He wasn’t a particularly popular guy, but everyone knew this about him: his goal was to join the U.S. Air Force. That was his sole mission – most people probably don’t remember much else about him.
Years pass. I graduate from high school, then college, then start settling into my adult life. One day, for the first time in many years, I happen to think of him.
…I wonder if he ever made it into the Air Force?
I start Googling. I’m actually nervous as I’m about to find out whether he achieved his goal.
How heartbreaking would it be if he failed his destiny and ended up in some soul-less desk job? What would it mean for a guy like me who had no goals, if a person as driven as himself failed his?
Then I see it, and all is right again in the world:
Looking back, there were so many things remarkable about this person, including:
I learned a lot from this guy, and he’s one of the reasons I wrote down my life goals too. They haven’t changed in over 5 years and they help keep my life on track. I think about them daily.
If you haven’t already, I recommend setting life goals for yourself too. Make sure to make them clear and ambitious, like Andrew did. You shouldn’t have more than three of them.
Here’s an example of a good goal:
It’s a lofty goal and and there’s no confusion over what criteria needs to be met to check it off.
Here’s how to make that goal even better:
Here’s an example of a bad goal:
The intent of this goal is good but it’s not a real goal since it’s not clear how it’s met. Is it achieved if your children go to good colleges? Or if they have good morals? Or if they make a lot of money?
If you’ve got any ideas on how to improve that goal I’m all ears =) Being a good dad is tough!
(I changed his named to preserve his privacy!)
As a refugee, I did not have a lot of fo goals growing up. I had a lot of hopes because we were mostly in survival modes. Goals where more for people who had options. When I was a child, I’d hope to work in an office and can type. When I got to HS, I’d hoped to be able to go to college (there were 10 kids in my family). When I did graduate college I hoped to get a good job… the point is, I still have a problem with being able to set life goals because from my experiences it can change. I do set goals but mostly those I can control and within a short time frame, like learning to code, cook, passing the Service Cloud Exam….
Now on how to raise good kids, my goals are to talk with them with respect, don’t compare them (to anyone), have them work for their wants, lower some of my expectations for them (all I have to say is, I am an Asian parent).
Thank you so much for this post. I really needed to read it today. As for my kids, they ended up great, maybe in spite of me. I wish I’d had the foresight to set goals for raising them. It might have helped us with the bumps that came along the way. (I bet you’re a great dad).
Thank you Nancy and I’m glad this helped!
Nice story about Andrew.
About raising good children, it may be synonymous, but I’d call that an “Aspiration” (capital ‘A’ – something we should all aspire to!) with many goals along the way, and within each goal, many objectives.
The college goal is great, and it starts when the children are babies. Read to them every night. Make it a routine they look forward to. They will transition to reading with you before bed, then on their own. If they love to read the rest is a whole lot easier! So, the first objective is to get them reading.
Thank you. =). Great perspective!